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2007-08 syllabus

Please get only the editions listed below (note: pay special attention, particularly with Little Women, to getting the proper unabridged edition). The photocopies for each unit’s introductory readings will be available to you as reading packets at the Copy Shop. These are required readings just as much as the primary texts. Those primary texts marked as handouts will be available at the Copy Shop; in addition, they can be downloaded from the module’s forum page as a pdf file:

Term I

Week 1: Introduction to C19 US Writing and Culture

Unit 1: Desperate Housewives

Week 2: Gender and the Ideologies of Private Life [handout, from the Copy Shop]:

  • Carol Smith Rosenberg, “Bourgeois Discourse and the Age of Jackson”
  • Barbara Welter, “The Cult of True Womanhood, 1820-1860”
  • Alexis de Tocqueville, “Education of Girls in the United States”
  • Nancy F. Cott, “On ‘Woman’s Sphere’ and Feminism”
  • Raymond Williams, from “Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory”
  • Valerie Smith, “Form and Ideology in Three Slave Narratives”

Week 3: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (Penguin)

Week 4: Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave-Girl (Dover)

Week 5: Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (Penguin Popular)

[Week 6: Reading Week]

Unit 2: Spectres of Race

Week 7: Introduction: Slavery, Race, Emancipation [handout]:

  • Toni Morrison, from Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination
  • Harold Beaver, “Introduction” to Poe’s Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym
  • Illustrations of slaveship cargo holds
  • Noel Ignatiev, “Immigrants and Whites” from Race Traitor
  • “Abolish the White Race – By Any Means Necessary” from Race Traitor
  • “When Does the Unreasonable Act Make Sense?” from Race Traitor

Week 8: Edgar Allen Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (Oxford); Nat Turner, The Confessions of Nat Turner [handout]

Week 9: Mark Twain, Puddn’head Wilson (Oxford)

Week 10: Charles Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition (Dover)

Term II

Unit 3: Social Hieroglyphics

Week 1: Introduction: Commodities, Labor, Incorporation [handout]:

  • Karl Marx, “The Fetishism of the Commodity and its Secret”
  • Howard Zinn, “Robber Barons and Rebels”
  • Alan Trachtenberg, “Mysteries of the Great City”
  • Jean-Christophe Agnew, “The Consuming Vision of Henry James”

Week 2: Herman Melville, Bartleby the Scrivener; “The Paradise of Bachelors”/”The Tartarus of Maids” [handouts]

Week 3: Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron-Mills [handout]

Week 4: Henry James, The Spoils of Poynton (Oxford)

Week 5: William Dean Howells, A Hazard of New Fortunes (Penguin)

[Week 6: Reading Week]

Unit 4: Inland and Global Empire

Week 7 Introduction: Individuality and the Possession of Others [handout]

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance”
  • Eleanor Marx and Edward Aveling, “The Cowboys”
  • Frederick Jackson Turner, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History”
  • Richard Slotkin, “The Frontier Myth as a Theory of Development”
  • Jane Kuenz, “The Cowboy Businessman and ‘The Course of Empire’: Owen Wister’s The Virginian

Week 8: Owen Wister, The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains (Oxford) 

Week 9: Richard Harding Davis, Soldiers of Fortune (Broadview)

Week 10: Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass: The First (1855) Edition (Penguin)

Other Required Texts

Inventing America
: Volume I, ed. Pauline Maier et al. NB: Get only Vol. 1, not the complete hardback.

The Craft of Argument (concise), Joseph Williams and Gregory Colomb (Longman) NB. Get the cheaper concise edition.

Writing with Sources: A Guide for Students, Gordon S. Harvey (Hackett).