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Course: American Literature

V American Literature • Offering for 2018 • Grade 10 or above • Literature Sequence
* Primary Instructor
Bruce McMenomy
* Sections
[Enrolled students will be notified if teacher schedules change between course posting at the time enrollment opens and the scheduled start of classes. Please see Tuition and Fees for refund policy.]
Section 1 Instructor: Bruce McMenomy
Classes meet from September 4, 2018 to June 7, 2019
Wednesday 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM ET
Enrollment Policy: Full Year Only
Tuition: $500.00

* Website
Please review more extensive materials at the teacher's American Literature website.
* Description
This course examines the rich, varied, and occasionally quirky textures of American literature from colonial times to the late twentieth century. Once again, we take a generally historical approach to the material, tracing the development of particular themes, ideas, and techniques of writing, and examining the kaleidoscopic interactions of the many strands of the American population and culture.

While Western Literature to Dante emphasized extensive reading and English Literature focused on intensive reading, this course puts the two together. We read for the long view and zoom in on occasion for close scrutiny where it is warranted. In the process, we dig into issues of theme and symbolic language in the works of the great nineteenth-century masters Melville and Hawthorne, and the evolution of different approaches to realism in its various guises. We also spend some time examining modern critical writing. Those who plan to go on to take literature courses in college are well advised to be at least forewarned about some of the directions critical thought has taken.

The textbook for the course is The United States in Literature, which, like England in Literature, is part of the “America Reads” series from Scott, Foresman. The series has long since gone out of print, and nothing nearly as good has emerged to replace it, but happily used copies are still available and circulating fairly freely. A number of novels and plays take their place alongside the course textbook.
* Meetings
This course meets once a week for discussion and review of assigned homework.
* Homework
This is on a general par with English Literature for assignments, but it has somewhat more reading outside class.
* Prerequisites
The course has no absolute prerequisites, but English Literature or its equivalent is virtually required to assure success. If you have not taken my English Literature course, please contact me before enrolling in this one. We try to build on the cumulative skills of the previous years' work. World Literature introduces basic concepts of literary reading; Western Literature to Dante encourages extensive reading, while English Literature deals more with close reading. Here we attempt to combine techniques, looking minutely at some works while also reading an assortment of others in a way that will require a mixture of methods and techniques. For exceptions you must confer with the instructor to verify preparation.
* Recommended background
This course expects a fair degree of preparation in literary discourse. I expect not only familiarity with the literary contents of English Literature but also the critical concepts we have developed: narrative voice and persona, negative capability, and something of the variety of symbolic language, as well as many of the techniques of close reading.
V Textbooks and Materials
* A Man for All Seasons (Vintage International)
Robert Bolt
This text is required.
ISBN: 0679728228
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: You may use any complete text edition of this play.
* Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Norton Critical Edition) (Edition: 3)
Mark Twain, Thomas Cooley
This text is required.
ISBN: 0393966402
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: Please do not substitute another edition for this one. We will be using critical materials unique to this edition for class.
* Moby-Dick (Norton Critical Editions) (Edition: 3)
Herman Melville, Hershel Parker (Editor)
This text is required.
ISBN: 0393285006
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: Please do not substitute any other edition. We will be using the special critical material unique to this volume, unavailable in other editions.
* The Crucible (Penguin Classics)
Arthur Miller, Christopher Bigsby
This text is required.
ISBN: 0142437336
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: You may use any complete edition of this play.
* The Old Man and The Sea
Ernest Hemingway
This text is required.
ISBN: 0684801221
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: You may use any available copy of this book.
* The Red Badge of Courage (Norton Critical Editions) (Edition: 4)
Stephen Crane, Eric Carl Link (Editor), Donald Pizer (Editor)
This text is required.
ISBN: 0393930750
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: Please do not substitute another edition for this one. We will be using the unique materials available in this particular edition for class.
* The Scarlet Letter and Other Writings (Norton Critical Editions)
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Leland S. Person
This text is required.
ISBN: 0393979539
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: Please do not substitute another edition of this book. We will be using the unique critical material in this volume, unavailable in other editions.
* The United States in Literature (Three Long Stories)
James E. Miller Jr., Kerry M. Wood, Carlota Cardenas de Dwyer
This text is required.
ISBN: 0673293815
Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore
Other information: Please get this edition. If you cannot find the Three Long Stories edition, the other one will do, but you will need to track down those three stories in some other format.


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