Above section fulfills the College Topics requirement and may not be repeated for credit.
We will explore novels that have sold an extraordinary number of copies in the US. Beginning with Susanah Rowson's, Charlotte Temple (1791) and ending with J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter (1997), students will consider the reasons behind, and influence of, popular novels in the US. We will examine issues such as how might one define the term "best seller," who writes these books, publishes them, reads them, and how are they distributed. Students will learn how to examine books as complex entities whose production and reception involves a host of forces and figures, including authors, editors, booksellers, book clubs, librarians, movie moguls, politicians, and teachers. Students will learn what role certain popular novels have played in changing our language idioms, fashions, politics, notions of gentility, sexual mores, etiquette, and religious values.