English 158A - Spring, 2015

The American Novel to 1900

Class Information

Instructor: Ziser, Michael
CRN: 52843
Time: TR 12:10-1:30
Location: 118 Olson


    This course charts the development of the American novel from its Revolutionary-era inception to the end of the 19th century. We will read examples from some of the many traditions of early national, antebellum, and Reconstruction American fiction, including the seduction tale, the gothic thriller, the historical romance, wilderness adventure, naturalist novella, utopian science fiction, and regionalist satire. Lectures will focus on the aesthetic structures as well as the biographical and social contexts of the individual novels. Some attention will be paid to theoretical and historical arguments about the novel as a form. Primary reading will be relatively heavy, but there will be few assigned secondary texts.


    Attendance and Participation 10%
    Blogging 15%
    Paper 1 (5 pp) 20%
    Midterm 10%
    Final Paper (7-8 pp) 30%
    Final Exam 15%


    Charlotte Temple, Susanna Rowson
    Wieland, Charles Brockden Brown
    Hope Leslie, Catharine Maria Sedgwick
    Billy Budd and Other Stories, Herman Melville
    Looking Backward: 2000-1887, Edward Bellamy
    Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, Stephen Crane
    The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson, Mark Twain