"Crumbling Idols," the title of an l894 essay collection that forecast trends in literature and art, serves succinctly as a theme for this course. We will examine how various areas of social life were affected by cultural, economic, and political changes and how those changes were registered in the writing of the period. Readings include realistic and naturalistic authors such as William Dean Howells, Mark Twain, Abraham Cahan, Henry James, Frank Norris, and Jack London; local colorists and feminists such as Sarah Orne Jewett, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Kate Chopin, and Hamlin Garland; critics and commentatos such Edward Bellamy, Henry Adams, and W. E. B. DuBois. We will also take a look at several poets, artists, and non-canonical writers. Requirements include several papers of varying lengths and intentions, class participation, and a take-home final.