English 130C

American Literature: 1865-1900

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2019 Tamarkin, Elisa
TTh 5-6:30 206 Dwinelle


A survey of U.S. literature after the Civil War, with special attention to the rise of literary realism.  We will consider art’s response to what Mark Twain described as “The Gilded Age” of economic expansion, big business, and material displays of wealth (often in the form of art patronage).  These decades put unprecedented faith in ideals of progress and individualism, but also were marked by all the problems of Reconstruction:  arguments about the unresolved legacy of the South, about poverty, about the role of the federal government in education and social welfare, and about racial wrongs and the rise of Jim Crow laws.  Writers depicted this moment in a variety of surprising ways that also reflected on literature’s uncertain status as a medium of protest, an aesthetic experience, or an autonomous realm outside of the new social realities it made visible to readers like never before.  Authors include Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Charles Chesnutt, Stephen Crane, Kate Chopin, William Dean Howells, Henry James, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Edith Wharton.

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