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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Postgraduate Course: Enlightenment to Entropy: Writing the American Republic from Thomas Jefferson to Henry Adams (ENLI11173)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course offers students the opportunity to engage with key texts - canonical and non-mainstream - that have contributed to the development, interrogation or undermining of notions of U.S. self-perception, understood both in terms of aesthetic significance and political impact. It proposes a series of cultural, political, or literary'pressure points' that result in the emergence of modes of writing that seek to express transformed or contested expressions of U.S. identity. Areas of investigation include: the civil war, Reconstruction, Vietnam and the counter-culture, and 9/11.
Course description Week 1: Manifesto I: Crafting a Beginning
- Thomas Jefferson et al Declaration of Independence (1776)
- Selections from James Madison, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers (1787)
- Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)

Week 2: Expansionism and American Culture I
- James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans (1826)
- Selections from James Fenimore Cooper, The American Democrat (1838)

Week 3: The Culture of Slavery I
- William Wells Brown, Clotel: Or, The President┬┐s Daughter (1853)
- Frederick Douglass, What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? (1852)
- Lydia Maria Child, The Quadroons┬┐ (1842)

Week 4: The Culture of Slavery II
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, New England Reformers (1844); Emancipation in the British West Indies (1844); The Fugitive Slave Law (1851)
- Henry David Thoreau, A Plea for Captain John Brown (1859)
- Selections from George Fitzhugh, Cannibals All! or Slaves Without Masters (1857)

Week 5: A Republican Poetics of Democracy?
- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1855 edition); The Eighteenth Presidency! (1856)

Week 6: Class and Conflict in Antebellum America
- Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills (1861)
- Herman Melville, The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids (1855)

Week 7: Expansionism and American Culture II
- Richard Harding Davis, Soldiers of Fortune (1897)
- Mark Twain, To the Person Sitting in Darkness (1901)

Week 8: Race and Reconstruction I
- Charles Chesnutt, The House Behind the Cedars (1900), What is a White Man? (1889); The Future American (1900)

Week 9: Capital Fictions 1: Gender and Class in Fin-de-Siecle America
- Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth (1905)
- Selections from Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899)
- Selections from Charlotte Perkins Gilman,Women and Economics: A Study of the Economic Relation Between Women and Men(1898)

Week 10: Manifesto II: The Anxiety of Modernity
- Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (1907); Letter to American Teachers of History (1910)
- Selections from Brooks Adams, The Law of Civilisation and Decay (1895)
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesNone
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Students will be able to demonstrate the capacity to read and criticise complex literary and political texts and arguments. In addition, students should also possess a broad understanding of some of the key American historical and cultural moments, and how those are refracted through literary texts. After completion of the course students should be able to read further and more widely in U.S. literary and cultural history, having gained the requisite background knowledge and critical vocabulary.
  2. Students will be able to demonstrate a broad understanding of some of the key American historical and cultural moments, and how those are refracted through literary texts. After completion of the course students should be able to read further and more widely in U.S. literary and cultural history, having gained the requisite background knowledge and critical vocabulary.
  3. Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of attributes specific to American literary culture of the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.
  4. Students will further improve their abilities in areas fundamental to the study of English literature at Postgraduate level: independent research, essay writing, critical thinking, class discussion, oral presentation of information, and the ability to learn autonomously in small groups.
  5. On completion of the course, students should be able to read further and more widely in U.S. literary and cultural history, having gained the requisite background knowledge and critical vocabulary.
Reading List
None
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements No UG version
KeywordsEtE
Contacts
Course organiserDr Keith Hughes
Tel: (0131 6)50 3048
Email: keith.hughes@ed.ac.uk
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
Email: Kara.McCormack@ed.ac.uk
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