9:05a-9:55a MWF (30) 3 cr.
This course will examine important cultural and literary concerns of the period between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of World War I by focusing on five major writers: Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Henry James, Kate Chopin, and Stephen Crane. Reading several works by each author will allow us to explore the unique characteristics of his/her art and the evolution of topics and interests over a writing career. Reading these particular writers will enable us to understand the exceptionally complicated and vital world to which they were responding and from which they were drawing their materials–the transition from country to city and farm to factory, from a society dominated by white “gentlemen” to one reluctantly conceding power to African Americans, women, and the “lower classes,” from a God-centered universe to a system of chance and chaos.
Readings will include:
The course will proceed by a mix of lecture and discussion, with discussion dominating. We’ll spend one class meeting at the Lilly Library looking at the original editions of the works being read. Participants will submit weekly “reflections” on the reading using Oncourse on the IU computer network; they will also write three shorter and two longer essays, and participate in a group teaching session. No examinations.