TOPIC: "BEST SELLERS IN AMERICA, 1791-PRESENT"

This course will explore American literary culture through the lens of novels and other types of writing which have sold extraordinarily 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 J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter (1997), we will investigate not only why these narratives gained such popularity, 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, and quizzes. Be prepared to work hard.