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. Beginning with some key essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman’s famous poem Leaves of Grass, we will read and study writing that, drawing on ideas coming out of Europe and the UK, positioned themselves as both representing and rising above, or transcending, everyday life. We will read, contextualise and analyse these works alongside 1) the works of writers (such as women and African-Americans) who, drawing on sentimental and sensational genres and tropes, aligned themselves with minor, rather than major, movements of the time and 2) the proliferation of mass-marketed popular fiction during this period.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
In-class oral presentation of 5 mins duration (10%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4]
Critical analysis of 1,000 words (10%) [LO 4]
Essay of 1,500 words (20%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2]
Essay of 2,500 words (40%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4]
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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials.
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed texts may include:
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.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature and Selected Essays (Penguin Classics)
As per prescribed texts
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- 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.