Special Studies in Literature
Term: Spring 2023 - Full Term (01/24/2023 - 05/08/2023)
Grade Mode: Letter Grading
Times & Locations
|Start Date||End Date||Days||Time||Location|
|1/24/2023||5/8/2023||MW||10:10am - 11:30am||HS G35|
SP23 Special Topic: Urban Writing and American Cities
Big cities were new in the 19th-century U.S.—and triggered new forms of consciousness and representation. This course traces the growth of urban literature from the period before the Civil War into the 20th century. We’ll “visit” Boston, New York (a lot), and Chicago—and we’ll consider the city as a space of capital, consumption, and labor. We’ll read mostly novels, which became THE method for plumbing the depths of modern, urban experience and consciousness—by such writers as the Jewish-American immigrant Abraham Cahan and the Harlem Renaissance observer Nella Larsen. But we’ll also look at Edgar Allan Poe’s tales, Fanny Fern’s urban journalism, and Jacob Riis’s documentary photos; and we’ll end with a silent film: The Crowd. Other writers may include Horatio Alger, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Rebecca Harding Davis, Theodore Dreiser, and James Weldon Johnson. We’ll consider theories of urban space, consciousness, and expression that will open up all that we read and view. Assignments will include: summaries of theoretical and critical readings, short response papers on specific texts, an annotated bibliography, oral reports, a 5-page paper, and a 12-15 page research paper.