ENG391 201802 Undergraduate

Term: 
Winter 2019
Course: 
ENG 391
Applies To: 
Undergraduate
Sections: 
Title: 
American Novel to 1900: Sentimental Activism
Instructors: 

Brian Gazaille

Brian Gazaille profile picture
  • Title: Career Instructor
  • Additional Title: Web Content Manager
  • Phone: 541-346-5935
  • Office: 206 PLC
  • Office Hours: Fall term: MW 12:00-1:30, and by appointment
Department Section Description: 

Writers and scholars of the American novel have for some time denigrated sentimentalism by affiliating it with a weak, weepy sense of femininity. In 1855, Nathaniel Hawthorne lamented the success of the “d—d mob of scribbling women” who produced texts like Uncle Tom’s Cabin. William D. Howells echoed this frustration in 1885 when he called sentimentalism “slop, idle slop.” Misogyny notwithstanding, sentimentalism was a social force in nineteenth-century America, and women from a variety of backgrounds found activist potential in its ability to force readers’ discomfort, sympathy, and ethical engagement. This class examines how women writers from different backgrounds adapted the same tradition to advance different, sometimes restrictive conceptions of agency and citizenship for women, people of color, and other marginalized groups. Texts for the course will include: Lydia Maria Child’s Hobomok, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig, Maria Ruiz de Burton’s The Squatter and the Don, and S. Alice Callahan’s Wynema: A Child of the Forest.

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.

Major I: 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.

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

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

Major II: 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.

Major II: 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.