ENG391 201704 Undergraduate

Term: 
Summer 2018
Course: 
ENG 391
Applies To: 
Undergraduate
Sections: 
Title: 
American Novel
Instructors: 

Kara Clevinger

Kara Clevinger profile picture
  • Title: Career Instructor
  • Phone: 541-346-1514
  • Office: 22 PLC
  • Office Hours: Spring term: TUES/THUR 1:30-3:00 & by appt.
Department Section Description: 

The novel as a newer literary genre was a powerful, even potentially dangerous force in the newly-formed American nation. One 1838 critic declared that “the object of novelists in general appears to be to seize the public mind, and hold it with a sort of enchantment.” What captivated and enchanted Americans about the novel? What about the novel form especially appealed to American women as the primary readers and producers of novels? Fifty percent of the bestselling books in the 1850s were by women authors, and by 1872 nearly three-quarters of American novels were by women. In our online course we will explore developments in the American novel over the nineteenth century, paying particular attention to the novel as a gendered literary form. How has the novel successfully represented women’s diverse experience? How has it been complicit in narrowly defining feminine identity? As we examine the possibilities and limitations of the novel to enchant readers and express American women’s lives, students will strengthen their critical reading and analytical writing skills. Students will learn the narrative elements of a novel and apply these along with knowledge of historical and cultural contexts to develop their literary interpretations. To pursue this inquiry we will read four novels: Hannah Foster’s The Coquette, Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig, Stephen Crane’s Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening.

Fulfills: 

A & L

Arts & Letters (A&L) courses create meaningful opportunities for students to engage actively in the modes of inquiry that define a discipline. Courses are broad in scope and demonstrably liberal in nature (that is, courses that promote open inquiry from a variety of perspectives). Though some courses may focus on specialized subjects or approaches, there will be a substantial course content locating that subject in the broader context of the major issues of the discipline. Qualifying courses will not focus on teaching basic skills but will require the application or engagement of those skills through analysis and interpretation.

Old Major: C-Literature 1789-Present

Literature, 1789 to the present courses focus on literary work produced over more than two centuries -- from the period of British romanticism and the early republic of the United States up to now -- in order to foster familiarity with key works in British and American literary history.  Literary history illustrates how literary works reflect, address, and resist the social and political environments in which they are produced as well as other works that have preceded them.

Old Major: E-Folklore, Ethnic & Women's Literature

Folklore/Ethnic/Women’s Literature courses focus on works  in Folklore, ethnic American writing, and writing by women.

C-Literature 1789-Present

Literature, 1789 to the present courses focus on literary work produced over more than two centuries -- from the period of British romanticism and the early republic of the United States up to now -- in order to foster familiarity with key works in British and American literary history.  Literary history illustrates how literary works reflect, address, and resist the social and political environments in which they are produced as well as other works that have preceded them.

F-Gender/Ability/Queer Studies/Sexuality

Gender, Ability, Queer Studies, and/or Sexuality courses focus on the ways that issues of sexuality, gender, queerness, and disability are represented, critiqued, and developed in media and literature.

English Minor

English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts.  The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.