21L.501 The American Novel, Fall 2002
The American Novel
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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.
American novel, democracy, slavery, democracy, slavery, gender equity, social reform, literary strategies, William Blake, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Wells Brown, Sarah Orne Jewett, William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, American fiction