College of Arts and Sciences | Bestsellers in America
C103 | 13319 | Gutjahr, P.


COLL-C 103 13319 Bestsellers in America (Gutjahr, P.: English) (A &
H) (3 cr.)

10:20am - 11:35am Daily


This course will challenge you to consider the history of best-
selling novels in the United States, and what characteristics of
these novels have enabled them to become so successful in the
American literary marketplace. By working through a set of case
studies focused on particular novels published between 1791 and
2003, we will seek to understand both massively popular American
literature and the various aspects of American culture that have led
to that popularity. These case studies will involve a wide range of
scholarly approaches including those found in the study of
literature, history, political science, philosophy, religion,
communication, sociology, and film.

This class is a part of the College’s “Critical Approaches”
curriculum, which means that this course focuses on providing
students with the opportunity to study a particular issue, problem
or set of texts using a wide range of perspectives and
methodologies. Successful students will come out of this course not
only knowing more about best-selling novels and American print
culture, but they will have developed argumentative and examination
skills rooted in the practices and theories that underpin different
academic disciplines. The class will focus on literature, but it
will expose students to work done in other disciplines.

Course requirements: There will be four short writing assignments,
one group teaching assignment, and pop quizzes.  There will be no
midterm or final examination.

Possible Course Texts: The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore
Cooper; Charlotte Temple by Susannah Rowson; The Godfather by Mario
Puzo; The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene; American Born
Chinese by Gene Yang; Misery by Stephen King.