Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG250H1S - L0101

ENG250H1S L0101 M1-3; Tut W1 or W2
Introduction to American Literature
Professor Alan Ackerman
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Office Location:
Jackman Humanities Building, Room 911

Brief Description of Course: This introductory survey of American literature focuses on stories, images, themes, and kinds of language that have given shape to a national literary tradition. We will explore defining tropes of American national identity such as the frontier, the “new world,” and the “self-made man,” in a variety of genres, including speeches, poems, short stories, novels, and plays by authors ranging from Emily Dickinson to Junot Diaz. 

Required Reading: Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself,” Leaves of Grass (1855) (Penguin); Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Penguin); Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Penguin); Willa Cather, A Lost Lady (Vintage); F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (Penguin); Loraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun; Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Penguin).

First Three Authors/Texts: Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, Emily Dickinson.

Method of Instruction: Lecture & discussion.

Method of Evaluation: In-class participation (tutorial discussion); essay; exam.

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