English 150

Senior Seminar: American Realism

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
13 Spring 2007 Hutson, Richard
Hutson, Richard
TTh 2-3:30 204 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Chesnutt: The House Behind the Cedars; Chopin: The Awakening; Crane: Maggie; Dreiser: Sister Carrie; Howells: The Rise of Silas Lapham; James: Daisy Miller, The Wings of the Dove; Wharton: The House of Mirth


"The term ""realism"" refers to a certain historical period and a certain practice (or theory) of fiction writing. A number of American writers, led by James and Howells, participated in this general movement (which included British and European writers also). What we have to consider here are some major American examples. According to a recent scholar/critic, Amy Kaplan, ""Rather than as a monolithic and fully formed theory, realism can be examined as a multifaceted and unfinished debate re-enacted in the arena of each novel and essay."" (The Social Construction of American Realism, p.15). I am interested in the way in which each writer endorses what James calls the ""realist faith."" Student obligation in this course will be to participate in class discussion and to write a longish paper (15-25 pp.) on these materials."

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