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Topics in American Literature: Mark Twain

ENGL 283.401
instructor(s):
MWf 12

Perhaps no canonical nineteenth-century American author increases in critical popularity as much as does Mark Twain; certainly no canonical American author maintains as high a level of popularity among BOTH academics and members of the general reading public.  In this course we will try to determine some of the values, critical and popular, that make Twain an enduring best-seller to many different audiences.  We will thus spend time not only reading Twain's works and the works of major critics from many different periods of Twain criticism, but we will also engage in a self-reflective analysis of the aims and techniques of criticism itself and in a discussion of the values and uses of literature.

Requirements: frequent short essays, energetic class discussion, and a final research paper.