English C136

Upper Division Coursework: Topics in American Studies: New York and Philadelphia

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2005 Sam Otter and David Henkin
Lectures TTh 12:30-2 in 2040 Valley LSB, plus one hour of discussion section per week 2040 Valley LSB

Other Readings and Media

Brown, C. B.: Arthur Mervyn; Cahan, A.: Rise of David Levinsky; Foster, G.: New York By Gas-Light; Franklin, B.: Autobiography; Howells, W. D.: A Hazard of New Fortunes; Melville, H.: Great Short Works; Riis, J. A.: How the Other Half Lives; Webb, F. J.: The Garies and Their Friends; Wideman, J.: The Cattle Killing; Willson, J.: The Elite of Our People; Wister, O.: Romney


This course offers an interdisciplinary examination of the literature and history of these two American cities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will read fiction, poetry, urban sketches, diaries, and autobiographies by writers such as Benjamin Franklin, Charles Brockden Brown, George Lippard, Edgar Allan Poe, Frank J. Webb, Charles Dickens, Lydia Maria Child, Fanny Fern, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, William Dean Howells, Henry James, Jacob Riis, Abraham Cahan, Hart Crane, and John Wideman. Films will include West Side Story, Twelve Monkeys, and The Gangs of New York. We will focus on issues of place, space, character, and narrative, and we will consider how historians and literary critics do what they do (and how these practices overlap and differ), as we unfold the stories of our two cities.

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