EL 206 | American Literature After 1865

(Spring 2016)

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General Am Lit Links

American Literature After 1865 picks up just after the Civil War and continues on through the 20th century, so we go from the era of locomotives and industrial revolution to the era of Internet and cell phones (loosely speaking). By the time we’re through, you ought to have a pretty good working sense of the chronology of American literature since Lincoln. We’ll look particularly at American Realism and Regionalism, Naturalism, Modernism, the Harlem Renaissance, and Postmodernism, with attention to minority and immigrant voices along the way. We’ll sample poems, essays, folk tales, short stories, and various other kinds of prose, and as we do so we’ll think about why these authors wrote in the ways they did during the times when they did it. We’ll also consider strategies for interpreting these different kinds of literary expression. The reading load won’t knock you flat, but you should expect to read at a steady clip of 20-30 anthology pages per class session, typically (some days less, some days more). You are heartily encouraged to take time to re-read, especially on lighter-reading days. The best and most satisfying reading is often re-reading.

Assignments/Scores to Anticipate

You Should Always Have the Readings in Front of You in Class

---- The Schedule ----

Week 1 (Feb. 3)

- Due NEXT Monday: Sign up for research subject (on wiki) before Monday's class.

Notice that "due" items for the week are listed under each week heading.

Remember to get started on your Questions and Comments Journal.

AM = American Murmurations (the ebook anthology).

  • Day 1: No Class Yet
  • Day 2: Holy smokes. Still no class. The world is topsy turvy.
  • Day 3: Course Introduction
  • ** All readings until about Week 5 (and some after) are available in the AM anthology. The schedule will note when you should switch over to the Heath volumes.
  • ** Remember to begin your Questions and Comments Journal! **
    ** Look! I put it in red, twice! With excessive exclamation points! Don't forget! Ever! The Q&C journal is most useful to those students who formulate their questions and comments before class, as the assignment requires.**

Week 2 (Feb. 6, 8, and 10)

- Due Monday: Self intro on course wiki (link above) before class.

  • This Thursday, 7:00, Robinson Teaching Theatre
    Filmmaker/Scholar Alexandra Hidalgo
    (Not Required, But Highly Recommended)

    And THEN you can go see Oakland Film Fest movies Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!

  • Day 1: Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens): "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog" and excerpts from Huck Finn ("Notice," "Explanatory," and Chapters 1-2, 31) + watch "Wikis in Plain English" (online) <-- If the AM isn't available yet, you can get a jump on your Mark Twain reading here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/53
  • *** Starting at 9 PM on Tuesday Night, you may choose your research brief authors at the wiki. ***
  • Day 2: Joel Chandler Harris: "Free Joe and the Rest of the World" and selections from Uncle Remus + Short Folk Tales: "EDITOR'S NOTE from 'Animal Tales from North Carolina,'" “When Brer Deer and Brer Terrapin Runned a Race,” "Why the Spider Never Got in the Ark," "How Brer Rabbit Practise Medicine," "Brer Rabbit Born to Luck," “Malitis,” “The Flying Africans” <-- Note that a couple of these folk tales are available only via the AM anthology. This is the only time that will happen; doing it this way gave me the chance to give you some cool stuff that goes beyond the Heath.
  • Note: Where/if you find the transcribed dialects in these pieces hard to understand, try reading aloud. It can help clear things up.
  • *** 7:00 PM THURSDAY: Filmmaker Alexandra Hidalgo Talk, Robinson Teaching Theater. This isn't required, but you're wasting. your. life. if you don't go to it. ***
  • Day 3: William Dean Howells: “Editha” + excerpt from "The Editor’s Study” (highlighted paragraphs of Criticism and Fiction in AM or the full excerpt printed in Heath Vol. C). (If the highlights don't show up in your ebook for any reason, read section 2, paragraphs 2-3, beginning with "If this should happen to be true...")
  • Keep up with your questions and comments journal!
    Daisy Miller is long! Plan accordingly for next week's reading!
  • This Weekend! Friday @7, Saturday @7, Sunday @2, Leonard Oakland Film Festival. This is what you should be doing!

Week 3 (Feb. 13, 15, and 17)

- Due Friday at 5:00: Critical Response 1

Optional/Recommended: This week would be a good time to meet with some classmates and workshop your first critical responses. Or to take a draft of your first critical response to the Composition Commons for a consultation.

  • Day 1: Henry James: Daisy Miller (Parts I and II) + Review "Realism" Handout (Available @Bb)
  • Day 2: Daisy Miller (Parts III and IV)
  • Day 3: Charles Waddell Chesnutt: "The Goophered Grapevine"

Week 4 (Feb. 20 and 22, w/Friday Off)

  • Day 2 Bonus
    (Not Required Reading) Scans of the original printings of Crane's two poetry collections, here and here.
  • Day 1: Hamlin Garland: “Up the Coulé” (A Little Long! Plan ahead!)
  • Day 2: Stephen Crane: “The Open Boat,” “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky,” and selected poems ("God lay...," "Do not weep...," "A man said...," "There was a man...") + Review "Naturalism" Handout (Available @Bb)
  • Day 3: No Class (Faculty Development Day)
  • Keep up with your questions and comments journal! (This is the last time I'll put in the Q&C journal note, but don't forget to keep up!)

Week 5 (Feb. 27, Mar. 1 and 3)

- Exam 1 is NEXT Monday!

Optional/Recommended: This would be a good week to meet with some of your classmates and study together for the exam.

  • Day 1 Bonus
    (Not Required Reading)
    "One is the
    Quirkiest Number
    (NYT on Living Alone)

    Day 2 Bonus

    (Not Required Reading)
    Edith Wharton's “The Valley of Childish Things” is available in AM. It's a quick read, full of Wharton wit. "Part I" has often been included in this course.
  • Day 1: Jack London: “South of the Slot” + Frank Norris: "Fantaisie Printaniere" (BONUS: “To Build a Fire," online, or in AM. "To Build a Fire" is not required, but it's a brutal, hypothermic classic of Naturalism. Worth reading, if you've never encountered it before.)
  • Day 2: Mary Wilkins Freeman: “A New England Nun” + Sarah Orne Jewett: “A White Heron”
  • Day 3: Kate Chopin: “Désirée’s Baby” + Alice Dunbar-Nelson: "Sister Josepha" and "The Praline Woman" (The Dunbar-Nelson is not in the AM. Find them here, if you need an e-version.)

Week 6 (Mar. 6, 8, and 10)

- Monday: Exam 1

- Due Friday at 5:00: Critical Response 2

Optional/Recommended: This would be a good week to meet with some of your classmates and workshop your critical responses. (And don't forget the Comp Commons.)

  • This Weekend
    Friday (10 am + 6 pm)
    Saturday (2 pm and 6 pm)
    Sunday (2 pm)

    Whitworth Theatre Presents Go, Dog, Go! Downtown at the Bing.
  • Day 1: EXAM 1 
  • Day 2: Booker T. Washington: Up from Slavery Chapters 3 and 14 + Langston Hughes: “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” (prose); "Theme for English B" and "The Weary Blues" (p. 1931 in 6th ed.)
  • *** There will be only eight big WU plays during your four years at Whitworth, and one of them, Go, Dog, Go!, will run this this weekend, downtown at the Bing. Don't be lame. Go see the play. This is a good use of your spending money. (Not required, except for the sake of your soul.) ***
  • Day 3: Jean Toomer: “Blood Burning Moon” + W.E.B. Dubois: The Souls of Black Folk Chapters 1 and 3

Week 7 (Mar. 13, 15, and 17)

- Due Friday at 5:00: Questions and Comments Journal, Part 1

  • Day 1: John Milton Oskison: “The Problem of Old Harjo” + Zitkala Sa (Gertrude Bonnin): from "The School Days of an Indian Girl" (read parts 1, 2, 3, 6, 7)
  • Day 2: Onoto Watanna (Winnifred Eaton): "A Half Caste" + Sui Sin Far (Edith Maude Eaton): "Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian" and "Mrs. Spring Fragrance" (NOT "In the Land of the Free," which is in some Heath Vol. C editions, but the actual story "Mrs. Spring Fragrance," which you can read in our e-anthology.)
  • Day 3: Edith Wharton: “The Other Two” + “Roman Fever”"
  • The Other Two" is in AM, but "Roman Fever," which is still under copyright, is available only in Heath Vol. D. (The Heath has several selections from Wharton, including "The Other Two.")

Week 8 (Mar. 20, 22, and 24)

  • Day 1: MODERNISM PRIMER: Pound: "A Retrospect," "In a Station of the Metro"; H.D.: "Oread"; Eliot: "Preludes"; Sandburg: "Chicago," "Fog" + Review Modernism Handout (Available on Bb)
  • Day 2: Sherwood Anderson: “Hands” (AM or Vol. D); Ernest Hemingway: "Hills Like White Elephants"; Gertrude Stein: from The Making of Americans
  • Day 3: Ernest Hemingway: “The Killers” (@Bb); E. E. Cummings: “Buffalo Bill’s,” “the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls,” “plato told,” “next to of course god America i” (online)
  • *** Next Week is SPRING BREAK. Come back on the April 3! ***

Week 9 (Apr. 3, 5, and 7)

Susanna Childress Reading
Music Recital Hall.
7:00 PM.

This one is REQUIRED.

- Due Friday at 5:00: Three sentence personal note (or thoughtful haiku) about the Susanna Childress reading. (@Wiki.)

- Due NEXT MONDAY at 5:00: Critical Response 3 (But I suggest you do it earlier to give yourself more breathing room before the exam, and to give yourself time to slow down and read "Barn Burning" for Monday.)

- NEXT WEDNESDAY: Notice that Exam 2 will be next week on Wednesday!

Optional/Recommended: Exam prep with classmates; workshop Critical Response 3 with classmates.

  • Day 1: William Carlos Williams: “The Young Housewife," “Portrait of a Lady,” “The Red Wheelbarrow” (online), "The Great Figure" (online), “This is Just to Say” (online); Wallace Stevens: “The Snow Man,” "Anecdote of the Jar," “The Emperor of Ice-Cream” (online)
  • Day 2: Edgar Lee Masters: “Petit, the Poet,” “Seth Compton,” “Lucinda Matlock”; Robert Frost: “Mending Wall,” “The Road Not Taken,” “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
  • *** 7:00 PM THURSDAY: Susanna Childress reading, Music Recital Hall. Absolutely Required. ***
  • Day 3: T. S. Eliot: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

Week 10 (Apr. 10 and 12, w/Friday Off for Easter)

- Monday @5:00: Critical Response 3 is Due

- Wednesday: Exam 2

  • Day 1: William Faulkner: "Barn Burning" 
  • Give yourself time to read this one!
  • Day 2: Exam 2
  • Day 3: No Class (Easter Break)

Week 11 (Monday Off + Apr. 19 and 20)

  • Day 1: No Class (Easter Break)
  • Day 2: Eudora Welty: "Petrified Man" (@Bb) + “The Wide Net”
  • Day 3: Flannery O’Connor: “A Good Man is Hard to Find” + TBA

Week 12 (Apr. 24, 26, and 28)

- Due Friday at 5:00: Critical Response 4

Optional/Recommended: Reading response workshop? Or meet to discuss the upcoming reflective essay?

  • Day 1: Zora Neale Hurston: "Sweat" and "How it Feels to Be Colored Me" + Advice: Begin Drafting and Reading for Your Upcoming Reflective Essay
  • Day 2: Alice Walker: “Laurel" (in the Heath), “Everyday Use” (@Bb)
  • Day 3: James Baldwin: “Sonny’s Blues”

Week 13 (May 1, 3, and 5)

- Due Friday at 5:00: Questions and Comments Journal, Part 2

- Due Friday: Any Critical Response Revisions (See Guidelines/Assignment)

  • Day 1: John Barth: “Lost in the Funhouse”
  • Day 2: Joyce Carol Oates: “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been”
  • Day 3: Beats: Allen Ginsberg: “A Supermarket in California,” “Howl,” “America”; Jack Kerouac: “The Vanishing American Hobo”

Week 14 (May 8, 10, and 12)

- Due Friday at 5:00: Critical Response Reflective "Meditation" Essay

  • Day 3 Bonus
    "Oral Tradition" (Clip for Smoke Signals, Dir. Alexie)
  • Jim Hendrix playing
    "The Star Spangled Banner"
  • Day 1: Edwidge Danticat: "New York Day Women," "Children of the Sea" (@Bb)
  • Day 2: John Okada: from No-No Boy; Junot Diaz: "Drown" (@Bb)
  • Day 3: Sherman Alexie: “Because My Father . . .” + Sandra Cisneros: "Mericans" and "Tepeyec"

Week 15 (May 15 + Exam)

  • Day 1: Jess Walter: "Statistical Abstract for My Hometown, Spokane, Washington." Also available: Walter's "Addendum" to the original "Statistical Abstract" piece.
  • EXAM 2: Wednesday, May 17, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Page Designed and Maintained by Fred Johnson.

About the American Murmurations Anthology

For years, this course has used the Heath Anthology of American Literature, Volumes C, D, and E. It's an excellent anthology, noteworthy especially for its inclusion of authors from a wide variety of backgrounds. But it's getting expensive, so you now have the option of purchasing just Volumes D and E, in any edition including and after the 5th edition. Readings we'd normally get from Volume C will be available to you in a free ebook, American Murmurations, put together by me and a couple of former EL 206 students. You can download the AM collection from our Blackboard page and read it on any typical ebook reading app (Kindle, iBooks, etc.). Please let me know if you have any trouble at all accessing it.

If you choose to use the AM, please make sure it's accessible to you in class, somehow, for reference. That means having some kind of suitable screen to display it on, or printing out the readings.

This is the very end.