Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG363Y1Y L0101

ENG363Y1Y     L0101     T9-11, R9
Nineteenth-Century American Literature
Instructor: Dr. Jenna Hunnef

Office Location: TBA

Brief Description of Course: This course provides an overview of American literature from the nineteenth century, including political documents, essays, novels, memoirs, short stories, and poetry. Beginning with the formal declaration of the new nation’s independence from Great Britain in 1776 and concluding in the California desert in 1899, class lectures and discussions will focus on these texts’ various approaches to and implied assessments of nineteenth-century efforts in the U. S. to consolidate a distinctive national identity. Military campaigns to enlarge the United States’ territory into Indigenous space formerly colonized and claimed by the French, British, and Spanish are one manifestation of these efforts; the conscious moulding of a national literary tradition by many of the authors on our syllabus is another. Sometimes these interests even overlap. Why did so many nineteenth-century American authors look to the past to help parse the emerging national identity of the present? How do literary meditations on the question of what it means to be an American negotiate the multiple and often competing racial, sexual, gendered, and economic discourses that frame and problematize it? In addition to situating these discussions within the history of American literary studies, we will also consider the possible benefits and drawbacks of canon formation, and investigate the practice of identifying literary texts as the products of specific nation-states.

Required Reading: Norton Anthology of American Literature, Vols. B & C*, James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans, George Washington Cable, The Grandissimes, Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona, Frank Norris, McTeague

*Selections from the anthology may include the work of such authors as: Washington Irving, William Apess, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Frederick Douglass, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Rebecca Harding Davis, Mark Twain, Emma Lazarus, Henry James, Charles Chesnutt, and Kate Chopin. .

First Three Authors/Texts: TBA

Method of Evaluation: Participation, in-class close-reading assignment, short essay (4-5 pp.), long essay (7-8 pp.), final test.

Link to ARTSCI Calendar Course Descriptions.

Link to ARTSCI 2016-17 Timetable with Room Allocations.

Return to 300 Level Courses.

Return to 2016-17 Fall-Winter Courses.

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