English | Special Studies in English & American Literature
L780 | 13446 | Fleissner

L780  13446  FLEISSNER (#4 OR #5)
Special Studies in English & American Literature

1:25p  4:25p M


This course explores American writing from the period just prior to
what we usually term "modernism," in order to argue for its central
engagement with the terrain of social, cultural, and intellectual
modernity.  Exploring this engagement will entail situating these
writers within several different, interlocking contexts

First, we will consider pertinent developments in U.S. history
during this period (such as urbanization, consumerism, immigration,
the rise of the New Woman, lynch law and Jim Crow, etc.).  Second,
we will trace movements in American thought during this time (such
as the rise of mind cure, pragmatism, antimodernism, and the
formalization of the social sciences).  Finally, we will treat the
writers in question as part of a broader transnational attempt to
theorize modernity's meanings, its promises and threats, seeing them
as part of a conversation that also includes Weber, Simmel,
Nietzsche, Freud, Durkheim, etc.

Primary texts will be drawn from among the following: Henry James,
The American Scene; W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk; Edith
Wharton, The House of Mirth or Twilight Sleep; Sarah Orne Jewett,
The Country of the Pointed Firs; Charles W. Chesnutt, The Marrow of
Tradition; Herman Melville, Billy Budd; Theodore Dreiser, Sister
Carrie; Frank Norris, Vandover and the Brute; Pauline Hopkins, Of
One Blood; Paul Laurence Dunbar, Sport of the Gods.  Critical texts
will likely include essays by such scholars as James Livingston, T.
J. Jackson Lears, Nancy Bentley, Susan Gillman, Jane Thrailkill,
Kenneth Warren, Amy Kaplan, Michael Elliott, and Brad Evans.