English 177 - Summer Sessions II, 2015

Study of an Individual Author

    Topic: Twain, Travel, and Technocracy

Class Information

Instructor: Williams, Nathaniel
CRN: 71402
Time: TWR 12:10-1:50
Location: 1128 Hart


    We'll examine Mark Twain's writing by focusing on intersections of two key areas: technology and travel. We'll read some of Twain's early travel writing and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn before turning to 1889's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court—Twain's signature fictional consideration of the two focal topics. Other reading will include Twain's "science fiction" stories of early televisions, microscopic life, and teleportation, alongside his essays on the Wild West, missionaries, and his scathing anti-imperialist writings. Why do Americans so often equate the ability to use advanced technology with the right to lead? How did Twain use imaginary locations—Heaven, Camelot, et. al.—to mock U.S. citizens' expectations in foreign locales? Does travel's promise of escape and freedom, found in works such as Huckleberry Finn, also open the door for the bullying and jingoism that Twain despised? We'll consider all this and more.


    Quizzes/Short In-Class Essays—05%
    Warm-Up, Short Essay (2-3 pages)—10%
    Long-Term Research Paper (6-8 pages)—30%
    Bibliographic Research Project—05%
    Report/Annotated Bibliography (Twain and "Topic of Choice")—20%
    Final Exam (15% multiple choice, 85% essays)—10%
    Class Participation/Discussion—20%


    Additional online readings
    Tales of Wonder, Twain (ed. Ketterer)
    Following the Equator, ---
    Tom Sawyer Abroad, ---
    A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, ---
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain