• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject English
  • Areas of interest English
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

This course examines a selection of key texts published in the US in the nineteenth century, a key period in the nation's development as a modern republic. Students will read and study the works of those writers (Emerson and Whitman) whose embracing of democratic energies and creation of aesthetic forms seemed to capture the spirit of a new republican age. We will analyse these much-celebrated works alongside 1) the works of minority writers and 2) the proliferation of mass-marketed popular fiction during this period.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify distinctive features of and evaluate the similarities and differences between various narrative forms (literary, popular and intellectual) in the context of key changes taking place in 19th Century US society and culture.
  2. Think, write and argue about the importance of literary, intellectual and popular approaches in the context of the role of the ‘representative self’ and in relation to advancements in communications and print technologies in 19th Century US society and culture.
  3. Develop a critical stance on the role that literary, intellectual and popular narrative forms play in representing 19th Century US culture as well as imagining and shaping that culture.

Indicative Assessment

Essay of 1,500 words (30%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2]

Essay of 2,500 words (50%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3]

In-class oral presentation and 150-200 word write-up of tutorial presentation (20%) [Learning Outcomes  1, 2, 3]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


One 1.5-hour lecture and one 1-hour tutorial per week. Approximately 7.5 hour's reading/writing time per week.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 Units of English (ENGL) Courses. Alternatively you may gain permission of the Course Convener to enrol in this course.

Preliminary Reading

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature and Selected Essays (Penguin Classics); Henry David Thoreau, Nature and Civil Disobedience (Penguin Classics); Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass. Original 1855 edition. Republished as Penguin Classics, Seventh Edition.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3576
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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