English | Discovering Literature
L111 | 22883 | Paul Gutjahr

Paul Gutjahr

22883 - 11:15a-12:05p MWF (25 students) 3 cr., A&H

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 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 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, and
religion. We will also study some of the motion picture adaptations
based on these books. Aside from the reading for the course, there
will be two short papers and weekly quizzes. There will be no
midterm and no final examination.

Other texts might include: The Last of the Mohicans, Nancy Drew and
the Secret of the Old Clock, Peyton Place, The Godfather, and Misery.