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Title: ENGL 360, American Romanticism, Fall 2014
Authors: Richards, Jason
Keywords: English, Department of;Syllabus;Curriculum;2014 Fall;Student research
Issue Date: 27-Aug-2014
Publisher: Memphis, Tenn. : Rhodes College
Series/Report no.: Syllabi CRN 15281;
Abstract: American Romanticism describes a period of literary and artistic expression spanning the decades leading up to the Civil War, a time defined by robust national expansion, intensifying sectional conflict, and howling cultural contradictions. Although newly liberated and founded on principles of democratic freedom, America prospered off the institution of slavery as well as the displacement and extermination of Indians. Although the nation grew more and more heterogeneous by the day, whites drew racial lines to protect their sense of homogeneity while enacting an aggressive Anglo-Saxon nationalism. Writing to Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1851, Herman Melville seemed to crystallize such contradictions through what he called “ruthless democracy.” That paradox will inform our course as we explore what is arguably the most remarkable period in American literary history, known for such authors as Emerson, Poe, Douglass, Hawthorne, Melville, Stowe, Rollin Ridge, and others. Some specific questions we’ll consider over the semester are: What do the confidence of Transcendentalism and skepticism of the Gothic, rival literary modes that form the genetic basis of American Romanticism, say about the nation’s schizophrenic identity? How does the South, the nation’s internal other and embodiment of everything America defined itself against, serve to construct and deconstruct the nation’s dearest myths? Did America really develop a distinctive national literature at this time, or was it a more complex tapestry of transatlantic intertextuality? And how do literary representations of racial performance reflect how America was, in a real sense, acted into being?
Description: This syllabus was submitted to the Office of Academic by the course instructor. Uploaded by Lorie Yearwood.
Appears in Collections:Course Syllabi

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