ENGL 242 A: Reading Prose Fiction

Novellas of the 19th Century U.S.—Modernity, Compulsion, Revolution

Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 9:30am - 10:20am
SMI 305
Robert Hodges

Additional Details:

Spring Quarter

Engl 242A: Novellas of the 19th Century U.S.—Modernity, Compulsion, Revolution

Instructor: Bob Hodges

Course description: Texts for the course consist largely of novellas, but short stories, theoretical and historical writing, & literary criticism will also be assigned.

The course provides students with three different keywords, pilfered and modified from Jennifer Fleissner’s work, to approach reading in the U.S. long 19th century: 1) modernity (whether in economic relations, social rôles, or the psyche) 2) compulsion (whether as physical coercion or unconscious drive) 3) revolution (whether as direct uprising or a broader sense of “the world turned upside down”). The concepts will be developed through short excerpts from the historical work of Marshall Berman, Walter Johnson, Greg Grandin, and Karen Halttunen.

The course’s short (and cheap) novellas span multiple categories: Afro-American, detective, highly-crafted realist, historical, horror, regionalist, social protest, travel, utopian, women’s, and science fictions. These novellas’ global reach in settings ranges from the peripheries of the U.S. to Latin America, Europe, Africa, and the polar regions.

The course satisfies UW’s W (writing) requirement: during the quarter students will submit three 3-4 page papers with some option for revision. Other assignments include short in-class and homework writing assignments as well as a group presentation. The course also satisfies the VPLA (visual, performing, and literary arts) requirement and the pre-1900 requirement for English majors.

Required texts: Course packet (at Ram’s Copy Center)
Edgar Allan Poe The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (Dover)
Herman Melville Bartleby & Benito Cereno (Dover)
R. H. Davis, C. P. Gilman, S. O. Jewett, & E. Wharton 4 Stories by American Women (Penguin)
Henry James Daisy Miller (Dover)
Edward Bellamy Looking Backward 2000-1887 (Dover)
Mark Twain Pudd'nhead Wilson (Dover)
Sutton E. Griggs Imperium in Imperio (Modern Library)
Pauline E. Hopkins Of One Blood (Givens Collection)
Charlotte Perkins Gilman Herland (Dover)
H. P. Lovecraft At the Mountains of Madness (Modern Library)

Catalog Description: 
Critical interpretation and meaning in works of prose fiction, representing a variety of types and periods.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
March 16, 2016 - 11:20am