English 190

Research Seminar: Sentimentality


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2012 Carmody, Todd
MW 1:30-3 301 Wheeler

Book List

Brown, William Hill: The Power of Sympathy and The Coquette; Douglass, Frederick and Jacobs, Harriet: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Harper, Frances E. E.: Iola Leroy, or, Shadows Uplifted; Howells, William Dean: An Imperative Duty; Hurst, Fannie: Imitation of Life; Stowe, Harriet Beecher: Uncle Tom's Cabin; Wilson, Harriet: Our Nig, or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black

Description

In this seminar, we will examine the place of sentimentality in American literature of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Considering works of fiction, poetry, and performance, we will ask how and why certain kinds of feeling—and suffering in particular—have become central to the articulation of American national identity. By way of introduction, our readings will survey the migration of sentimental fiction to the United States in the 1780s, the rise of abolitionist and indigenous rights discourse in the 1830s, and the genre’s subsequent entwinement with the nascent consumer cultures and commodity forms of the early twentieth century. Our focus will then be on how sentimentality develops as an identifiable set of formal conventions, rhetorical poses, and political strategies from the mid-nineteenth century onward. We will pay particular attention to how sentimental literature, in its various guises, seeks to enable identification across boundaries of race, gender, and class. What kinds of politics do spectacles of emotion enable? What kinds of politics do they foreclose? Other topics of concern will include sympathy, mourning, nostalgia, melodrama, the cultural logic of separate spheres, religion, protest, and historical memory. 

Over the course of the semester, students will learn hands-on research methodology, complete an annotated bibliography, and write a substantial research paper. Authors to be read may include Catherine Maria Sedgwick, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, W.E.B. Du Bois, Hart Crane, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Edna Ferber, Fannie Hurst, and others. We will also be reading broadly in the fields of gender and sexuality, critical race, disability, and affect studies.

Please read the paragraph on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

spring, 2020

190/1

Research Seminar: Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics

190/2

Research Seminar: William Faulkner’s Temporalities

190/3

Research Seminar: American Romanticism

190/4

Research Seminar: Poetry and the Virtues

190/5

Research Seminar: British Fiction Since 1945

190/6

Research Seminar: Hollywood in the Thirties

190/7

Research Seminar: Jane Austen

190/8

Research Seminar: James Joyce

190/9

Research Seminar: Victorian Versification

190/10

Research Seminar: Modern California Books and Film

fall, 2019

190/1

Research Seminar: Creative Sentences

190/2

Research Seminar: Shakespeare and Company

190/3

Research Seminar: American Transcendentalism

190/4

Research Seminar: Cli Fi (Climate Change Fiction)

190/5

Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial

190/6

Research Seminar: Literature on Trial: Romanticism, Law, Justice

190/8

Research Seminar: Ideology

190/10

Research Seminar: Inventing Nature and Constructing Race

spring, 2019

190/1

Research Seminar: Flann O'Brien and Irish Literature

190/2

Research Seminar: Transsexual Literatures and Cultures

190/3

Research Seminar: James / Baldwin

190/5

Research Seminar: California Books and Movies Since World War I

190/6

Research Seminar: Carnal Knowledge in Medieval and Early Modern Literature

190/7

Research Seminar

190/8

Research Seminar: Edgar Allan Poe

190/9

Research Seminar: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln

190/10

Research Seminar: Emily Dickinson

190/11

Research Seminar: Willa Cather

190/13

Research Seminar: Sixties Cinema

fall, 2018

190/1

Research Seminar: Melville in the 50s

190/2

Research Seminar: Laughter and Vision: Explorations in the Novel of Ideas

190/3

Research Seminar: Representations of Coercion and Resistance in African American Slave, Jim Crow, and Neo-slave Narratives

190/4

Research Seminar: William Blake

190/7

Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial

190/8

Research Seminar: Repression and Resistance

190/9

Research Seminar: Mark Twain

Griffin, Ben

190/10

Research Seminar

No instructor assigned yet.

190/11

Research Seminar

No instructor assigned yet.

190/12

Research Seminar: California Books and Movies Since World War I

190/13

Research Seminar: The Jamesian Novel

190/14

Research Seminar

spring, 2018

190/1

Research Seminar: Trials of Literature: Romanticism, Justice, and the Law

190/2

Research Seminar: James Joyce

190/3

Research Seminar: Hawthorne & Melville

190/4

Research Seminar: Reading Walden Carefully

190/5

Research Seminar: Harlem Renaissance

190/6

Research Seminar: Sixty Years Since: The Historical Novel

190/7

Research Seminar: Contemporary Historical Fiction

190/8

Research Seminar: Literary Theory and Its Objects

190/9

Research Seminar: The Faerie Queene: The Ethics of Imagination

190/10

Research Seminar: Pagan Fictions in Christian Literature

190/11

Research Seminar: Andrew Marvell

190/12

Research Seminar: California Books and Movies Since World War I

190/13

Research Seminar: Alfred Hitchcock


Back to Semester List