ENGL432 - American Literature: 1865 to 1914, Realism and Naturalism

The course will attempt to get far beyond a dull textbook definition of that thing called “realism.”  For the most part, we will consider what is “left” of interest and importance once the heavens empty, God and the gods are dead, heroism shrivels, transcendental vibrations vanish, and, for the most part, the brave new planet seems on the brink of becoming a hard material rock. Some, like Walt Whitman, find an alternative in a semi-divine self, some, like Henry James, find a new infinity in the subtleties of the human mind.  Some try out “art” as a new sort of secularr religion.  Our syllabus will include James, Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Henry Adams, Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton, Stephen Crane, Theodore Dreiser, W, E, B, Du Bois, James Weldon Johnson, and Gertrude Stein.   Two papers, midterm, final.  Students –and this is a serious recommendation—who do not plan to attend religiously should not take this course.


Two English courses in literature; or permission of ARHU-English department.