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Department of English and Media Studies

Christ University, Bangalore
III Semester JPE, CEP, PSE (JUNE –SEPTEMBER 2010)
Course Plan

Total No of Hours (approx) : 60
Credits: 4
Course: EST 331 American Literatures
Teachers: Shobana Mathew, Arya Aiyappan, Anil Pinto and Bhavani.S

General Description: The design/structure of the course supports an extensive study of
particular age/period in favour of a more conventional ‘representative writers’. The critical
focus is on the period and not on representative-ness (of writers) and readable/teachable-ness
(of texts).

The course identifies ‘varieties’ as a crucial determinant of the nature and scope of the
literature in this selection, thus dismantling/dissolving conventional boundaries between the
classic and the popular. It incorporates a wide variety of literary and non-literary texts as
simultaneously framing the cultural assumptions of the age/period.

Objectives
• To introduce the students to the socio-political, religious and cultural aspects of North
America through literary texts
• To enable the students realise the texts as products of historical, political and
cultural contexts

Level of Knowledge: Basic literary competence

Expected Learning Outcome: Awareness of how the production, dissemination and
reception of literary material in North America across different eras happened and the
contemporary debates, tensions and trends they stimulated.

Sl . Topics Time
No
1. Unit I June
Colonial Period: to 1700
The origin of stories (Seneca)
Context: Native American Oral Literatures – Oral Narrative, Oral Poetry
Christopher Columbus
From Journal of the First Voyage to America
Context: Cultures in Contact: Voices from the Imperial Frontier

Eighteenth Century
Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
From The Crisis
Context: Enlightenment Voices, Revolutionary Visions
Phillis Wheatly (1753-1784)
On being brought from Africa to America
On Imagination
Context: Contested Boundaries, National Visions: Writings on “Race”,
“Identity”, and “Nation”
2. Unit II July
Early Nineteenth Century: 1800-1865
Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849)
The Purloined Letter
Context: Myths, Tales, and Legends
Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)
What to the slave is Fourth of July?
Context: Explorations of an “American” Self
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
Address at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery
Context: The Literature of Slavery and Abolition
Harriet E. Wilson (1808-1870)
From Our Nig; or sketches from the life of a free black
Context: The Flowering of Narrative
Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
From Leaves of Grass – preface, song of myself
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
I felt a funeral in my brain
Context: The Emergence of American Poetic Voices
The Literature of an Expanding Nation: 1865-1912
Mark Twain (1835-1910)
From Old Times on the Mississippi
Henry James
From The preface to The American
Kate Chopin (1851-1904)
Desiree’s Baby

3. Unit III August
The Literature of Modernism: 1912-1940
Prose
William Faulkner
That Evening Sun
Ernest Hemingway
Big Two-hearted River
Zola Neal Hurston
The Gilded Six- bits

Poetry
Robert Frost
Nothing gold can stay
Carl Sandburg
Portrait of a Motorcar
Wallace Stevens
Not ideas about the thing but the thing in itself
William Carlos Williams
The young housewife
The Literature of Postwar America: 1940-1973 September
Poetry
Richard Wilbur
The Writer
Allen Ginsberg
From Howl
Frank O’ Hara
Why I am not a painter

Prose
Saul Bellow
Looking for Mr.Green
Norman Mailer
From Toward a Theatre of Ideas

Contemporary Writing
Tennesse Williams – A Streetcar Named Desire
Rachel Carson - Silent Springs (excerpts)
William Gibson – Neuromancer (excerpts)
Jonathan Schell - The Fate of the Earth (excerpts)

Teaching Methods
The classes will have lectures and student presentations. The lectures may draw upon visual
material. Lectures will locate the texts in their respective historical times while critically
reflecting on them.

CIA I
Portion for the Mid-semester exam: Unit I and II.
Question paper pattern: Section A: 4x5 marks=20 marks ( About 150 words)
Section B: 3x10 marks=30 marks ( About 350 words)
CIA II
Will be announced by the last week of June. It will have to be submitted by 15 July.

CIA III
Will be announced by the third week of August. It will have to be submitted by 5 September.

End- semester
Portion for the exam: Unit I, II, III and IV
Question paper pattern: Section A: 4x15 marks=60 marks ( About 300words)
Section B: 2x20 marks=40 marks ( About 500 words)

Guidelines for Submission in case of written assignments:
• The written assignment should be based on your individual research where applicable.
The typed assignment should adhere to the following specifications: A4 size paper, 12
font size, 11/2 line space, font: Times New Roman, Book Antiqua, or Garamond, printed
on both the sides of the paper.
• Assignment details - your name, reg. no, class, semester, assignment code, name of
the College, name of the teacher in-charge and date of submission- should be mentioned
on the top right-hand side of the first page. Do not use a cover page.
• You are free to take the assignment beyond the expected criteria. Such efforts will be
appreciated
• No late submission is entertained
• Plagiarism will not be tolerated and may result in rejection of the assignment
• Remember to give reference at the end of your assignment of the books, articles,
websites, and films that you have referred to. The following pattern may be followed:
Author’s name with the last name first, a period, name of the book italicised, a period,
Place of Publication, colon, name of publication, year of publication, page no, Print/ web
o E.g.: Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand, My Experiments with Truth, New
Delhi: Penguin, 1998. Print.
o In case of a website give the complete URL of the site referred to, date of
access, along with the above details
o If you are directly lifting some lines quote them. If you are using some idea
write it in your words but acknowledge it
For further information on bibliography writing please refer to MLA Handbook – Seventh
Edition.

Note:
 Attendance is compulsory for all the sessions.
 Please be punctual. If you are late, you will not be allowed to attend the class.
However, should there be any serious issue, do discuss with me or bring it to notice
through the counsellors.
 You are expected to come to class having read the required texts. Failing to which you
may not be allowed to attend the classes.
 Please feel free to clarify your doubts.
 If you are absent for any of the classes please get the help of your classmates to get
updated, before you approach me for help.
 If you wish to make classroom presentation on any topic or idea within the framework
of the syllabus, you will be given encouragement and guidance.

Section allotment:
CEP :
Anil Pinto: Colonial period, Early Nineteenth Century, the literature of Modernism (prose),
the literature of post-war America (poetry + William Gibson and Jonathan Schell).
Arya Aiyappan: Eigteenth Century, Literature of an expanding Nation, Literature of
Modernism (poetry), Literature of post-war America (prose+ Tennesse Williams and Rachel
Carson).

JPE:
Arya Aiyappan: Colonial period, Early Nineteenth Century, the literature of Modernism
(prose), the literature of post-war America (poetry + Tennesse Williams and Rachel Carson).
Anil Pinto: Eigteenth Century, Literature of an expanding Nation, Literature of Modernism
(poetry), Literature of post-war America (prose+ William Gibson and Jonathan Schell).

PSE:
Shobana Mathews: Colonial period, Early Nineteenth Century, the literature of Modernism
(prose), the literature of post-war America (prose+ William Gibson and Jonathan Schell).

Bhavani.S: Eigteenth Century, Literature of an expanding Nation, Literature of Modernism
(poetry), Literature of post-war America (poetry+ Tennesse Williams and Rachel Carson).

Related Interests