Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

American Novels: 1865-1914

ENGL 053.601
instructor(s):
W 6-9:00
fulfills requirements:
Sector 5: 19th Century Literature of the Standard Major

The period following the American Civil War saw the dramatic rise of industrialization, sweeping technological changes, highly speculative financial expansion, violent colonial ventures, unprecedented labor strife, a massive reform movement led overwhelmingly by women, and the ongoing black freedom struggle. Amid this dynamic historical backdrop, the American novel undergoes equally robust changes, from the prominent advent of literary realism and naturalism to the nascent developments of Afrofuturism and weird fiction. In this course, we will closely attend to this historical and literary conjuncture while simultaneously looking to the ways in which class, race, gender, and sexuality find themselves jointly articulated in the form of the novel. Authors we will read include Henry James, Edith Wharton, Mark Twain, Charles Chesnutt, Frank Norris, and Pauline Hopkins. Assignments will consist of an oral presentation, a short paper, and a final research project.