English 144 - Winter, 2020

Post-Civil War American Literature

Class Information

Instructor: Wander, Ryan
CRN: 76957
Time: MWF 9:00-9:50
Location: 118 Olson


    In US literary history the post-Civil War period often refers to the years between 1865 and a moment located somewhere in the early years of the twentieth century. This was a period of significant demographic changes, intensive industrialization, and, perhaps most crucial for us, active contestation over issues around nationhood and identity, sociality and belonging. Equally important are events such as the ?closing? of the frontier in 1890, the inauguration of US overseas imperialism in 1898, and intellectual developments including the rise of evolutionary thought and sexology. In dialogue with such developments, US writers developed three, linked aesthetics?realism, regionalism, and naturalism?that will occupy the bulk of our attention during the term. Throughout the term, we will attend to the dialogic relations between literary aesthetics and social reality during this period in US history.

    Tentative Reading List

    Charles Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition or The House Behind the Cedars
    Kate Chopin, The Awakening
    Stephen Crane, The Monster
    W.E.B. DuBois, excerpts from The Souls of Black Folk
    Bret Harte, The Luck of Roaring Camp and other selected short stories, & ?Plain Language from Truthful James?
    Jack London, The Call of the Wild
    Frank Norris, McTeague & selected short stories, & selected nonfiction
    Jacob Riis, excerpts from How the Other Half Lives
    Sui Sin Far, Mrs. Spring Fragrance
    Mark Twain, Pudd?nhead Wilson
    Zitkala-Sa, American Indian Stories


    Essay 1: 20%
    Essay 2: 25%
    Final Exam: 25%
    Short At-home Writing Assignments: 10%
    Short In-class Writing Assignments, Quizzes, and Participation: 20%