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American Literature 1870-1900

ENGL 083.001
instructor(s):
TR 10:30-12

"Novelists might be the greatest possible help to us if they painted life as it is, and human feelings in their true proportion and relation," claims a character in William Dean Howells' "The Rise of Silas Lapham" (1885). This course will examine how this claim was assented to and dissented from in the works of an array of late 19th century writers -- from Howells himself and other canonical realists (Henry James and Mark Twain) to often marginalized writers concerned with marginalized groups (Mary wilkins Freeman, Abraham Cahan, Hamlin Garland, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper) to writers who explored the boundaries of realist aesthetics and cultural assumptions (Stephen Crane, Kate Chopin, W.E.B. Dubois). Requirements may include a series of short papers, conferences and revisions, supplementary readings in period figures (Whitman, Henry Adams and others), film screenings, a midterm or final, a concluding project -- and will be reviewed with an eye to their "proportion and relation" to the needs of the class.