AJ15001 American Literature: 1865-1910

Faculty of Arts
Spring 2013
Extent and Intensity
0/2/0. 2 credit(s) (plus 2 credits for an exam). Recommended Type of Completion: zk (examination). Other types of completion: z (credit).
Mgr. et Mgr. Jan Beneš, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Mgr. et Mgr. Kateřina Prajznerová, M.A., Ph.D. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
Jeffrey Alan Vanderziel, B.A.
Department of English and American Studies - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Tomáš Hanzálek
Supplier department: Department of English and American Studies - Faculty of Arts
Timetable of Seminar Groups
AJ15001/A: Tue 7:30–9:05 G31, K. Prajznerová
AJ15001/B: Tue 9:10–10:45 G31, K. Prajznerová
Prerequisites (in Czech)
( AJ09999 Qualifying Examination || AJ01002 Practical English II ) && AJ04003 Intro. to Literary Studies II
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
The capacity limit for the course is 50 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 0/50, only registered: 0/50, only registered with preference (fields directly associated with the programme): 0/50
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
there are 6 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives
Covering a variety of genres, this course maps the territory of American literature 1865-1910. The course objectives include: 1. To become familiar with the diversity of American writing in the period 1865-1910. 2. To improve critical thinking and academic writing skills. 3. To gain a deeper appreciation of how literature affects us and enriches our perception of the world.
  • Week 1: Introduction to the course and the period
  • Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, “A Double Standard” (handout)
  • Paul Laurence Dunbar, “We Wear the Mask” (handout)
  • Foote, Stephanie. “The Cultural Work of American Regionalism.” A Companion to the Regional Literatures of America. Ed. Charles L. Crow. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003. 25-41. Print.
  • Week 2:
  • Kate Chopin, The Awakening
  • “The Story of an Hour”
  • “At the Cadian Ball”
  • “The Storm: A Sequel to the Cadian Ball”
  • Recommended reading:
  • Heilmann, Ann. “The Awakening and New Woman Fiction.” The Cambridge Companion to Kate Chopin. Ed. Janet Beer. Cambridge: CUP, 2008. 87-104. Print.
  • Week 3:
  • Charles W. Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition
  • Recommended reading:
  • Roe, Jae H. “Keeping an ‘Old Wound’ Alive: The Marrow of Tradition and the Legacy of Wilmington.” African American Review 33.2 (1999): 231-43.
  • Week 4:
  • Booker T. Washington, from Up from Slavery:
  • “Chapter I: A Slave Among Slaves”
  • “Chapter XIV: The Atlanta Exposition Address”
  • W. E. B. Du Bois, from The Souls of Black Folk:
  • “Of Our Spiritual Strivings”
  • “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others”
  • William Pickens, The Heir of Slaves
  • Recommended reading:
  • Bauerlein, Mark. “Washington, Du Bois, and the Black Future.” Wilson Quarterly 28.4 (2004): 74-86.
  • Week 5:
  • Henry James, Daisy Miller: A Study
  • Recommended reading:
  • Bender, Bert. “Darwin, Science, and Narrative.” A Companion to American Fiction 1865-1914. Ed. Robert Paul Lamb and G.R.Thompson. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005. 377-94. Print.
  • Week 6:
  • Zitkala-Sa, “Impressions of An Indian Childhood,” “The School Days of An Indian Girl,” “An Indian Teacher Among Indians,” and “The Great Spirit”
  • Sui Sin Far, “Mrs. Spring Fragrance”
  • “Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian”
  • Maria Ruiz de Burton, from The Squatter and the Don
  • “Chapter 5: The Don in His Broad Acres”
  • Recommended reading:
  • Dowling, Robert M. “Ethnic Realism.” A Companion to American Fiction 1865-1914. Ed. Robert Paul Lamb and G.R.Thompson. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005. 356-76. Print.
  • Week 7:
  • No class (reading week)
  • Optional creative writing assignment due
  • Week 8:
  • Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome
  • Recommended reading:
  • Waid, Candace. “Toward a Modernist Aesthetic: The Literary Legacy of Edith Wharton.” A Companion to American Fiction 1865-1914. Ed. Robert Paul Lamb and G.R.Thompson. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005. 536-56.
  • Week 9:
  • Mark Twain, The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today
  • Recommended reading:
  • Lamb, Robert Paul. “America Can Break Your Heart: On the Significance of Mark Twain.” A Companion to American Fiction 1865-1914. Ed. Robert Paul Lamb and G.R.Thompson. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005. 149-74. Print.
  • Week 10:
  • Sarah Orne Jewett, “A White Heron”
  • Willa Cather, from The Troll Garden
  • “The Sculptor's Funeral”
  • “The Garden Lodge”
  • “The Wagner Matinee”
  • Recommended reading:
  • Ryden, Kent C. “New England Literature and Regional Identity.” A Companion to the Regional Literatures of America. Ed. Charles L. Crow. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003. 195-212. Print.
  • Week 11:
  • Sign up for a brief conference next week
  • Hamlin Garland, from Main-Travelled Roads:
  • “Mrs Ripley’s Trip”
  • Sherwood Anderson, “The Other Woman”
  • William Dean Howells, “Editha”
  • Recommended reading:
  • Kennedy, Gerald J. “The Short Story and the Short-Story Sequence, 1865-1914.” A Companion to American Fiction 1865-1914. Ed. Robert Paul Lamb and G.R.Thompson. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005. 149-74. Print.
  • Week 12:
  • Paper proposal and annotated bibliography due by noon on Sunday, May 5
  • Student conferences
  • Week 13:
  • Evaluations, Conclusion
  • BAYM, Nina. The Norton anthology of American literature. 3rd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1989. xxxiv, 285. ISBN 0393957381. info
Teaching methods
This class meets once a week for ninety minutes. Is is a seminar that consists of weekly written assignments and emphasizes student-oriented activities such as small group discussions, oral presentations, peer-review workshops, and in-class response papers.
Assessment methods

For full credit:
Class participation
10% In-class response papers 30%
Oral presentation or creative writing 20%
Paper proposal and annotated bib. 10%
Research paper 30%

For partial credit:
Class participation 30%
In-class response papers 70%

Assignment Guidelines

Participation and Other Policies
You are expected to attend all class sessions, to have read the assigned primary readings for each week, and to actively participate in class discussion. If you must miss a class due to serious illness or family emergency, please e-mail us at 68450@mai.muni.cz or 179234@mail.muni.cz with an explanation in advance or soon afterwards.
Please note that in order to facilitate discussion and minimize distraction the use of laptops and other personal electronic devices is not permitted during class, with the exception of e-book readers.

In-class response papers
Purpose: To read critically, notice details, take notes (and/or keep a reading journal), make connections, return to key passages, gain a deeper appreciation of the assigned texts, gradually build up a course portfolio, clearly formulate one’s own thoughts in writing, get regular personalized feedback from the instructor, be prepared to participate in class discussion, practice writing about literature in preparation for the research paper, and for the state exam. This is an open-book test, you are encouraged to refer to the primary text(s) and draw on your notes.
Form: Answer one of the two suggested thinking questions or discuss a topic/issue of your choice. Time allowed: App. 20 minutes at the end of each session.
Content: No research, “only” your own creative / critical thoughts and discoveries and opinions based on the primary reading, close textual analysis, narrow focus (particular themes, images, narrative techniques, characters, relationships, issues, contexts, and so on). Comparisons with previous readings are welcome.
Style: Clear argumentation, logical organization (introduction, main body, conclusion), a coherent paragraph written in complete sentences, integrated citations, academic language.
Due dates: In class on Feb. 19 (mock), 26, Mar. 5, 12, 19, 26, Apr. 9, 16, 23, and 30.

Purpose: To orally yet clearly express your own observations, articulate and support an argument, use a variety of audiovisual aids, lead a discussion, respond to comments from the class.
Form: Fifteen to twenty minutes of being in charge of the class, written outline (including a title) and bibliography, additional materials pertinent to the topic (optional).
Content: Your own creative / critical thoughts and discoveries and opinions based on the primary reading and supported by / in dialogue with two or three secondary, preferably academic, sources (you may use the recommended readings).
Style: Easy to follow argumentation, logical organization (preview, introduction of the thesis and secondary sources, main points, supporting evidence, conclusion, discussion), appropriate pacing, variety of presentation strategies (textual examples and audiovisual aids), interaction with the audience (eye-contact, gestures, rhetorical questions, check-up questions, discussion questions), use of spoken discourse markers (pauses, repetitions and restatements, sign posting and transitions, short sentences, simple words, loud voice, clear articulation), you may refer to your notes occasionally but do not read. Questions for and from your colleagues are encouraged.
Due date: Sign up during the first or second class session. Then submit the presentation outline and bibliography as an echo-assignment in elf by noon on the previous Sunday.

Creative writing
Purpose: To further develop a character, scene or theme, to continue one of the assigned readings in your own words or in some other creative (rather than strictly academic) way express an idea related to the course.
Form: Four double-spaced pages of prose or a comparable amount of poetry/drama.
Content: Your own creative approach to a character, scene, or theme from one of the assigned readings.
Style: Open.
Due date: Sign up during the first five class sessions and discuss your ideas with us. Then submit the text as an echo-assignment in elf by noon on Sunday, April 7.

Paper proposal and annotated bibliography
Purpose: To organize the results of your research, to articulate your main argument regarding a topic of your choice, to receive feedback from your instructor, to get ready to write the research paper.
Content: A concise introduction to your topic, a list of your research questions, a preliminary version of your main argument, an outline of structure, a list of the primary as well as (about four substantial) secondary sources you have consulted so far and plan to integrate into your paper, a five-sentence summary of each source highlighting why it is useful to you. If you would like to write on an author who belongs to this period but is not included in this class, you need to obtain permission from us first.
Form: Title, a full paragraph or a detailed outline (about 300 words), an annotated list of sources, MLA format, double-spaced.
Style: Academic language, complete bibliographic information.
Due date: Submit as an echo-assignment in elf by noon on Sunday, May 5.

Research paper
Purpose: To examine some aspect of American literature that interests you, to develop your ideas with the help of a variety of sources, to formulate an argument and support it by convincing evidence.
Content: Preferably, your paper will focus on one (or two or three) of the works we have studied. You may also discuss an author whose work we have not looked at but who is in some way connected to the issues we have covered (if we have approved your topic). You may analyze various literary features (the use of imagery, sources, style) through one critical approach or another, but we especially welcome interdisciplinary perspectives that in some way connect literature with history, geography etc. You are encouraged to draw on the themes that emerged (and re-emerged) in class discussions, in your response papers, and / or your presentation.
Form: Five to six pages (about 2000 words), MLA format, endnotes or footnotes only for informative / explanatory notes. Style: Strong argument, clear organization, coherent paragraphs, integrated citations and references, academic language.
Due date: Submit as an echo-assignment in elf by noon on Sunday May 26 by noon (1st re-sit June 9, 2nd re-sit June 23).
Language of instruction
Further Comments
Study Materials
The course is taught annually.
The course is also listed under the following terms Autumn 2000, Spring 2002, Spring 2003, Spring 2004, Spring 2005, Spring 2006, Spring 2007, Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Autumn 2010, Spring 2011, Autumn 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021.
  • Enrolment Statistics (Spring 2013, recent)
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