Together with ENG 391, ENG 392 forms a chronological upper-division survey of the American novel from the 19th to the 20th century. These courses can be taken as a sequence, or they can be taken individually. No prerequisites are required, but students should be capable of advanced university-level work in literary studies. Although readings focus on a specific period, both courses challenge students to locate American fiction within broadly conceived historical, social, and political contexts. As concentrated surveys of major American fiction, both courses satisfy the university’s Group Requirement in the Arts and Letters category.
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.
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.