English R1B

Reading and Composition: Raising the Dead: Time, Memory, & History in Nineteenth-Century America

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2017 Bondy, Katherine Isabel
MWF 12-1 225 Dwinelle

Book List

Morrison, Toni: Beloved ; Stowe, Harriet Beecher: Uncle Tom's Cabin: or, Life Among the Lowly

Other Readings and Media

All other readings will be provided iin a course reader or made available on bCourses. 


This course will explore the ghosts, corpses, graveyards, and living dead of nineteenth-century American literature. Through an array of fiction, poetry, cultural history, and criticism (as well as potential field trips to local cemeteries), we will delve deeply and morbidly into the central role “death” played in nineteenth-century American society. Most importantly, we will examine its literary function in the midst of immense political and economic upheaval, technological innovation, and artistic and philosophic renaissance. By reading across representations of death and dying that range from intensely sentimental to disgustingly grotesque, we will continuously return to the following questions: how did American society conceive of, and represent, its past in relation to its present and future moments? How do we make historical or theoretical sense of the intimate relations these authors draw between the living and the dead? What is the role of death, and by extension, time and memory, in literature?

English R1B builds on the critical reading and writing skills developed in English R1A, working toward the production of an original research paper. In preparation, we will examine our texts in their historical and critical contexts, exploring the potential benefits and limitations of the multiple approaches to research. 

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