2018-2019 Catalog

ENGL 345 American Literature Before 1900: The American Renaissance

The tumultuous pre-Civil War period from 1850 to 1855 saw the creation of a number of works that were and are thought by many to be among the most brilliant, important, and influential for American and global culture. Such an assessment, while it must be, itself, constantly weighed and re-evaluated in regard to broader historical developments and criteria, suggests the desirability of critically encountering these works in the attempt to understand the complex evolution of our national self-image. This class will study both the radical shifts in literary practice engendered at the time, and the intersection of these presentational innovations, with a growing emphasis on issues of race, class, sexual orientation, environmentalism, and the concept of the self. In addition to the authors traditionally associated with this period - Emerson, Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau, and Whitman - this class will consider a slight precursor, Edgar Allan Poe, and a trailing figure, Emily Dickinson. Major requirement met: Group II.


4 units

Core Requirements Met

  • United States Diversity