English C136

Topics in American Studies: Boys and Girls in the Era of Mark Twain and Henry James

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2014 Hutson, Richard
MWF 12-1 166 Barrows

Book List

Alcott, Louisa May: Little Women; Aldrich, Thomas Bailey: The Story of a Bad Boy; Alger, Horatio: Ragged Dick; James, Henry: The Turn of the Screw and Other Short Novels; James, Henry: What Maisie Knew; Twain, Mark: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Twain, Mark: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; Wiggin, Kate Douglas: Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm


Historians often define the era after the Civil War and especially from 1880 to ca. 1915 as the “era of the child.”  Children became the heroes of popular  culture as well as major subjects for painters and intellectuals and cultural observers. This is a period in which ordinary citizens felt that an economic and social revolution was taking place with the rise of industrial capitalism and urban transformations, creating a crisis of major cultural/political/economic rapid change.  Such a historical trauma seemed to demand difficult and painful reconsiderations and redefinitions. Just as there developed an issue of defining masculinity and femininity in the period, there  developed a problem about children and adolescents. Questions about boys and girls might be not only about gender definitions but also about the development of an ethical consciousness, what might be called everyday ethical coping.  Children seemed to represent either a last vestige of a world that was being lost or a promise of the future.  In the aftermath of the elevation of the importance of children in the Romantic era earlier in the century, in the U.S., the narratives of boys and girls gave artists the opportunity to observe, scrutinize, critique, and entertain.

There will be two papers and a final exam.  

This course is cross-listed with American Studies C111E.

Discussion Sections

101 No instructor assigned yet.
M 4-5:30 187 Dwinelle
102 No instructor assigned yet.
M 4-5:30 228 Dwinelle
103 No instructor assigned yet.
Tues. 2-3:30 247 Dwinelle
104 No instructor assigned yet.
Tues. 3:30-5 105 Dwinelle
105 No instructor assigned yet.
W 4-5:30 2030 Valley LSB
106 No instructor assigned yet.
W 4-5:30 2011 Valley LSB

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