English | INTRO TO WRITING & STUDY OF LITERATURE
L141 | 2143-2155 | Paul Gutjahr


TOPIC:  "BEST SELLERS IN AMERICA, 1790-PRESENT"

This course will explore American literary culture through the lens of
novels and other types of writing which have sold extraordinary well
in the United States over the past two centuries.  By looking at best
selling literary works beginning with CHARLOTTE TEMPLE (1791) and
moving through to later novels like Puzo's THE GODFATHER (1969) and J.
K. Rowling's HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE (1996), we will
investigate not only why these narratives were so popular, but also
what relationship they have had to American politics, fine arts,
gender relations, racial tensions, motion pictures and religion.  The
course will involve considerable reading, written assignments of
various types, quizzes, a midterm and a final examination.