Wednesday, February 17, 2010

American Literature Syllabus Skopje

Spring 2010 Syllabus: AJ484 American Literature (Preliminary version)
Dr. Gerald Siegel and Ms. Elida Bahtijaroska
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1. Students will become familiar with major figures, movements, and works in American literature of the 20th and 21st centuries and with the historical and cultural contexts of these literary phenomena.
2. Students will demonstrate the ability to read course texts in English accurately and critically and to formulate relevant questions leading to informed interpretations.
3. Students will demonstrate the ability to employ the terminology of literary studies in classroom discussion and writing assignments that reveal their knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.

SCOPE OF THE COURSE: An examination of selected writings by American authors of the 20th and 21st centuries and of the literary and cultural backgrounds of these writings.

Methods of instruction will include assigned readings, class discussion, background lectures, critical examination (both individually and in groups) of course readings, and may include brief written responses to these readings, appropriate media presentations, guest and/or out-of-class speakers, and student presentations/papers.

1. Midterm and final colloquia will each be 100 points (based on a percentage) of a written test and will each be worth 35% of the final grade. These allow you to demonstrate your knowledge of all assigned readings, all lectures, all media presentations, and any insights developed from class discussion and consideration of texts and backgrounds.

2. Attendance at every class session is important because much of the experience of literature involves sharing views among readers. Indeed, attendance (worth 10%) involves not just being physically in the classroom, but taking part in any class activities at a given session in a way that demonstrates regular preparation of class readings in advance and exhibiting professionalism during class sessions. However, to allow for special situations such as illness, death in the immediate family, assisting family or friends with emergencies, religious obligations, or university and civic responsibilities, students may miss up to three “personal days” without penalty. However, students are still responsible for any in-class essays, quizzes, or activities done on those days. In addition, one quiz or in-class essay may be missed (or the lowest such score will be dropped). Students missing more than three class sessions should expect to have their attendance and participation scores sharply reduced.

3. Participation and completion of class projects will be worth 20%. This includes active, informed participation in class discussion in a manner demonstrating regular preparation and command of English skills appropriate to this course and on-time completion and submission of in-class and out-of-class written and oral projects.

4. For those who do not successfully complete items 1-3 above, the normal FON examination policies and practices will apply.

COURSE MATERIALS: McMichael, George, and others, eds. Anthology of American Literature, 9th ed.vol. 2. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2007; McMichael, George and others, eds, . Concise Anthology of American Literature, 2nd ed.; Various materials from online sources.

COURSE SCHEDULE. The page numbers here refer to McMichael, 9/ed., vol 2. +Many of the readings can also be found in the 1985 concise edition. Page numbers are shown. #These works can also be accessed online through Project Gutenberg, Wikisources, or the e-collections of the University of Adelaide and the Online Library. *Some will be provided as copies. You’ll also find useful resources and web links at the Prentice Hall web site that accompanies the McMichael textbook.

Week/sessions. Readings to be prepared and topics to be considered session for each meeting. List is tentative and subject to change.

1. 15-19 Feb.
Introduction to course. The evolving canon of American literature.
Local Color, Regionalism, and Realism.
Freeman, 444: A New England Nun, 445 +1058.
Chessnut, 496: The Goophered Grapevine, 497; #The Wife of His Youth.

2 22-26 Feb.
Continue regionalist backgrounds
Complete stories as necessary. Begin #Chopin, 660 and The Awakening.

3. 1-5 Mar
Chopin: The Awakening, 661.
Literary Naturalism in America. Crane, 754: The Open Boat, 778 +1409.

4. 8-12 March
Norris, 794: A Deal in Wheat, 795. London, +The Law of Life, 804; #To Build a Fire.
The Literature of the Early Twentieth Century and Modernism (1900-1945) [backgrounds].
Currents in Modernist Poetry. Frost, 1104 +1515-1531: Mending Wall, 1105; Home Burial, 1106;

5. 15-19 Mar.
Continue Frost and Introduction to Eliot. The Road Not Taken, 1110; Birches, 1111; Design, 1114.
Frost: Stopping By Woods, 1114; Acquainted with the Night, 1115; West-Running Brook, 1115.
Submit critical essay #1.

6. 22-26 Mar.
Eliot, 1307: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, 1308; Journey of the Magi, 1332;
Eliot : The Waste Land, 1316.

Week of 6-10 April: COLLOQUIUM #1.

Any changes in the above assignments and the reading schedule for the rest of the semester will be announced in a later edition of this syllabus. Selections will include some or all of the following topics and possibly critical essay #2.

American Drama. O'Neill, 1229: The Hairy Ape, 1230 +154

Harlem Renaissance. Langston Hughes: *Selections from The Negro Speaks of Rivers; The Weary Blues; I, Too; Harlem; Un-American Investigators; Dinner Guest Me; Cross; Song for a Dark Girl; Ballad of the Landlord.

Cullen, 1445: +For a Lady I Know, 1446; Incident, 1447; +From the Dark Tower, 1447; +A Brown Girl Dead, 1448; +Heritage, 1289.

Toomer, 1452: +Blood-Burning Moon, 1453. Hurston, 1462: +The Gilded Six-Bits, 1467.

New Directions in Poetry. cummings, 1334: +In just-, 1335; +Buffalo Bill's defunct,1336; +r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r, 1339; +anyone lived in a pretty how town, 1339; +l(a), 1341.

Stevens, 1381: Peter Quince at the Clavier, 1382; Anecdote of the Jar, 1390; Idea of Order at Key West, 1391.

W. C. Williams, 1395: Tract, 1398; Danse Russe, 1400; Spring and All, 1401; The Red Wheelbarrow, 1404; This is Just to Say, 1406.

New Directions in Fiction. Fitzgerald, 1481: Bernice Bobs Her Hair, 1483. #Winter Dreams; #Babylon Revisited: #The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Faulkner, 1529: That Evening Sun, 1530 +1760. *A Rose For Emily +1771.

Hemingway, 1515: Big Two-Hearted River, 1516. *Soldier’s Home; Wright, 1642: from Native Son, 1643.

The Literature of America Since World War II (1945 to Present), 1593.
The Confessional Poets. R. Lowell, 1754: +Memories of West Street and Lepke, 1761; +Skunk Hour, 1763; +For the Union Dead, 1764.

Sexton, 1832: +The Farmer's Wife, +Ringing the Bells,; +And One for My Dame, 1835; +The Addict, 1836.

Plath, 1839: +Lady Lazarus, 1742; +Ariel, 1844; +Daddy, 1845.

Beat Poetry. Ginsberg, 1801: Howl, 1803; +A Supermarket in California, 1810; +America, 1811.

Week of 31 May-4 June: COLLOQUIUM #2.



1. Online sources exist, too, for some works:

Through Online Books Page of the University of Pennsylvania:

•Chesnutt: The Goophered Grapevine: (This is the first story in The Conjure Woman.)

•Chesnutt: The Wife of His Youth: (This is the first story in the book of the same name.)

•Freeman: A New England Nun: (This story is in the collection A New England Nun.)

Through Project Gutenberg:

Chopin: The Awakening (read this tale only: http://www.gutenber

Other useful places to find free texts and public domain materials:

University of Adelaide Library “E-book” collection: Many of the course’s Fitzgerald items can be found here.

Wikisource ( includes links to Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” for this class.

University of Virginia Library e-text center (; Most free access materials will be at, the library’s “Digital Collections” page.

2. Professionalism also involves courtesy toward fellow students, presenters, guests, and the professor. For example (this list is only partial), you are expected to avoid such distractions as tardy arrival, early departure, audible side conversations while the class is going on, leaving behind food or debris, or having cell phones or pagers go off during class. Mobile phones, pagers, iPods, and similar devices must be completely off during class. For emergencies or other special situations, please see me before the start of the class.

3. Assignments. If you submit any assignments, drafts, or other items electronically, send them as MSWord attachments. Announced due dates still apply. If you use another program, you should “save as” MSWord before attaching the document. See the instructor if you are not able to use MSWord. Be sure to retain personal copies of whatever files you send. Of course, you may always submit items as hard copy from a printer.

This syllabus was last updated on 14 February 2010