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DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH

SHEPHERD UNIVERSITY

The Department of

English & Modern Languages

Shepherd University

 


Survey of American Literature: ENGL 204 (Departmental Syllabus) 

Course purpose and objectives: Survey of American Literature, ENGL 204, is designed to familiarize students with the rich variety of literature produced in America--from the Colonial through the Modern periods.  Students will be exposed to a range of writers and traditions that constitute the diverse and multicultural American experience, through discussion and through critical thinking and writing about significant literary works. In addition to tests and quizzes, students will be required to write and revise at least two formal, critical essays or equivalent writing (1,000-word computer drafted minimum); however, instructors are encouraged to assign significant amounts of writing beyond the required minimum in order to facilitate students’ continued acquisition of critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. 

Essential skills and/or outcomes to be acquired through the course include:

1) an ability to render close textual analysis;

2) an ability to synthesize information from multiple texts;

3) an ability to render clear, cogent ideas;

4) an ability to structure well-developed essays, with thesis, textual support, and analysis;

5) an ability to correctly employ standard written English usage;

6) an understanding of and respect for ethnic/cultural diversity;

7) an aesthetic and critical judgment for literature;

8) a concept of chronology associated with literary periods;

9) an understanding of the inter-relationship of the arts, history, and philosophy through the study of literature. 

Required texts and materials: A Writer's Reference, Diana Hacker, St Martins Press; Norton Anthology of American Literature or department approved text. 

The University Writing Center:   To receive individual instruction and feedback on writing in progress, students should be encouraged to visit The Academic Support Center in Knutti 106.  Visits are by appointment or through ShepOwl at http://www.shepherd.edu/scwcweb/tutorform.htm.

Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence Project: Instructors are encouraged to utilize works by the Writer-in-Residence in their course and incorporate at least one of the residency events each fall into their curriculum, as this important program presents an extraordinary opportunity for General Studies students at Shepherd to come in contact with a regional writer of note.  For information and lesson plans, see residency webpage at http://www.shepherd.edu/ahwirweb/.  

Course content: Below is a list of authors and works which should be covered in the course. Where no specific works are listed, it is assumed that students will read representative works from the author’s canon.  The course is not limited to the authors and works listed; where appropriate, works by women and minority/ethnic writers should be included in the list of supplemental or alternative works.  Whenever possible, the instructor will teach whole works rather than excerpts; the instructor will teach one nineteenth-century or one twentieth-century American novel in its entirety. 

Native American Selections
Bradstreet: selected poems

Edwards or Taylor: selections

Franklin: selections

Poe: “Philosophy or Composition” or “Poetic Principle,” selected poems, and selected tales

Hawthorne or Melville: selected fiction

Emerson: “Self-Reliance” or “Nature”

Thoreau: Walden

Slave Narrative: Douglass, Jacobs, H. Taylor, or other

Whitman: “Song of Myself”

Dickinson: selected poems

James or Twain

Representative Writer from the Local Color Movement: Chopin, Jewett, or Freeman

Representative Writer from the Naturalistic School: Crane, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Wright, or other

American Drama: Williams, O’Neill, Miller, Wasserstein, Hansberry, or any contemporary playwright

Faulkner or O'Connor: selections

T. S. Eliot: selected poetry

Modernist Writer: Frost, Stevens, Williams, H. D., Pound, Moore, Langston Hughes, or other

Post-1945 Writer: Plath, Rich, Brooks, Bishop, Lowell, Ashberry, Barth, Pynchon, Ellison, Baldwin, Walker, Erdrich, Morrison, Oates, or other

 

Revision Approved  04-02-08

 

Prepared and maintained for the Department of English by Dr. Alan Tinkler.