English 633 Studies in Nineteenth-Century American Literature:
Fall 2002; T 3:30-6:20; McIver 325
Professor Karen Kilcup
Office: McIver 202; 334-4696; firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours: Th 1:45-3:30; by appointment and by chance
Description: Robert Frost once observed, “You can’t be universal without being provincial, can you? It’s like trying to embrace the wind.” Focusing on prose writing but considering a range of genres, this course investigates regional literature from the Northeast (principally New England), South, and West to consider possible answers to Frost’s question. We will look at both canonical and non-canonical texts in the light of the interpretive dialectics of regionalism vs. nationalism and regionalism vs. globalization. In particular, we will consider such questions as: What is the relationship between “local color writing” and regionalism? Who determines what category a text occupies, and on what basis? What is the relationship between regionalism, place, and the environment? How are regionalism (and nationalism) gendered (as well as classed and racialized)? How does historical moment influence a text’s resonance (for readers and critics) as regional or national? What is the place of the “outsider” in regionalist literature, either as character or writer? Does late nineteenth-century literary regionalism anticipate or interact with globalization, either then or now? Representative writers: Lydia Sigourney, Walt Whitman, Sarah Orne Jewett, Rose Terry Cooke, Robert Frost, Mary Austin, Bret Harte, Sarah Winnemucca, Joaquin Miller, Kate Chopin, Charles Chesnutt, Sarah Barnwell Elliott, Mark Twain.
Student Learning Goals:
Assessment: Students will be assessed on the basis of 1) classroom participation, including presentation of a one-page position paper on the secondary reading and group work; 2) contributions to the material culture contexts for the writing (I anticipate this work to be brief and enjoyable); and 3) a substantial written research assignment based on the interests and goals of the students and due at the end of the semester. In the first few weeks we will assess the collective as well as individual goals of class members and discuss whether the research assignment will take the shape of a group project, individual archival research, or some combination of the two.
Required Primary and Secondary Texts (the latter designated with an asterisk) available from the UNCG bookstore and/or Adams Bookstore:
Austin, Mary. Stories from the Country of Lost Borders (1903 and early twentieth century);
*Ayers, Edward, et al. All Over the Map: Rethinking American Regions (1996)
Chesnutt, Charles. Selected Writings. (late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries)
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening (1899)
Cooke, Rose Terry. How Celia Changed Her Mind (late nineteenth century)
Dillard, Annie. Three by Annie Dillard (contemporary)
*Fetterley, Judith and Marjorie Pryse. Writing Out of Place (2002; if available)
Frost, Robert. A Boy’s Will and North of Boston (1913/1914)
Harte, Bret. The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Stories (1870 and late nineteenth century)
Jewett, Sarah Orne. The Country of the Pointed Firs. (1896)
Kirkland, Caroline. A New Home, Who’ll Follow? (1839)
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
For a range of materials by and about many of our authors, see Professor Donna Campbell’s website at Gonzaga University: http://guweb2.gonzaga.edu/faculty/campbell/enl311/aufram.html
Required Secondary Texts and Presentation Texts: listed below in the Selected Bibliography. A number of these texts are available online as well as in hard copy. NB: Because of the size and complexity of the readings (and to simplify the lives of people in the Reserve Department), I have not put all of the presentation texts on reserve, only those used most frequently; please check for availability well in advance of your presentation date. If either a secondary or presentation text is unavailable, please let me know, and I will try to find a copy or suggest an alternative.
Primary: Cooke, “Freedom Wheeler's Controversy with Providence,” “Mrs. Flint's Married Experience,” “How Celia Changed Her Mind,” “Miss Lucinda,” “Dely's Cow,” “Miss Beulah's Bonnet,” “Too Late”
Secondary: All Over the Map, Introduction and Chapter 1; Ammons, Introduction to Cooke’s stories
Presentation texts: 1) Fetterley, “‘Not in the Least American’: Nineteenth-Century Literary Regionalism as Unamerican literature” in Kilcup, Nineteenth; Holly, “The Cruelty of Husbands, the Complicity of Wives, and Cooperation of Community in Rose Terry Cooke’s ‘Mrs. Flint’s Married Experience’”; Toth, “ ‘The Rarest and Most Peculiar Grape’: Versions of the New England Woman in Nineteenth-Century Local Color Literature” (in Toth); 2) selections from Donovan, New England Local Color Literature: A Woman’s Tradition; chapter on regionalism in Russ
Primary: Freeman, “Two Friends,” “A Poetess,” “The Revolt of ‘Mother,’” “Old Woman Magoun,” “The Parrot” [O]; Hopkins, “Bro’r Abr’m Jimson’s Wedding”
Secondary: All Over the Map, Chapter 2; Fetterley and Pryse, Introduction to American Women Regionalists; [Recommended: McCaskill, “‘To labor and fight on the side of God’: Spirit, Class, and Nineteenth-Century African American Women’s Literature” in Kilcup, Nineteenth]
Presentation texts: 1) selections from Reichardt, A Web of Relationships; 2) selections from Giffen and Murphy, A Noble and Dignified Stream (main essays)
Primary: Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs; “The Foreigner,” “Woodchucks,” “The Best China Saucer” [O]
Secondary: Kilcup and Edwards, Sarah Orne Jewett: Reshaping the Canon, Introduction
Presentation texts: 1) Brodhead, “The Reading of Regions: For a History of Literary Access,” “The Reading of Regions: A Study in the Social Life of Forms,” “Jewett, Regionalism, and Writing as Women’s Work,” in Cultures of Letters; 2) White, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis” and Fromm, “From Transcendence to Obsolescence” in Glotfelty, The Ecocriticism Reader
Recommended: Hopkins, Contending Forces [O]: http://digilib.nypl.org/dynaweb/digs/wwm97247/@Generic__BookView
Primary: Frost, “The Pasture,” “Mending Wall,” “The Death of the Hired Man,” “A Hundred Collars,” “Home Burial,” “The Black Cottage,” “A Servant to Servants,” “After Apple-Picking,” “The Code,” “The Housekeeper,” “The Fear,” “The Self-Seeker,” “The Wood-Pile,” “Good Hours”
Secondary: Garland, “Local Color in Art”; Kilcup, Robert Frost and Feminine Literary Tradition, Chapter 2; Frost, “What Became of New England?”
Presentation texts: 1) Dorman, “Revolt of the Provinces” in Wilson, The New Regionalism; Kilcup, chapter 3; 2) Conforti, Imagining New England, Chapters 5-6 and Epilogue
Primary: Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Secondary: Fetterley and Pryse, Writing Out of Place (if available; if not, a different text TBA)
Primary: Chesnutt, all stories from The Conjure Woman (118-88)
Secondary: Ayers, Chapter 3, All Over the Map; Ferguson, Introduction to Chesnutt’s Selected Writings; Andrews, “The Significance of Charles W. Chesnutt’s ‘Conjure Stories’”
Presentation texts: 1) Gunning, Race, Rape, and Lynching: The Red Record of American Literature, 1890-1912, Chapter 2 (“Mark Twain, Charles Chesnutt, and the Politics of Literary Anti-Racism”); Britt (in Ferguson’s edition), “Chesnutt’s Conjure Tales . . .” 2) selections from Allen, Barbara, and Thomas J. Schlereth, Sense of Place: American Regional Cultures
Primary: King, “The Balcony,” A Drama of Three,” “The Story of a Day,” “A Crippled Hope,” “The Little Convent Girl,” “The Old Lady’s Restoration” [http://docsouth.unc.edu/kingbalc/king.html]; Davis, “A Faded Leaf of History” [http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/moa/moa-cgi?notisid=ABK2934-0031-8]
Secondary: Robison, “‘Why, why do we not write our side?’ Gender and Southern Self-Representation in Grace King’s Balcony Stories” (in Inness and Royer); Pfaelzer, “Nature, Nurture, and Nationalism: “A Faded Leaf of History” (in Kilcup, Nineteenth)
Presentation texts: 1) selections from Taylor, Gender, Race, and Region in the Writings of Grace King . . .; 2) selections from Elfenbein, Women on the Color Line
Primary: Chopin, The Awakening
Secondary: Manes, “Nature and Silence,” in Glotfelty
Presentation texts: 1) Turner, “Cultivating the American Garden,” in Glotfelty; 2) Kirby, “Bioregionalism: Landscape and Culture in the South Atlantic” and Barbara J. Fields’s “Commentary” [Responding to Kirby] in Wilson
Primary: Kirkland, A New Home, Who’ll Follow?
Secondary: Limerick, “Region and Reason” in All Over the Map
Presentation texts: 1) Shortridge, “The Persistence of Regional Labels in the United States” and “Commentary” by Andrew Cayton in Wilson; Matsumoto, Valerie J. Introduction to Over the Edge: Remapping the American West; 2) selections from Cayton and Gray, The American Midwest
Week 11 (10/31): Mining the West: Insiders and Outsiders
Primary: Harte, The Luck of Roaring Camp and Other Stories; Oskison, “The Problem of Old Harjo”(O)
Secondary: Susan Lee Johnson, “Domestic’ Life in the Diggings: The Southern Mines in the California Gold Rush,” in Matsumoto
Presentation texts: 1) selections from Schlereth, Victorian America; 2) selections from Korten, When Corporations Rule the World
Week 12 (11/7): Lost and Found: Another West
Primary: Austin, Stories from the Country of Lost Borders
Secondary: Glen Love, “Revaluing Nature: Toward an Ecological Criticism,” in Glotfelty
Presentation texts: Mazel, “American Literary Environmentalism as Domestic Orientalism,” in Glotfelty; Karen Anderson in Matsumoto, “Changing Woman: Maternalist Politics and ‘Racial Rehabilitation’ in the U.S. West”
Week 13 (11/14): Breaking Boundaries: Transforming the Multicultural West
Primary: Zitkala Sa, “Impressions of an Indian Childhood,” “The School Days of an Indian Girl” (O)
Secondary: Allen, The Sacred Hoop,” in Glotfelty; Davis, “Dead West: Ecocide in Marlboro Country” in Matsumoto
Recommended: Sui Sin Far, “Mrs. Spring Fragrance,” “‘Its Wavering Image’”; Ruiz de Burton, “The Don’s View of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,” from The Squatter and the Don
Week 14 (11/21): Contemporary Voices I: Placing the Self
Primary: Dillard, An American Childhood
Week 15 (12/5): Conclusions
NB: This list represents a highly selective (and idiosyncratic) grouping of useful texts, including resources not just in literary criticism but also in sociology, geography, architecture, etc.; there are numerous others that are equally valuable. Please see me for recommendations that align with your specific interests.
Allen, Barbara, and Thomas J. Schlereth. Sense of Place: American Regional Cultures. Lexington: UP of Kentucky, c1990. E169 .S448 1990
Ammons, Elizabeth. Conflicting Stories, American Women Writers at the Turn into the Twentieth Century. New York: Oxford UP, 1992.
Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism. Rev. ed. London: Verso, 1991. JC311 .A656 1991
Ayers, Edward L. et al., All Over the Map: Rethinking American Regions. Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996. E179.5 .A43 1996
Bradshaw, Michael J. Regions and Regionalism in the United States. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1988. E179.5 .B73 1988.
Brodhead, Richard. Cultures of Letters: Scenes of Reading and Writing in Nineteenth-Century America. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1993. PS201 .B68 1993
Burke, John Gordon, ed. Regional Perspectives: An Examination of America’s Literary Heritage. Chicago: American Library Association, 1973. PS92 .B78 1973
Burns, E. Bradford. Kinship with the Land: Regionalist Thought in Iowa, 1894-1942. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 1996. F621 .B945 1996 and online
Campbell, Donna. Resisting Regionalism: Gender and Naturalism in American Fiction, 1885-1915. Athens: Ohio UP, 1998. PS368 .H35 1998
Campbell, Neil, and Alasdair Kean. American Cultural Studies: An Introduction to American Culture. New York: Routledge, 1997. E169.1 .C235 1997
Cane, Alets Feinsod, and Susan Alves. “The Only Efficient Instrument”: American Women Writers and the Periodical, 1837-1916. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 2001. PS151 .O55 2001
Cayton, Andrew R. L., and Susan E. Gray, ed. The American Midwest: Essays on Regional History. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2001. F351 .A535 2001
Conforti, Joseph. Imagining New England: Explorations of Regional Identity from the Pilgrims to the Mid-Twentieth Century. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2001. F4 .C76 2001
Coultrap-McQuin, Susan. Doing Literary Business: American Women Writers in the Nineteenth Century. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1990.
Dainotto, Roberto Maria. Place in Literature: Regions, Cultures, Communities. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2000. PR878.P525 D35 2000
Derber, Charles. Corporation Nation: How Corporations Are Taking Over Our Lives and What We Can Do About It. New York: St. Martin’s, 2000. HD2785 .D388 2000
Dilworth, Leah. Imagining Indians in the Southwest: Persistent Visions of a Primitive Past. Washington: Smithsonian Institution P, 1996. E78.S7 D525 1996
Dixon, Melvin. Ride Out the Wilderness: Geography and Identity in Afro-American Literature. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1987. PS153 .N5 D58 1987
Donovan, Josephine. New England Local Color Literature: A Woman’s Tradition. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1983. PS243 .D66 1983
Dorman, Robert L. Revolt of the Provinces: The Regionalist Movement in America, 1920-1945. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, c1993. E169.1 .D687 1993
Doss, Erika Lee. Benton, Pollock, and Politics of Modernism: From Regionalism to Abstract Impressionism. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1991. ND237.B47 D67 1991
Fetterley, “‘Not in the least American’: Nineteenth-Century Literary Regionalism as Unamerican Literature.’” In Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers: A Critical Reader. Ed. Karen L. Kilcup. Cambridge: Blackwell, 1997.
Fisher, Philip. Still the New World: American Literature in a Culture of Creative Destruction. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1999. PS25 .F55 1999
Floyd, Margaret Henderson. Architecture after Richardson: Regionalism before Modernism—Longfellow, Alden, and Harlow in Boston and Pittsburgh. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1994. ff NA737.L66 F66 1994
Foote, Stephanie. Regional Fictions: Culture and Identity in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 2001. PS217 .R44 F66 2001
Foster, Frances Smith. Written by Herself: Literary Production by African-American Women, 1746-1892. Bloomington: U of Indiana P, 1993.
Garland, Hamlin. Crumbling Idols: Twelve Essays on Art Dealing Chiefly with Literature, Painting, and the Drama.  Ed. Jane Johnson. Cambridge: Belknap-Harvard UP, 1960. PS1732 .C7 1960
George, Susanne. Kate M. Cleary: A Literary Biography with Selected Works. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1997. PS1299.C87 Z68 1997
Gerdts, William H. Art Across America: Two Centuries of Regional Painting. New York: Abbeville P, 1990. ff ND212 .G47 1990 vols 1-3.
Giffen, Sarah L., and Kevin D. Murphy, ed. A Noble and Dignified Stream: The Piscataqua Region in the Colonial Revival, 1860-1930. York, ME: Old York Historical Society, 1992. F42.P4 N63 1992
Glotfelty, Cheryll, and Harold Fromm, eds. The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1996. PN81 .E24 1996
Gray, Richard J. Southern Aberrations: Writers of the American South and the Problem of Regionalism. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2000. PS261 .G687 2000
Harris, Susan K. Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Novels: Interpretive Strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1990.
Held, David, and Anthony McGrew. The Global Transformations Reader: An Introduction to the Globalization Debate. Cambridge, UK: Polity P, 2000. JZ1318 .G56 2000
Herr, Cheryl. Critical Regionalism and Cultural Studies: From Ireland to the American Midwest. Gainesville: UP of Florida, 1996. HN79.I8 H47 1996
Hettne, Björn, et al., ed. Globalism and the New Regionalism. New York: St. Martin’s P, 1999. HF1411 .G648 1999
---, et al., ed. The New Regionalism and the Future of Security and Development. New York: St. Martin’s P, 2000. JF197 .N48 2000
Hoffman, Leonore, and Deborah Rosenfelt. Teaching Women’s Literature from a Regional Perspective. New York: MLA, 1982. PS42 .T4 1982
Holly, Carol. “The Cruelty of Husbands, the Complicity of Wives, and the Cooperation of Community in Rose Terry Cooke’s ‘Mrs. Flint’s Married Experience.’” American Literary Realism 33.1 (2000): 65-90.
Holman, David Marion. A Certain Slant of Light: Regionalism and the Form of Southern and Midwestern Fiction. Baton Roughe: Louisiana State UP, 1995. PS261 .H653 1995
Howard, June, ed. New Essays on The Country of the Pointed Firs. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992.
Inness, Sherrie A., and Diana Royer. Breaking Boundaries: New Perspectives on Women’s Regional Writing. Iowa City: U of Iowa Press, 1997. PS152 .B74 1997 and online
Jones, Anne Goodwyn and Susan V. Donaldson, eds. Haunted Bodies: Gender and Southern Texts. Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 1997.
Jordan, David. New World Regionalism: Literature in the Americas. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1994. PN605.R4 J670 1994
---, ed. Regionalism Reconsidered: New Approaches to the Field. New York: Garland, 1994. PN710 .R375 1994
Joyner, Charles W. Shared Traditions: Southern History and Folk Culture. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1999.
Katz, Bruce, ed. Reflections on Regionalism. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution P, 2000. HT392 .R38 2000
Kelbaugh, Doug. Common Place: Toward Neighborhood and Regional Design. Seattle: U of Washington P, 1997. HT169.57.U62 S45 1997
Kilcup, Karen L., ed. Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers: A Critical Reader. Cambridge: Blackwell, 1997.
---. Robert Frost and Feminine Literary Tradition. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1997.
---, ed. Soft Canons: American Women Writers and Masculine Tradition. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 1999.
Kilcup, Karen L., and Thomas S. Edwards, eds. Jewett and Her Contemporaries: Reshaping the Canon. Gainesville: UP of Florida, 1999.
Klitgaard, Kaj. Through the American Landscape. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1941. ND1351 .K55
Knight, Denise D. Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers: A Bio-Biliographical Critical Sourcebook. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1997.
Kolodny, Annette. The Lay of the Land: Metaphor as Experience and History in American Life and Letters. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1975. PS88 .K65
Korten, David. When Corporations Rule the World. West Hartford, CT: Kumarian P, 1995. HD2326 .K647 1995
Levine, Lawrence W. Highbrow/Lowbrow, The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1988.
Limerick, Patricia Nelson. The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West. New York: Norton, 1987. F591 .L56 1987
---. Something in the Soil: Legacies and Reckonings in the New West. New York: Norton, 2000. F591 .L57 2000
Marx, Leo. The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America. London: Oxford UP, 1964. E169.1 .M35
Matsumoto, Valerie J., and Blake Allmendinger, ed.. Over the Edge: Remapping the American West. Berkeley: U of California P, 1999. F591 .O89 1999 and online
McCullough, Kate. Regions of Identity: The Construction of American in Women’s Fiction, 1885-1914. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1999. PS374 .W6 M29 1999
Moore, Harry Estill. What is Regionalism? Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1937. HC107.A13 S764 no.10
Mumford, Lewis. The South in Architecture: The Dancy Lectures. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1941. NA705 .M78
Nostrand, Richard L., and Lawrence E. Estaville. Homelands: A Geography of Culture and Place Across America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2001. E161.3 .H66 2001.
Odum, Howard Washington, and Harry Estill Moore. American Regionalism: A Cultural-Historical Approach to National Integration. New York: Holt, 1938. E179.5 .O43
Olsen, Ted. Blue Ridge Folklife. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1998.
Pearce, Roy Harvey. Savagism and Civilization: A Study of the Indian and the American Mind.  Berkeley: U of California P, 1988. E98.C89 P43 1988
Reichardt, Mary R. A Web of Relationships: Women in the Short Stories of Mary Wilkins Freeman. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1992. Available online.
Roberts, Diane. The Myth of Aunt Jemima: Representations of Race and Region. New York: Routledge, 1994. PR408.R34 R6 1994
Russ, Joanna. How to Suppress Women’s Writing. Austin: U of Texas P, 1983. PN471 .R87 1983
Samuels, Shirley, ed. The Culture of Sentiment: Race, Gender, and Sentimentality in Nineteenth-Century America. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1992.
Schlereth, Thomas J. Victorian America: Transformations in Everyday Life, 1876-1915. New York: HarperCollins, 1991. E168 .S35 1991
Sherman, Sarah Way. Sarah Orne Jewett, An American Persephone. Hanover: UP of New England, 1989.
Shortridge, James R. The Middle West: Its Meaning in American Culture. Lawrence: UP of Kansas, 1989. F351 .S5 1989
Smith, Henry Nash. Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Idea. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1978. F591 .S65 1978 lost
Stubbs, Richard, and Geoffrey R. D. Underhill, ed. Political Economy and the Changing Global Order. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2000. HF1359 .P65 2000
Tompkins, Jane. Sensational Designs, The Cultural Work of American Fiction, 1790-1860. New York: Oxford, 1985.
Toth, Emily. Regionalism and the Female Imagination: A Collection of Essays. New York: Human Sciences P, 1985. PS152 .R4 1985
Turner, Frederick. Spirit of Place: The Making of an American Literary Landscape. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1989. PS141 .T8 1989
Walker, Cheryl. Indian Nation: Native American Literature and Nineteenth-Century Nationalism. Durham: Duke UP, 1997.
Warren, Joyce W., and Margaret Dickie, eds. Challenging Boundaries: Gender and Periodization. Athens: U of Georgia P, 2000.
Wilson, Charles Reagan, ed. The New Regionalism: Essays and Commentaries. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1998. E179.5 .N48 1998
Wrobel, David M., and Michael C. Steiner, ed. Many Wests: Place, Culture, and Regional Identity. Lawrence: UP of Kansas, 1997. F595.3 .M36 1997
Position Paper / Presentation
Each week, two people will be responsible for writing a brief (no more than 500 words) position paper that takes on the following tasks: 1) provides a concise (usually no more than a few sentences) synopsis of the secondary readings’ argument(s); 2) connects one of these arguments to one of the texts assigned for that day; and 3) engages analytically with the secondary reading to problematize or augment the argument proposed by the secondary reading. That is, I want you to think critically, to take issue, with what you’ve read, and to do so in a way that will foster our larger discussion. Because we have so many people in the course and each day takes on two sets of presentation readings, I would like the individuals assigned for each day to consult with each other briefly in an effort to avoid overlap in the application of the critical materials to primary texts (if that’s not possible, do not worry). That is, it will be most productive for the rest of the class if we have differing views to consider (which, given the interests of participants is likely to happen in any event).
Each class will have segments devoted to the reading of these position papers; to this end, please bring 20 copies of your paper so that people can follow as you read. I will hold you strictly to the limit, so that each paper will take about five minutes to read. Then I will invite others in the class to take a few minutes to think about and write comments on your paper. The ensuing discussion will both offer suggestions for ways to improve your articulation of those ideas and engage with the ideas you set forth in your essay.
On some weeks, presenters are asked to read a single monograph; in this case, I expect you to read the introduction, which will identify what the successive chapters discuss, and to select a chapter or two that sounds most interesting or relevant on which to focus. In other cases, I have assigned two or three articles, in which case I would like you to summarize the argument of each (normally one sentence each) and focus your argument on one.
In an effort to encourage creative thinking, I have proposed an ambitious, eclectic, and challenging group of presentation readings. While some are directly “relevant” to the primary texts for the week, others will appear to be only glancingly connected to these texts. I do not expect encyclopedic knowledge of the subject in the secondary texts, only that you make an effort to think in a capacious, critical, and synthetic manner. I hope that, if you have not done so already, you will begin to see resources “outside” of literary studies proper as important resources for innovative perspectives and readings. Beyond the goal of critical thinking, the assignment aims to help you with your writing: to make it concise, pointed, and meaningful. If you have problems or questions as you prepare the paper, please do not hesitate to ask for help, either in person, by telephone, or via email. I intend these projects to be fun as well as intellectually challenging, so I will be delighted to offer suggestions.
I have assigned dates by lottery; if you wish to change dates with a classmate, you are welcome to do so (please let me know).
Week 2: 1) Golden; 2) Porter
Week 3: 1) Percy; 2) Anderson
Week 4: 1) Farlow; 2) Hanrahan
Week 5: 1) Adams; 2) Kangarloo
Week 6: none
Week 7: 1) Bir; 2) Johnson
Week 8: 1) Howe; 2) Crews
Week 9: 1) Mathews; 2) Smoak
Week 10: 1) Gilfillian; 2) White
Week 11: 1) Gretton; 2) Perkins
Week 12: 1) Vance
English 633 Studies in Nineteenth-Century American Literature:
Fall 2002; T 3:30-6:20; McIver 325
Professor Karen Kilcup
Margaret Fuller (1810-1850)
Mackinaw (From Summer on the Lakes, Chapter VI)
Mackinaw has been fully described by able pens, and I can only add my tribute to the exceeding beauty of the spot and its position. It is charming to be on an island so small that you can sail round it in an afternoon, yet large enough to admit of long secluded walks through its gentle groves. You can go round it in your boat; or, on foot, you can tread its narrow beach, resting, at times, beneath the lofty walls of stone, richly wooded, which rise from it in various architectural forms. In this stone, caves are continually forming, from the action of the atmosphere; one of these is quite deep, and with a fragment left at its mouth, wreathed with little creeping plants, that looks, as you sit within, like a ruined pillar.
The arched rock surprised me, much as I had heard of it, from the perfection of the arch. It is perfect whether you look up through it from the lake, or down through it to the transparent waters. We both ascended and descended, no very easy matter, the steep and crumbling path, and rested at the summit, beneath the trees, and at the foot upon the cool mossy stones beside the lapsing wave. Nature has carefully decorated all this architecture with shrubs that take root within the crevices, and small creeping vines. These natural ruins may vie for beautiful effect with the remains of European grandeur, and have, beside, a charm as of a playful mood in nature.
The sugar-loaf rock is a fragment in the same kind as the pine rock we saw in Illinois. It has the same air of a helmet, as seen from an eminence at the side, which you descend by a long and steep path. The rock itself may be ascended by the bold and agile. Half way up is a niche, to which those, who are neither, can climb by a ladder. A very handsome young officer and lady who were with us did so, and then, facing round, stood there side by side, looking in the niche, if not like saints or angels wrought by pious hands in stone, as romantically, if not as holily, worthy the gazer’s eye.
The woods which adorn the central ridge of the island are very full in foliage, and, in August, showed the tender green and pliant leaf of June elsewhere. They are rich in beautiful mosses and the wild raspberry.
Celia Thaxter (1835-1894)
The Sandpiper’s Nest
It was such a pretty nest, and in such a pretty place, I must tell you about it.
One lovely afternoon in May I had been wandering up and down, though rocky gorges, by little swampy bits of ground, and on the tops of windy head-lands, looking for flowers, and had found many;—large blue violets, the like of which you never saw, white violets, too, creamy and fragrant, gentle little houstonias, gay and dancing erythroniums, and wind-flowers delicately tinted, blue, straw-color, pin, and purple. I never found such in the main-land valleys: the salt air of the sea deepens the colors of all flowers. I stopped by a swamp which the recent rains had filled and turned to a little lake. Light green iris leaves cut the water like sharp and slender swords, and, in the low sunshine that streamed across, threw long shadows over the shining surface. Some blackbirds were calling sweetly in a clump of bushes, and song-sparrows sung as if they had but one hour in which to crowd the whole rapture of the spring, As I pressed through the budding bayberry-bushes to reach some milk-white sprays of shadbush which grew by the water-side, I startled three curlew. They flew away, trailing their long legs, and whistling fine and clear. I stood still to watch them out of sight. How full the air was of pleasant sounds! The very waves made a glad noise about the rocks, and the whole sea seemed to roar afar off, as if half asleep and murmuring in a kind of gentle dream. The flock of sheep was scattered here and there, all washed as white as snow by the plenteous rains, and nibbling the new grass eagerly; and from near and far came the tender and plaintive cries of the young lambs.
Going on again, I came to the edge of a little beach, and presently I was startled by a sound of such terror and distress that it went to my heart at once. In a moment a poor little sandpiper emerged from the bushes, dragging itself along in such a way that, had you seen it, you would have concluded that every bone in its body had been broken. Such a dilapidated bird! Its wings drooped and its legs hung as if almost lifeless. It uttered continually a shrill cry of pain, and kept just out of the reach of my hand, fluttering hither and thither, as if sore wounded and weary. At first I was amazed, and cried out, “Why, friend and gossip! what is the matter?” and then stood watching it in mute dismay. Suddenly it flashed across me that this was only my sandpiper’s way of concealing from me a nest; and I remembered reading about this little trick of hers in a book of Natural History. The object was to make me follow her by pretending she could not fly, and so lead me away from her treasure. So I stood perfectly still, lest I should tread on the precious habitation, and quietly observed my deceitful little friend. Her apparently desperate and hopeless condition grew so comical when I reflected that it was only affectation, that I could not help laughing out, loud and long. “Dear gossip,” I called to her, “pray don’t give yourself so much unnecessary trouble! You might know I wouldn’t hurt you or your nest for the world, you most absurd of birds!” As if she understood me, and as if she could not brook being ridiculed, up she rose at once, strong and graceful, and flew off with a full, round, clear note, delicious to hear.
Then I cautiously looked for the nest, and found it quite close to me feet, near the stem of a stunted bayberry-bush. Mrs. Sandpiper had only drawn together a few bayberry-leaves, brown and glossy, a little pale green lichen, and a twig or two, and that was a pretty enough house for her. Four eggs, about as large as robins’, were within, all laid evenly with the small ends together, as is the tidy fashion of the Sandpiper family. No wonder I did not see them, for they were pale green like the lichen, with brown spots the color of the leaves and twigs, and them seemed a part of the ground, with its confusion of soft neutral tint. I couldn’t admire them enough, but, to relieve my little friend’s anxiety, I came very soon away; and as I came, I marvelled much that so very small a head should contain such an amount of cunning.
Mary Hallock Foote (1847-1938)
Pictures Of the Far West
I. Looking For Camp
In that portion of the arid belt which lies within the borders of Idaho between the rich mining-camps of the mountains there is a region whereon those who occupy it have never labored—the beautiful “Hill-country,” the lap of the mountain-ranges, the free pastures of the plains. Here, without help of hands, are sown and harvested the standing crops of wild grass which constitute the wealth of cattle-men in the valleys.
Of all the monotonous phases of the Western landscape these high, solitary pastures are the most poetic. Nothing human is suggested by the plains except processions of tired people passing over, tribal movements, war-parties, discoverers, and fortune seekers. Btu the sentiment of the hills is restful. Their stillness is not lifeless; it is as if these warm-bosomed slopes were listening, like a mother to her child’s breathing, for sounds from which they feed and shelter—the slow tread of grazing herds, the call of a bird, the rustle of the stiff grass on the hill-slopes, the lapsing trickled of water in the gulches hidden by willows, and traced by their winding green from far off across the dry slopes.
All the life of the hills tends downwards at night; the cattle, which always graze upwards, go down into the gulches to drink; the hunter makes his camp there when darkness overtakes him. He may travel late over the hills in the twilight, prolonged and colored by the sunset. There is seldom a cloud to vary the slow, deep gradation where the sun has gone down and the dusty valley still smolders in orange and crimson, with cold substratum of pale blue mist above the river channel. Through a break in the line of the hills, or from a steep rise, one can track the sun from setting to setting till he is gone at last, and the flaming sky colors the opposite hilltops so that they glow even after the rising moon casts shadows. At this hour the stillness is so intense that the faintest breeze can be heard, creeping along the hill slopes and stirring the dry, reed-like grasses with a sound like that of a muted string.
E. Pauline Johnson (1861-1913)
A thin wet sky, that yellows
at the rim,
And meets with sun-lost lip the marsh’s brim.
The pools low-lying, dank with moss and mould,
Glint through their mildews like large cups of gold.
Among the wild rice in the
In monotone the lizard shrills his tune.
The wild goose, homing, seeks
Where rushes grow, and oozing lichens cling.
Late cranes with heavy wing,
and lazy flight,
Sail up the silence with the nearing night.
And like a spirit, swathed in
some soft veil,
Steals twilight and its shadows o’er the swale,
Hushed lie the sedges, and the vapours creep,
Thick, grey and humid, while the marshes sleep.
Kate McPhelim Cleary (1863-1905)
A sweet, breezy May morning, so crisp and cool as to be autumnal in suggestion. A sky intensely blue, with just the fugitive sail of a cloud showing once in a while on its sapphirine expanse. A wind blows up, a wind that is warm—caressingly so. Soon it stings. The eyelids tingle. One goes indoors, contemplates the weather from a comparative point of vantage. But it is necessary to keep the windows shut, else the dust, that is like pumice stone, would choke, suffocate one. As it is it blows in through closed shutters and secured windows. It furs the carpet. It dims the velours of the best chairs. It ridges tile woodwork; of the furniture. It makes gritty to touch the cup you drink from, the paper you write on, the page of the book you read. It grimes the baby’s white gown. Everywhere it lies, on chair and bookcase, on shelf and stair, on window ledge and picture frame, thick and soft as pale brown velvet.
As the sun goes up it grows hot—hotter. The wind from Kansas blows up scorchingly
The sky has darkened. Is it going to rain—by any blessed mischance? No, the darkness is that of dust. Dust in little, long, wave-like currents on the country roads; dust rising in whirls, the spirals of which are shaped like water-spouts; dust which surges up with a sullen roar; which hangs a thick, dun pall between earth and heaven; which makes darkness at five o’clock in May; which sifts in on your pillow all night long to the tune of a vagrant and accursed wind; which dries your throat, grits between your teeth, and colors your dreams; which lies upon your garments in the morning and shows on your haggard face. You rise, bathe, dress. You are deceived by an abrupt, a sudden, a delightful lull, which lasts perhaps two or three hours. But before noon it begins all over again.