English 144 - Fall, 2021

Post-Civil War American Literature

Class Information

Instructor: Badley, Chip
CRN: 53315
Time: TR 1:40-3:00
Location: 202 Wellman
GE Areas: American Cultures, Governance, and History Writing Experience


This course will introduce students to American literature published between 1865 and 1900, a period characterized by a postbellum "Reconstruction" (typically dated 1865-77) as well as upheavals in social, cultural, and political identity. We will study six texts that both reflected and shaped the latter half of the nineteenth century: Elizabeth Stuart Phelps' The Gates Ajar (1868); Helen Hunt Jackson's Ramona (1884); Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885); Charles Chesnutt's The House Behind the Cedars (1900); Zitkala-sa's American Indian Stories (1900); and Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie (1900). Topics to include, but are not limited to: sentimentalism; the Civil War; Manifest Destiny and settler colonialism; Reconstruction; emancipation and abolition; Jim Crow segregation laws; regionalism and local color; the residential schooling system; the Gilded Age; urbanization; industrialization; capitalism; the "New Woman"; the rise of divorce; emerging mass and popular cultures.


American Indian Stories, Zitkala-Sa
The Gates Ajar , Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
Ramona (Signet), Helen Hunt Jackson
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
The House Behind the Cedars, Charles Chestnutt
Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser