English 158A - Fall, 2017

The American Novel to 1900

Class Information

Instructor: Freeman, Elizabeth
CRN: 62661
Time: TR 10:30-11:50
Location: 106 Olson


    This class will begin with a novel written at the very end of the period, L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, reading it as an allegory of America in that year. We’ll then ask: how did we get here? How did the novel get here? Beginning again with the Revolutionary era, the course will the many genres of the emerging novel: the epistolary and sentimental novel, the American romance, and realism. Historical aspects will include the place of women and the woman writer in American literature, slavery and its aftermath, and the impact of industrialization and its implications for white female writers and writers of color. Because there will be a heavy reading load in terms of primary texts, there will be relatively few secondary readings.


    Short paper 25%
    Long paper 35%
    Reading Quizzes 10%
    In-class writing 10%
    Final exam 20%


    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Baum, L. Frank
    The Power of Sympathy, Brown, William Hill
    Hobomok, Child, Lydia Maria
    The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne, Nathaniel
    Clotel, or, the President's Daughter, Brown, William Wells
    Washington Square, James, Henry
    Sister Carrie, Dreiser, Theodore