ENGL 253 - Topics in American Literature
Semester Offered: Spring
(Same as GNCS 253 and WFQS 253 ) The specific focus of the course varies each year, and may center on a literary movement (e.g., Transcendentalism, the Beats, the Black Mountain School), a single work and its milieu (e.g., Moby-Dick and the American novel, Call It Sleep and the rise of ethnic modernism); a historical period (e.g., the Great Awakening, the Civil War), a region (e.g., Southern literature, the literature of the West), or a genre (e.g., the sentimental-domestic novel, American satire, the literature of travel/migration, American autobiography, traditions of reportage, American environmentalist writing).
Topic for 2023/24b: Popular Women Writers and the Work of Art. Women wrote much of the bestselling literature of the nineteenth century, but popular works by women frequently get overlooked in the literature classroom. This course considers why that has been the case and what we gain by taking seriously nineteenth-century American women’s writing, in its myriad forms. We’ll examine how authors such as Margaret Fuller, Frances Harper, Louisa May Alcott, and Sui Sin Far successfully navigated an expanding literary marketplace and made the challenges they faced a source of creative inspiration in works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. We’ll attend especially to how women authors formulate reflexive artfulness by drawing attention to the economic circumstances of their writing, whether cultivating authorial personas as marketable brands, channeling the renown of celebrity authors and bestselling texts, or embracing the periodical format’s intensifying association with mass production. Blevin Shelnutt.
This course satisfies the REGS requirement for the English major.
Two 75-minute periods.
Course Format: CLS
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