Linda S Watts
Examination of significant writers and literary developments within nineteenth-century American culture and society. Addresses issues surrounding the formation of an American literary canon. Stresses themes and methods for advanced literary interpretation within American Studies.
This course will approach nineteenth-century American literature through an emphasis on American gothic writings. Featured authors will likely include such figures as Alcott, Bierce, Brown, Chesnutt, Hawthorne, Melville, Poe, and Wharton. Class members will explore the gothic as genre; interpret and relate specific examples; and analyze the implications of larger themes, patterns, and contexts.
Student learning goals
Students will forge understandings of a variety of gothic texts (chiefly short stories), both singly and in combination.
Students will devise, test, and refine a working definition of the gothic genre in American literature.
Students will apply appropriate critical terms (such as plot, character, point of view, setting, narration, dialogue) within their spoken and written responses to literary works.
Students will demonstrate their ability to apply various strategies for engaging with literature through analytical writing, projects, and exams.
General method of instruction
While the instructor for this course will likely provide some framing remarks and background information, the primary classroom mode in this course will be participatory learning through such methods as seminar-style discussion, paired work, and group activities.
Although there may be no specific course prerequisites for this class, class members are expected to bring energy, intellectual curiosity, and a passion for dialogue with them to their work within this course.
Class assignments and grading
Assignments for this course include reading, writing, speaking, collaborating, and reflecting activities.
Grades will be calculated based upon a combination of factors, including class contributions, in-class activities, papers, projects, and exams.