English 353: American Literature, Later Nineteenth-Century
Prof. Robert E. Abrams
Zoom Meetings: T, Th: 6:30-8:20 PM
PLEASE NOTE: YOU WILL FIND A LINK TO JOIN SCHEDULED MEETINGS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS SYLLABUS
A study of representative American texts culled from the latter half of the nineteenth century and deliberately selected to span a gamut of genres: the novel, the short story, poetry, autobiography, the essay and the speech. Students should expect that in taking this course, they will keep needing to re-test the aesthetic ground-rules, and to keep re-adopting to radically different varieties of voice, ranging from Huck Finn’s down-home utterances to Dickinson’s gnomic phraseology to Henry James’s elaborately woven syntax. Themes will include race, immigration, industrial revolution, class, relationships between native Americans and white America, and the frontier—lots of long-familiar subjects. Even so, there’s no getting around the absence of a single perspective or voice through which to treat these issues. What is representative about the American texts selected, that is to say, is the fact that either individually, or sometimes in juxtaposition, they force one to think from several different standpoints all at once, to read different voices, and to span a gamut of worlds.
Texts: For your convenience, and to ease the strain on your budgets, all assigned readings in this course will be available in the Pages section of Canvas.
Formal essays: Two 4 ½ to 5-page papers are due on Feb 16 and Mar 11. Essay prompts will be available reasonably ahead of essay due dates in Announcements. Check all Announcements on a regular basis. This is very important in a remotely delivered course.
Final Examination: A take-it-at-home final examination will be available on Canvas from 9:30 AM, Weds, Mar 17, through 8:30 PM, Thurs, Mar 18, at which time the exam will become due. You will probably not need all this time to complete the exam—especially if you’ve done all readings and have reviewed all lectures during the quarter. But this large window of time is open to you in consideration of your busy, crowded schedules during exam week. During this window of time, you will be able to take portions of the exam, to migrate away from it, and then to return to the exam to complete remaining responses to questions. Issues and concepts covered in the Zoom online sessions as well as all reading assignments will be covered in this exam.
Class Format: I will begin each class with a lecture, which may run up to 60 minutes. You will then have a 10-minute break. This will be followed by class discussion. Feel free to enter commentary into the chat box which I’ll review during the break, thereafter using your various chats as springboards to start discussion. Let me add that in deference to these unsettled times of the pandemic, I will not be taking attendance. I will, however, be video recording all class sessions, and this will allow you to review these sessions online in an asynchronous manner when you can't make it to a lecture or to the discussion period thereafter.
NOTE CAREFULLY: ALL OF YOUR WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS SHOULD REPRESENT YOUR OWN THINKING AND WRITING. IN OTHER WORDS, THEY SHOULD NOT BE PLAGIARIZED. PLAGIARISM IS A VERY SERIOUS OFFENSE, AND ALL CASES OF PLAGIARISM IN THIS CLASS WILL BE REPORTED TO THE UNIVERSITY FOR APPROPRIATE DISCIPLINARY ACTION.
The following statement was prepared by the Committee on Academic Conduct in the College of Arts and Sciences. It amplifies the Student Conduct Code (WAC 478‐120).
One of the most common forms of cheating is plagiarism, using anotherʹs words or ideas without proper citation. When students plagiarize, they usually do so in one of the following six ways:
- Using another writerʹs words without proper citation. If you use another writerʹs words, you must place quotation marks around the quoted material and include a footnote or other indication of the source of the quotation.
- Using another writerʹs ideas without proper citation. When you use another authorʹs ideas, you must indicate with footnotes or other means where this information can be found. Your instructors want to know which ideas and judgments are yours and which you arrived at by consulting other sources. Even if you arrived at the same judgment on your own, you need to acknowledge that the writer you consulted also came up with the idea.
- Citing your source but reproducing the exact words of a printed source without quotation marks.
This makes it appear that you have paraphrased rather than borrowed the authorʹs exact words.
- Borrowing the structure of another authorʹs phrases or sentences without crediting the author from whom it came. This kind of plagiarism usually occurs out of laziness: it is easier to replicate another writerʹs style than to think about what you have read and then put it in your own words. The following example is from A Writerʹs Reference by Diana Hacker (New York, 1989, p. 171).
o Original: If the existence of a signing ape was unsettling for linguists, it was also
startling news for animal behaviorists.
o Unacceptable borrowing of words: An ape who knew sign language unsettled linguists
and startled animal behaviorists.
- Borrowing all or part of another studentʹs paper or using someone elseʹs outline to write your own paper.
Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Faculty Syllabus Guidelines and Resources. Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form available at: https://registrar.washington.edu/students/religious-accommodations-request/.
Jan 5: Introduction to the Course
A Game-Changing American Poet: Emily Dickinson
Jan 7: Dickinson, read the following poems, all emailed to you as attachments: USE OF PERSONA: "I started early;" POEMS ON RELIGION AND GOD: "'Faith' is a fine invention," "I shall know why," "There's a certain slant," "He fumbles at your soul," "I know that He exists," "I cannot live with you," "The soul should always stand;" : POEMS ON DEATH: "Because I could not stop," "I heard a Fly buzz."
Jan 12: POEMS ON NATURE, "I'll tell you how," "A bird came down the walk;" POEMS ON DESIRE, "Success is counted sweetest," "Exultation is the going," "Undue significance a starving man" PSYCHOLOGY AND THE SELF: “I felt a Funeral,” “I’m Nobody,” “Alone, I cannot be,”
A Game-Changing American Novel
Jan 14: Twain, HUCKLEBERRY FINN (read at least the first half)
Jan 19: Twain, HUCKLEBERRY FINN (finish reading the novel)
Industrial Revolution, Urbanization, and Class Polarization
Jan 21: Melville, “Bartleby”
Jan 26: Davis, "Life in the Iron Mills"
Jan 28: Crane, MAGGIE
The Civil War:
Feb 2: Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, and Melville, from Battle Pieces
Feb 4: Crane, THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE
Henry James: Modern Gothicism
Feb 9: James, “The Turn of the Screw”
Post-Slavery Race Relations.
Feb 11: DuBois, THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLK.
Feb 16: Continuation of discussion of DuBois; also read Ellison, “Harlem is Nowhere” PAPER ONE DUE. See Announcement ahead of time for prompts.
Native American Speeches
Feb 18 Preface to “Chief Seattle’s Speech,” “Chief Seattle’s Speech,”
and from “Native American Speeches,” read only from Excerpt 3 onward
American Heterogeneity and Flux: Is there an American Focal Center?
Feb 23: Crane, “The Blue Hotel,” “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky ”
Feb 25: Excerpts from Henry James, The American Scene
Turn-of-the Century American Feminism
Mar 2: Chopin, THE AWAKENING (at least the first half) Paper prompts handed out this evening for your second paper.
Mar 4: Continued discussion of Chopin, THE AWAKENING
Mar 9: Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper”
Mar 11: Course Conclusion. Second essay due, 11:59 PM, this evening. Please note: I will accept late essays up until Friday, March 19, 11:59 PM without a penalty. However, because I am teaching 80 students this quarter, have lots to read during exam week, and must strictly budget my time, I won’t be able to offer commentary on essays submitted after 11:59 PM on March 11.
Final Examination. Take-home available on Canvas from 9:30 AM Weds, Mar 17, through 6:30 PM Thurs,, Mar 18, at which point the exam will become due.
Link to scheduled Zoom Meetings at the bottom of the schedule of meetings
Topic: ENGLISH 353B
Time: Jan 5, 2021 06:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting ID: 995 5525 3677