ENGL 338
Literature of the American Renaissance Spring 2020
Division I
Cross-listed COMP 337 / ENGL 338 / AMST 338

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The 1840s and ’50s have often been described as “the American Renaissance” because of the breathtaking explosion of literary achievements in that period, which included Walden; Moby-Dick; The Scarlet Letter; The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; and Uncle Tom’s Cabin, to say nothing of the short stories of Poe and the groundbreaking poetry of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. For the first time, American writers were broadly the equal or more of their European counterparts. We will explore the distinctive character of this achievement, paying close attention to the widespread belief in the transformational power of language, and the opportunities it offered to refigure both personal and political identity in a time when the American experiment often seemed on the brink of collapse.
The Class: Type: seminar and lecture discussion
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 3755
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: in addition to active class participation, students will be required to submit two comparative essays (of 8 and 12 pages), and to complete a 24-hour take home final
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on he Higher Level IB English exam
Enrollment Preferences: English majors; American Studies majors; Comparative Literature majors
Materials/Lab Fee: course books
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 337 Division I ENGL 338 Division I AMST 338 Division II
Attributes: AMST Arts in Context Electives
ENGL 1700-1900 Courses
ENGL Literary Histories B

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