Rat, rekonstrukcija, transformacija: američka književnost 1860-1914

Naziv kolegija: Rat, rekonstrukcija, transformacija: američka književnost 1860-1914 (A, 19/20)
Instructor: Dr Jelena Šesnić
Times: Mon, 8:45-9:30 (A-105), Wed, 9:30-11 (A-105)
Office: B-018
E-mail: jsesnic@ffzg.hr
Phone: 4092-060
Office hours: Mon, 12:30-13:30 p.m.; Thur, 11-12 a.m., and by appointment
ECTS credits: 6
Language of instruction: English
Semester: Spring 2020
Status: elective
Form of instruction: lecture (1 hour) + seminar (2 hours)
Enrollment requirements: Introduction into the Study of English Literature


 Course description: We shall be covering a period of American literature variously designated as the Age of Realism and Naturalism or the Gilded Age leading up to WWI. Many scholars argue that it is during this period that the United States turned into a modern nation due primarily to their unprecedented industrial and economic growth. We shall be looking at the implications of these huge transformations and their reverberations in some of the exemplary literary and non-literary texts of the period. The four sections we shall be examining in greater detail are the echoes of the Civil War; the perils and pitfalls of post-war Reconstruction effort, and the question of race; economic relations and their impact on social relations; and, finally, the emergence of new identities, both in the public and the private spheres.

Course requirements: Regular attendance; participation in class discussions; in-class and home assignments; continuous evaluation (a mid-term and a final test, mandatory for all students); seminar paper (6-7 pp, 2000-2500 words, MLA style). Grade breakdown: tests—50%; seminar paper—35 %; the rest (see above)—15 %.

Reading List (subject to change)

Section 1: The Civil War and its aftermath

  1. Herman Melville: from Battle Pieces (poetry; 1866)
  2. Walt Whitman: form Drum-Taps and Memories of President Lincoln (poetry; 1865)
  3. Rebecca Harding Davis: Waiting for the Verdict (novel; selection; 1868)

 Section 2: The question of race and Reconstruction

  1. Mark Twain: Pudd’nhead Wilson (novel; 1893)
  2. Luisa May Alcott: “My Contraband” (1869); Charles Chesnutt: “The Doll” (1912) (short stories)

 Section 3: Matters of the economy

  1. Elizabeth Stuart Phelps: The Silent Partner (novel; 1871)
  2. Upton Sinclair: The Jungle (novel; 1906)

 Section 4: Emergence of new subjects

  1. Abraham Cahan: “Yekl” (novella; 1896)
  2. T.S. Eliot: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (poetry; 1915)

Additional readings will be provided in a course pack on Omega.

Secondary readings:

Hofstadter, Richard. Social Darwinism in American Thought. 1944. Beacon P, 1992. (selection)
Sundquist, Eric. To Wake the Nations: Race in the Making of American Literature, Harvard UP, 1993. (selection)
Trachtenberg, Alan. The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society in the Gilded Age, Hill and Wang, 1982. (selection)