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ENGL 353 A: American Literature: Later Nineteenth Century

Uncanny America

Summer Term: 
Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 12:00pm - 2:10pm
CDH 110B
Mark Patterson
Mark Patterson

Additional Details:

Uncanny America. Late 19th century America saw the emergence of the nation as an economic and cultural power. As Americans looked to a promising future, the city as we know it came into being, the intellectual life was vibrant and hope for individual accomplishment was bright. And yet this America was haunted by the past and by its own dreams. This is a course about the haunting of America, or rather, about the ways in which American literature between 1865 and 1910 held the mirror up to society to reveal its darker realities and fantasies. Economic optimism was countered by works about poverty, the bright future was haunted by the legacies of the Civil War, and praise for equality was tempered by the writers’ obsession with the ways in which minorities and women were constrained by the very forces that offered such promise. We will use Freud’s famous essay on the uncanny to discuss the various forms of haunting in the period. Included will be real ghost stories by Edith Wharton, Henry James, and Ambrose Bierce, but we will also consider other forms of the uncanny, like the doubling of racial passing in Elizabeth Keckley and Mark Twain, and the alienation in city life in Horatio Alger.

Catalog Description: 
Explores American fiction, poetry, and prose during the latter half of the nineteenth century. May include such representative authors of the period as Twain, Dickinson, DuBois, Crane, Wharton and Chopin, along with supplementary study of the broader cultural and political milieu.
GE Requirements: 
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
March 16, 2016 - 11:28am