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“Trouble” and “spirit” are both words with various and contrasting meanings and surprising overlaps. To be troubled is one thing, to be in trouble can mean several quite different things. Spirit began as breath, yet it transcended breathing. Hoping to soothe and grasp the troubled spirits of their own moment, writers and shamans often seek to conjure up spirits from the past. Some wish to exorcise those spirits, others to be haunted by them.
This course will examine the manifestations of troubled spirits in works by American writers, especially African and Native Americans and white Southerners. The authors will include Edgar Allan Poe, William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Leslie Marmon Silko, N. Scott Momaday, H. P. Lovecraft, Joy Harjo, Alice Walker, Toni Cade Bambara, and Randall Keenan.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
two or three short papers and a longer final paper of about fifteen pages
a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam