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.


Rust, Stephen

On soggy spring days, book lovers in the Pacific Northwest feel most at home curled up with a blanket and cup of coffee while reading our favorite novels and... (read more)


Quigley, Mark

“Things Fall Apart”: Revolution, Reaction and Renewal in Early Twentieth Century Culture (1895-1945)

... (read more)

Cortez, José

This course will examine the cultural and literary discourses emerging from the locus of the U.S./Mexico border, a space of postnational political conflict... (read more)


Sayre, Gordon

In this course we study car collecting and customizing as vernacular art traditions, and survey of some of the astonishing... (read more)


Writers and scholars of the American novel have for some time denigrated sentimentalism by affiliating it with a weak, weepy sense of... (read more)


Whalan, Mark

This course examines U.S. culture of the "jazz age" (1910-1935), a period of dramatic social change and lively experimentation in multiple forms of culture. We... (read more)


Wonham, Henry

Students in this class will read and discuss the major works of Samuel L. Clemens, aka Mark Twain. Readings will include Roughing It, The Adventures of Tom... (read more)


What is “Black marxism”: How does such a perspective define “marxism,” and what makes Black radicalism different? How does the latter define, and how is... (read more)


Li, David

Reading important writers of Asian American descent, this class is concerned with the following: 1. Where is Asian America? 2. What is an Asian American? Is it... (read more)


This course will explore multicultural youth literature, covering literature for ages 0 to young adult. Students will engage with literature that represents a... (read more)


Whalan, Mark

This course will examine a variety of texts that engage the modern state–its functions and possibilities; its ability to repress and coerce; its ability to forge new and enduring kinds of social connection; and what place, if any, it allows for literary culture.

It will examine some of the... (read more)


Kaufman, Heidi

Novels written by the Brontë sisters—Jane Eyre and Villette by Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855), Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1818-1848), and Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë (1820-1849)—have remained a significant part of... (read more)


Barter, Faith

In the decades leading up to the Civil War, it was illegal for slaves to learn how to read or write. It was illegal for them to testify in court, except against each other or to confess a crime. In the North, free African Americans often did not fare much better: there they were susceptible to... (read more)


Rossi, William

According to Wendell Berry, “You don’t know who you are until you know where you are.” Yet, for other people in our history and in our own day, the lived experience of place that Berry rightly values varies according to who other people think you are and where they think you should... (read more)


Liminal Form(s): Ethnic American Short Fiction

This course will examine Ethnic American short fiction, paying particular attention to the ways its structure and content uphold and contest literary, corporeal, and national form(s).... (read more)


Clevinger, Kara

Who is the American “I”? Rugged individualism has long been central to American identity and culture, but what perspectives and possibilities are excluded from the “I” crafted by male writers like Benjamin Franklin, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, and Ernest Hemingway? In our course we... (read more)


ENG 392 is the second of two-part, upper division chronological survey of the American novel from its beginnings in the 19th century to the present. ENG 392 covers the period from the early 20th century to the present. No prerequisites are required, but students should be capable of advanced... (read more)


Clevinger, Kara

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... (read more)


This class explores how black women writers of the twentieth century have taken up the themes of time, memory, and identity. These writers often conceived of literature as a project of memory and recovery, a place, as Ntzoake Shange puts it in Sassafrass, Cypress, & Indigo, for... (read more)


Upton, Corbett

ENG 395 provides selective survey of contemporary literature between 1945 and the present. The course incorporates works of prose, poetry, and drama, and attends closely to philosophical, political, and cultural events that run parallel to developments in twentieth-century literary history. No... (read more)


O'Kelly, Brendan

This class will focus on crime noir, a somewhat loosely defined genre of fiction, comic, and film. Unlike detective fiction, hardboiled crime noir centers on criminal protagonists, often of the "career" variety. Tracing the trajectory of such a genre from its inception in 1920s hardboiled pulp... (read more)


Upton, Corbett

Credited with inaugurating the Harlem Renaissance and inspiring the Negrítude movement, Claude McKay is best known as America’s most important protest sonneteer. McKay’s storied literary career documents the life of a black expatriate modern and his sense of the Black Atlantic experience during... (read more)


This course will explore multicultural youth literature, covering literature for ages 0 to young adult. Students will engage with literature that represents a diversity of cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds, primarily in the American context. We will read books such as Brown Girl... (read more)


This course will examine Native women’s fiction, paying particular attention to the ways its form and content uphold and contest terms like “feminism,” “fiction,” and “native.” The central concern of this course is Native women’s textual representations of their bodies and voices, both physical... (read more)


Whalan, Mark

African American Authors of the Harlem Renaissance

This course will examine the work of three major African American authors: Claude McKay, Zora Neale Hurston, and Langston Hughes. These three did much to set the tone of the flourishing of black literary culture after World World One known... (read more)


Li, David

This class is a selective and sweeping reading of four novels that span from the 1920s to 2000. It covers the geographic regions of American northeast and the Deep South by authors of black, white, and Jewish descent. Nearly all of the texts on the reading list are classic and canonical 20th... (read more)


LeMenager, Stephanie

This course begins with the question of what is the American novel? It is a question asked and answered by some of the most ingenious and challenging thinkers of the 20th century, who, as it turns out, were novelists. But for these thinkers who thought in the form of novels, the 20th century was... (read more)


Thorsson, Courtney

In this course, we will study selected writings of Toni Morrison in their historical, political, and literary contexts. In addition to Morrison’s work as a novelist, we will consider her work as a literary scholar, editor, and advocate for and representative of contemporary African American... (read more)


Saunders, Ben

In this class we will map the path of the American comic book superhero and explore the ways in which that journey reflects larger processes of social change. We will consider these superheroes not only as expressions of an ancient mythic heroic tradition, but also as distinctly “modern”... (read more)


Brundan, Katherine

The Language of Novels

This course will focus on the politics of language in nineteenth-century novels, exploring elements such as translation, “primitive” language, philology, the spoken/unspoken, and different registers of dialogue. We will encounter novels that imagine various... (read more)


Pyle, Forest

This course will be a sustained examination of the question: “What is Romanticism? This is a question which has no single or ultimate answer given that there seem to be as many answers as there are “askers.” There is, however, a rich and complex body of literature and critical commentary to... (read more)


Wood, Mary

In this online course, we will read four novels that span the time period from the early twentieth century to the present day, interpreting each novel in relation to its historical and cultural contexts. While the selected novels cannot fully represent the vast range of ethnically and culturally... (read more)


Brown, Kirby

Cherokee/Choctaw scholar Louis Owens declared that all Native novels are centrally occupied with recovering and (re)articulating an Indigenous sense of identity from within the discursive and linguistic contexts of colonialism. For Owens, this inherently dialogic process draws heavily on... (read more)


Wonham, Henry

Students in ENG 407, “Poetry and Pragmatism,” the St. Louis Seminar in Poetry, will read, discuss, and write about major American poetry of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries using the philosophical lens of pragmatism to guide their inquiry.  The course will prioritize poetry by Emily Dickinson... (read more)


This course will explore multicultural youth literature, covering literature for ages 0 to young adult. Students will engage with literature that represents a diversity of cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds, primarily in the American context. We will read books such as Brown Girl... (read more)


Wald, Sarah D

Latinx Literary Environmentalisms

Latinx literature and culture sit at the cutting edge of contemporary environmental thought. This class examines the intertwining of social and environmental justice in contemporary Latinx literature and cultural production, including fiction, film, and... (read more)


Secret Agency: Navigating Race and Identity in Passing Fictions

While nineteenth-century America touted itself as a place where people could reinvent themselves as self-made, prosperous, fully enfranchised citizens, it was also the period when categories like race, gender, and class became... (read more)


Bryant-Berg, Kristy

This course develops appreciation and understanding of 20th Century American novels by examining provocative samples exemplifying notable trends. We will explore both modernist roots reshaping the American novel and contemporary highlights challenging the novel’s form and complicating American... (read more)


Li, David

This is a single author study course on Jonathan Franzen, arguably the most important contemporary American novelist, one of the few who has made the cover of Time Magazine. Franzen shall visit our class in person towards the end of the term, and give a public reading as the Collins... (read more)


Whalan, Mark

This course provides a survey of American literature since 1900 with a focus on American literature in the world. We consider what happens when American writers (and characters) travel, how American writers use cultural and linguistic resources from around the world, as well as what America and... (read more)