A Cultural History of American Literature IV

Realism, Naturalism, Early Modernisms: U.S. Literature from the Civil War to the Armory Show

(Prof. Dr. F. Kelleter)

Please note that this is only the default version of the syllabus. Please download the ACTUAL SYLLABUS for the summer term 2012, to find out about dates and modified reading assignments.
Please bring this syllabus to the first session!

You may also download a set of study questions (PDF file) for this lecture course.

for HANDOUTS click on the individual sessions

Session 1

U.S. Culture in the Gilded Age and in the Progressive Era

Suggested: Winfried Fluck, "Realismus, Naturalismus, Vormoderne," Amerikanische Literaturgeschichte, ed. Hubert Zapf (Stuttgart: Metzler, 2nd ed., 2004), 154-217; Malcolm Bradbury, Richard Ruland, ed., From Puritanism to Postmodernism: A History of American Literature (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1992), 181-235 (chapters "Secession and Loyalty," "Muckrakers and Early Moderns").

Session 2

After Reconstruction: Mark Twain's South in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884/85)

Reading: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, chapters 1-16.

Session 3

Before the Gilded Age: Mark Twain's America in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (continued)

Reading: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, chapters 17-43.

Session 4

Northern Realism, Southern Romance: John W. De Forest's Miss Ravenel's Conversion from Secession to Loyalty (1867) and Thomas Nelson Page's In Ole Virginia (1887)

Reading: from de Forest, Miss Ravenel's Conversion: chapters 1-7, 14, 16, 18-21, 23, 24, 29, 32, 34, 35, 37; from Page In Ole Virginia: "Marse Chan".
Suggested: Booker T. Washington, from Up from Slavery: "The Atlanta Exposition Address".

Session 5

The Fiction of Henry James: The Early and Middle Phases

Reading: Henry James, Daisy Miller, 1878 version.

Session 6

William Dean Howells's The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885) as a Master Text of American Realism

Reading: The Rise of Silas Lapham, chapters 1-3, 5-9, 13-14.
Suggested: the entire novel

Session 7

Capitalism with a Human Face: William Dean Howells's The Rise of Silas Lapham (continued)

Reading: The Rise of Silas Lapham, chapters 15-20, 24-27.
Suggested: Andrew Carnegie, "Wealth" (also in course folder "Introduction to American Cultural History").

Session 8

Forms of Naturalism in Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie (1900)

Reading: Sister Carrie (Dodge edition), chapters 1-8, 10, 13, 16, 19-20, 26-29.
Suggested: the entire novel; Georg Simmel, "Die Großstädte und das Geistesleben".

Session 9

Conspicuous Consumption and the Culture of Display in Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie (continued)

Reading: Sister Carrie (Dodge edition), chapters 30-33, 35, 38-39, 42-44, 46-47.
Suggested:the entire novel; Thorstein Veblen, from Theory of the Leisure Class: "Conspicuous Consumption".

Session 10

How the Other Half Lives: Stephen Crane's Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (1893) and Abraham Cahan's "A Sweatshop Romance" (1898)

Reading: Crane, Maggie, and Cahan "Sweatshop Romance" (included in the Sixth Edition of the Norton Anthology of American Literature).
- in preparation -

Session 11

Décadence Americaine or "New Womanhood"? Kate Chopin's The Awakening (1899)

Reading: The Awakening, chapters 1-12, 16-17, 19, 21-24, 26-28, 30, 32, 36-39.
Suggested: the entire novel.

Session 12

Theater and Drama after the Turn of the Century: David Belasco's The Girl of the Golden West (1905), William Vaughn Moody's The Great Divide (1906/09), and Israel Zangwill's The Melting Pot (1908)

Reading: the texts listed.
- in preparation -

Session 13

Toward Modernism: Turn-of-the-Century Poetry and the Late Fiction of Henry James

- in preparation (make your own selections from Reading List) -

Session 14

A Return to Reform: Progressive Utopia and Social Analysis in Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward 2000-1887 (1888), Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland (1915), and W.E.B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

Reading: Bellamy, from Looking Backward: chapters 1-3, 5, 6, 10, 11, 13, 19, 22, 24-26, 28; Gilman, from Herland: chapters 1, 5, 6, 8, 11, 12; Du Bois, from The Souls of Black Folk: "The Forethought," chapters 1, 3 (as excerpted in Norton Anthology).
Suggested: William James, "A Moral Equivalent of War"; Herbert Croly, The Promise of American Life(also in course folder "Introduction to American Cultural History").

Most primary texts on the syllabus are included as full texts in the Norton Anthology of American Literature (Seventh Edition, Volume C). Texts not included in Norton are provided in the course reader, which can be bought at the copy-store "Klartext."
The recommended edition of Sister Carrie is any edition that reproduces the 1907 Dodge version (e.g. Bantam paperback), not the later ("unexpurgated") Pennsylvania version (as does the Penguin paperback which also has a different chapter count!). It makes little sense to attend the lecture course without reading the assigned texts.
If you cannot attend this lecture course because of a scheduling conflict with other mandatory courses, please see us in advance and we will schedule a repeated screening of the lecture course for you, and provide you with material for independent study. Please understand that we can provide this service only if you contact us before the first week of classes!
For all organizational matters, please contact Birte Otten.