Reading & Presentation Schedule
Tuesday, 23 August
Walt Whitman, "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer"
Dickinson, [I Cannot Live with You]
intro, schedule, discussion
syllabus, discuss Romanticism
ID & preferences, assignments
lyric poetry (review poetry
preview next week's readings
Walt Whitman, 1819-92
Name? Degree or course of studies? What
stage in graduate career? Professional or vocational application of
What do you know (or guess) about
Romanticism? Which writers would you automatically associate?
1. What is
Romanticism & why does it matter? Where have you encountered the
word before, with what associations?
2. What is
Romantic about each poem?
Presence of Romance narrative?
Non-Romantic or anti-Romantic elements
Rita Dove, b. 1952
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-83
forms of Romanticism are
identifiable in either or both texts?
2. What differences between Emerson and Poe? How may
they both be
Romantic writers or
3. What appeals to
readers then and now? Why does Poe remain the most popular of American
classic writers, while Emerson remains essential to the traditional
of American literature?
4. How is Poe's or
Romanticism essentially American—or not?
Guidance: identify Poe with the
gothic, Emerson with
Transcendentalism, but look for the
sublime & the
romance narrative in both.
Question(s) for Whitman poem:
familiar Romantic elements?
Romance narrative? Where does
Whitman exceed Romanticism
or veer into Realism?
2. How does Romanticism affect poetic form? (Whitman as founder of
free verse; effort to write
poetry for common people)
Edgar Allan Poe,
Tuesday, 6 September
early American literature anticipating Romanticism
Smith, from A General History of Virginia (1624)
Narrative of the
Captivity & Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson (1682)
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (1741),
Personal Narrative, &
Sarah Pierrepont (The Great
from The Age of Reason (1794)
(Enlightenment period) (Declaration,
discussion leader(s): Jessica
Myers (Edwards &/or Paine); instructor
(Rowlandson &/or Smith)
poetry: Anne Bradstreet,
my Dear and Loving Husband" (cf.
"Sonnets from the Portuguese #43")
poetry reader / discussion
leader: Caryn Livingston
Edwards & Paine
Discussion: on Smith and Rowlandson
Gothic in Smith (15), Rowlandson
fanciful depiction of
Mrs. Mary Rowlandson
Discussion Questions for Pre-Romantic texts:
roots or prototypes for
Romantic forms in
today's readings? How may
these prototypes evolve or develop in
Romantic era and beyond?
What resistance to reading these texts as proto-Romantic?
Compare Edwards (and Paine) to Emerson, Poe, Whitman, Dickinson of Romantic era (a century
or more later). A common comparison-with-continuity is between Edwards as a
late Puritan and Emerson as a Romantic
3. How does
Paine's Deism anticipate
Smith's and Rowlandson's texts are genre-identified as captivity narratives,
one of America's unique contributions to world literature. How may the captivity narrative
conform to the
romance narrative? (Or not?)
How does the captivity narrative
experience differ for a man (Smith) and a woman (Rowlandson)?
Pocahontas in Smith's History of Virginia, how has this legend
been increasingly romanticized ever since, up to the Disney animovie?
What elements in Smith's story encourage or resist
what cases is Romanticization a direct violation of factual truth?
kind of truth or reality akin to
Mataoka a.k.a. Pocahontas
Rebecca Rolfe (c. 1595-1617)
(engraving by Simon van de Passe)
American Renaissance 1820s-1860s:
Romantic period in American Literature
antique mug of Rip Van Winkle in Dutch-American
1. Besides cartoons, TV, and movies, how and why does everyone know
the stories of Rip Van Winkle and Legend of Sleepy Hollow, even if never read before? What about these stories is
essentially American and appeals to American readers?
2. Irving's stories are early
Romanticism, but what
Romantic themes or
styles appear in Rip Van Winkle and
Legend of Sleepy Hollow?
2a. Identify the gothic and
the sublime in Irving's stories and
chapters 1-2 of Mohicans—also
2b. Rip Van Winkle &
Hollow share styles of the 18c
humor) as well
as 19c Romanticism-—identify.
Terms / Periods backgrounds: Irving's stories (RVW & Sleepy Hollow) show a style
in transition between the Enlightenment (satire,
reason, society) and Romanticism (the romance, adventure, Romantic
characterization, outdoor adventure).
Except for some
satire and (weak) humor associated with David Gamut, Last of the
Mohicans is full-blown
Romanticism: much more serious about itself
and its characters, little humor, frontier instead of society.
1949 Disney animation of
Legend of Sleepy Hollow
1. Written only 6-7 years after
Rip Van Winkle, how is
2. Discuss Twain's & Lawrence's post-Romantic
revaluations of Cooper's Romanticism? What are Romanticism's
shortcomings and virtues? Cooper's failings as a writer are many, but
how may he still claim our attention and a place in American literature?
3. How does Mohicans use the
gothic (esp. its
color code) to
explore American race relations and taboos?
How does Cora fit the
description of a
3a. How far may Cooper's representations of
repressed identities like American Indians and the mixed-race Cora have
advanced beyond Irving's
Stereotypes of African Americans?
3b. Mohicans turns the captivity
narrative (Rowlandson, Smith) into fiction. How does the captivity
narrative conform to the romance narrative—or not? (Compare slave
narratives later in semester.)
4. How does
Romanticism explore the unknown as
Realism may not?
What's socially desirable about escaping or exceeding reality?
American Indian texts:
or narratives emerge from
texts representing repressed or marginalized voices?
What mix of Romantic ideals & real conditions?
(classic, popular, representative literature)
American dominant culture often wishes to romanticize the American
Indian as either saint or sinner, God or dog, wise man close to nature
or stone-killer terrorist. What different realities emerge when
Indians speak (more or less) with their own voice? What light do these
alternate realities throw on
tortoise as foundation of earth
young Nathaniel Hawthorne
1. Compare-contrast Poe's & Hawthorne's use of the
gothic. What common forms
and purposes? What distinct backgrounds (or traditions) & purposes?
2. What is the psychological and moral significance of the
Why does the
recur in various dimensions of popular literature and culture? What
western values are implicit in the
color code of the
gothic? (Prepare for inversion in Harlem Renaissance.)
3. How does Poe's
conform more to European
models of the gothic? How is Hawthorne's
American, or how does he adapt the
to early American
4. How might Hawthorne, Poe, or their characters be regarded as
5. What other "signature" styles for Hawthorne and Poe do these stories
6. How are Hawthorne & Poe both
Romantic? How do they vary, complicate,
Romanticism? How are both
Henry David Thoreau
1. How is Transcendentalism consistent with or distinct
2. What formal, cultural or historical factors identify all three authors as
3. To what varying purposes does
each author spin or vary the Transcendentalist style or forms?
Is Transcendentalism merely
escapist Idealism, or does it have political
and economic implications and consequences?
US-Mexican War &
memoir of Juan Seguin: The American
literary canon expands and diversifies to include texts and voices
genders, races, and classes. Courses in Multicultural Literature and
Contemporary American Literature frequently feature leading Hispanic and
Mexican American Authors.
But the further back in American literary history we go, the more
challenging inclusiveness of Latinos becomes. Why? What historical factors in
American and Mexican literary history? What are the possibilities for
including earlier Mexican American literature?
Margaret Fuller, 1810-50
midterm exam & research proposal—no class meeting; instructor keeps office hours
due by Wednesday 12 October midnight.
First Research Post due week
of 19-24 October (see research options)
Frederick Douglass, 1818-95
1. What problems arise in discussing genres like
slave narratives in terms of literary styles like
Realism? What challenges, problems, or advantages from discussing such
texts as literature rather than cultural or historical documents?
2. What may be inherently Romantic about the symbols and values of the
slave narrative? How may its structure or sequence resemble the romance
3. What realities or realistic descriptions
fall outside Romantic style or violate the romance narrative?
4. How to discuss slavery, esp. in a post-Confederate state like Texas?
(Standard answers from dominant culture: "That was a long time ago"; "We
wouldn't have done that.")
(photo from 1894)
Tuesday, 25 October 2016:
American Renaissance of Women's
Susan B. Warner,
selections from The Wide, Wide World (1850) (read chs. 1,
2, 5, 6, 10)
Maria Susanna Cummins,
from The Lamplighter (1854)
selections from Uncle Tom's Cabin (1851-2) (chs. 1, 4, 7,
reading discussion leader(s):
(Warner &/or Cummins);
Umaymah Shahid (Stowe)
poetry reader / discussion
leader: Caryn Livingston
Warner & Cummins: instructor
Wide, Wide World
(1850) was the USA's bestselling novel until
Uncle Tom's Cabin
(1851-2), and both were outsold by
The Lamplighter (1854). How do these texts
resemble or differ from modern
What are the continuing attractions of
domestic literature? What
are these popular novels' strengths and weakness for critical study and
2. As with the slave narratives,
where does Romanticism give
way to Realism, with what
literary satisfactions or frustrations?
3. Evaluate sentiment & sentimentality—how to
react to scenes of tears, mothers' fears, etc.? How does
Uncle Tom's Cabin
combine domestic sentimentality with political activism? Compare
Resistance to Civil Government;
backgrounds to civil
4. How does
Uncle Tom's Cabin
correspond in form and content to the
slave narrative genre?
5. If you've read John Bunyan's
(1678), how does Wide, Wide World
resemble it, particularly as a type of spiritual
6. All these texts were written in the context of the
"Second Great Awakening" of American evangelism in the early 19th
century. Evaluate the evangelical content in today's readings. How to
teach such texts in a public school or university? How much do the texts
succeed as cultural history or as literature? How do evangelical values
correspond or not to Romanticism?
7. Compare Jacobs's
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl as an example of how
domesticity and the slave
American Literature: Realism &
Identify Romantic forms in later contexts
Henry James, 1843-1916
Background: James (w/ Mark Twain,
Edith Wharton, & William Dean Howells) is a leading author of
the American period /
style of Realism—in James's case "psychological realism." Realism as a movement
reacted against Romanticism
but retained features that may still seem residually Romantic..
Daisy Miller, James's most popular
work, appears in 1878, a long decade after the Civil War.
Culturally, Realism may appear as a
period of comparative exhaustion
or retrenchment following the enormous social movements and changes of
the antebellum era and Civil War. Compare 1960s-1980s.
1. How have setting,
changed since the Romantic era? Or not?
2. If both
Realistic elements co-exist,
what is the effect of their mixing or friction? Consider
irony, but other possibilities.
3. Note the
story's repeated references to Lord
Byron (1788-1824). How does the story manipulate elements of
and turn them to Realistic ends?
4. Consider the character Daisy Miller as a new American woman visiting Europe but uninhibited by
gender or class traditions of the Old World. How does Daisy's image
conform to styles or values
of Romanticism? How does her voice
challenge such descriptions or
motives? What actions throw characterization of her as Romantic into
question or doubt?
Henry James is
critically regarded as one of the USA's greatest authors and inspires
enormous quantities of scholarship yearly. What is his status in the
literary canon? What appeals or
detractions? How is Daisy quintessentially American? Why is Randolph
surprised that Winterbourne is an American? (James's "International
5a. Compare James's style
and psychological content to Hawthorne?
Daisy Miller as novel of
6. Jessica's question: Why must Romantic heroines who rebel agains
society invariably die? (e.g. Edna in The Awakening )
Cybill Shepherd in Daisy Miller (d.
Sarah Orne Jewett
1. The Local Color movement, a.k.a. Regionalism, was
concentrated in the Realistic period
of the late 19th-early 20th centuries. Identify Realistic
features of these stories' style,
but what Romantic styles or
Color writers typically represent speech in dialect, which is now discouraged by editors, publishers, and creative writing
teachers. Why the change? Why did dialect work then but not
3. Local Color writing is often appealing to readers but overlooked as a major movement. Why is it
attractive but critically neglected?
Women read and wrote much of the Local Color movement. What are
its appeals to an audience of women, and how may it represent a feminist
voice or tradition?
4. By this point in the semester, rehearsing period
or style terms like Romanticism
and Realism may seem obvious,
but what usefulness do such broad terms serve for scholarship and
teaching? Scholarship is so specific that broad terms like Romanticism
and Realism or even
Regionalism may rarely be examined in depth except in reference
works like Handbooks, Encyclopedias, and Companions—but secondary
scholarship often refers to such terms.
Tuesday, 15 November
no class meeting
(Tuesday meetings received an extra class meeting this
Instructor holds office hours 1-4pm, 7-10pm Tuesday 15 November.
Final research projects
due midnight Wednesday 16 November (includes Essays, Journals,
Conference presentations, or 2nd Research Posts)
Katherine Ann Porter
1890-1980 (born at
Indian Creek, Texas)
1. How has Romanticism
been absorbed or transformed as
Modernism? How does
survive by adaptation to Modernist needs?
What does Modernism add to or
subtract from Romanticism?
What styles in these stories are identifiable as Modernism? (Consider
stream-of-consciousness narration, symbolism, primitivism, sexuality.)
2. These stories
retain Realistic elements
or forms. Where do the styles of Modernism,
Local Color) meet or separate? (These
major styles also meet in Modernist fiction by
Fitzgerald and Hemingway.)
"A Rose for Emily"
Grave" refer directly to African American characters. Are these
sentimental stereotypes, or meaningfully
4. In what ways does Faulkner's writing
here and elsewhere qualify as "Southern Gothic?" What other authors
might be included in this category?
changed across a century or more? Is Romanticism
still recognizable in the
heroic sprawl of Modernism? What parallels
Is Modernism an evolution or a radical break from Romanticism
Realism? How may Romanticism
appear in current literature, either as postmodern
"literary" literature or as popular or genre literature?
Jazz Age / Harlem Renaissance
Scott Fitzgerald, "Winter Dreams" (1922)
We Must Die"
"Harlem" & "Dream
"I Too Sing
"The Negro Speaks of Rivers,"
Funeral in Harlem"
Zora Neale Hurston,
"How it Feels to be
discussion leader(s): Michael
Osborne (Fitzgerald); Stephen Defferari (Harlem Renaissance)
poetry: Tracy K. Smith,
Miss It" poetry reader / discussion
leader: Jessica Myers
web / outside
text review: Countee
"Yet Do I Marvel";
"For a Poet": instructor
Harlem Renaissance: Stephen
Tracy K. Smith poem:
[break + evaluations]
Cullen questions (exam C3, C4)
Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald, "Winter Dreams":
If Fitzgerald is a Modernist with
a Realistic surface, how do he and
this text continue to represent a
romance narrative or a Romantic perspective? How much
is Fitzgerald's persona, mystique, or perspective not Romantic
but merely American? How has
Romanticism changed in the century since
2. How does Judy
Jones resemble Daisy Miller as
"the American Girl" and
subject / object of romance?
(Or Cora in Mohicans, Poe's Ligeia, Jacobs's
slave girl, Sylvia
in "White Heron," or Miranda in "The Grave?")
If Americans can't talk about class, how does Fitzgerald bring us
near to the subject? Compare "class" as identity-determinant with race and gender?
Harlem Renaissance writers:
What is Modernist yet resiliently
Romantic about these writers and their
texts? How do they inherit, capitalize on, and transform
or subjects in ways compatible with Modernism?
5. As with the slave narratives, how does
including African American literature stress and test the limits of
Romanticism? Should minority traditions be
mainstreamed or separate but
Tracy K. Smith poem: If
Smith is a postmodern poet, how has
Romanticism changed, attenuated, or
Zora Neale Hurston
6 December 2016:
(email deadline midnight Wednesday 7 December)
Grade reports will be returned 5-10 days after final exam submissions.
Objective 1: Literary Categories of
1a. Romantic Spirit
To identify and criticize ideas or attitudes associated with
Romanticism, such as
desire and loss, rebellion,
the sublime, the individual in nature
separate from the masses.
Romance narrative: A desire
& quest for anything besides
“the here and now” or “reality," a journey to cross physical, social, or
psychological boundaries in order to attain or regain some
transcendent goal or
characterization: A Romantic hero or heroine may appear empty or innocent of anything
except readiness to change or yearning to re-invent the self or world;
golden boy and fair lady; also their counterparts, the
dark lady and the
Romanticism’s co-emergence in the
18th through the 19th centuries
with the rising middle class, urbanization,
industrial capitalism, consumer culture, & nationalism.
in “pre-Romantic” writings from
earlier periods &
elements in “post-Romantic”
writings from later periods
1c: Romantic Genres
or novel (journey from repression to transcendence)
with African American variants of slave
or style (haunted physical and mental spaces, the shadow of death or decay;
dark and light in physical and moral terms; film noir)
(a momentary but comprehensive cognition or transcendent feeling—more
prominent in European than American Romanticism?)
essay (esp. for Transcendentalists—descended from the Puritan sermon?)
Objective 2: Cultural Issues:
Romanticism, and vice versa
2a. To identify the
era in the United States of America as
Renaissance”—roughly the generation before the Civil War
after the Romantic era
2b. To acknowledge the co-emergence
and convergence of "America" and "Romanticism." European
Romanticism begins near the time of the American Revolution. Subsequently Romanticism and
the American nation develop ideas of individualism, sentimental nature,
rebellion, and equality in parallel.
2c. Racially divided but
historically related "Old and New
Canons" of Romantic literature:
Emerson’s Transcendentalism to Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age
African American: from the
Narratives of Douglass and Jacobs to the Harlem Renaissance
of Hughes, Hurston,
American Indian: conflicted Romantic icon in Cooper and Zitkala-Sa.
(Mexican American Literature is not yet incorporated into this
course—seminar will discuss.)
liberal but culturally conservative,
the USA creates "Old
and New Canons" also
masculine traditions: freedom and the frontier (with variations)
traditions: relations and
“Popular” literature as gendered divisions.
2e. American Romanticism exposes competing or complementary dimensions of American identity:
America a culture of sensory and material
gratification or moral, spiritual,
2f. If "America" and
"Romanticism" converge, to what degree does
popular American culture and ideology—from Hollywood to human rights—represent a
derivative form of classic