21L.501 The American Novel

As taught in: Fall 2002

Photograph of Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Harriet Beecher Stowe. (Image courtesy of America's Library from the Library of Congress.)

Level:

Undergraduate

Instructors:

Dr. Wyn Kelley

Course Description

The theme for this class is "American Revolution." We will read authors who record, on the one hand, the failures of the American revolution, with its dream of democracy and freedom for all, and on the other hand the potential for narrative to reenact that revolution successfully. In different ways, these authors overturn traditional or unethical authority through their literary innovations. Although certain classic American historical, political, and cultural issues will be at the center of our study--democracy, slavery, gender equity, social reform--we will concern ourselves primarily with literary strategies, with language and its uses. Essays will pursue close readings of the texts and develop students' abilities to think creatively and critically about fictional works.