ENGL 450
Herman Melville and Mark Twain Fall 2009
Division I
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Despite their profound differences in literary style and personal temperament, Heman Melville and Mark Twain had much in common. Both gained national popularity through their travel writings, both were acute and critical observers of American Political life, and both were adventurous innovators in the craft of prose fiction. Melville, however, spurned his own success and alienated his readers with a series of complex, difficult, and unsettling novels. Mark Twain, on the other hand, expanded his popularity with astonishing effectiveness. This course will examine and compare the works and careers of these writers. A comparative approach to works such as Benito Cereno and Puddn’head Wilson, satirical works addressing slavery and racial attitudes, should be illuminating. On the other hand, we will also attend to the traits that make these writers such singular literary artists.
The Class: Format: discussion
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 1714
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: one short paper of 5 to 7 pages and a final paper of about 15 pages
Prerequisites: a 300-level English course, or permission of instructor
Distributions: Division I
Attributes: MAST Interdepartmental Electives

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