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					             HL2038 Introduction to American Literature
Lecture: Thursday 3:30-5:30, HSS Auditorium                  Professor: Dr. Andrew Yerkes
Tutorial 1: Fri   1:30-2:30    HSS Sem. Rm. 3                Office: HSS-03-58
Tutorial 2: Fri   1:30-2:30    HSS Sem. Rm. 4                Consultation hours:
Tutorial 3: Fri   2:30-3:30    HSS Sem. Rm. 3                Tues, Wed., Thurs, 11-1 or by
Tutorial 4: Fri   2:30-3:30    HSS Sem. Rm. 4
Tutorial 5: Fri   3:30-4:30    HSS Sem. Rm. 3
Tutorial 6: Fri   3:30-4:30    HSS Sem. Rm. 4                Email:
                                                             Phone: 6790 6746
Tutorial Instructors: Rebecca Lim Sim Ming,
Dewan Akankasha, Muhammad Firdaus Bin Isnin

In this course we will read and interpret classic works of American literature from the Colonial
and Revolutionary eras, the American Renaissance, through 19th-century realism and
Romanticism, 20th-century modernism, postmodernism, and our contemporary, yet unnamed,
age. Reading poems, plays, short stories, novels, essays, and an autobiography, we will think
critically about the different ways that American identity has been formulated both within the
texts we examine as well as in the interpretive strategies that construct national literary history.
We will also examine the literary history of American ideology, a cluster of concepts that
comprise Americans’ self-understanding of themselves as a nation. We will read the literature in
order both to understand American ideology and to appreciate the aesthetic strangeness and
brilliance of these works.

Core texts:                                                        Course Assessment
Paul Negri, editor. Great American Short Stories                   Engagement              10%
Walt Whitman Song of Myself                                        Research Paper          40%
Mark Twain Pudd’nhead Wilson                                       Final Exam              50%
Eugene O’Neill Three Great Plays                                                          100%
Maxine Hong Kingston The Woman Warrior
Course Anthology (available for download on EdveNTUre)

Attendance: Tardiness or poor attendance will negatively affect your engagement grade.
The research paper is due as a printed-out hard copy in class on the due date. If extreme
circumstances require an extension on a deadline, you must request one from your tutorial
instructor ahead of time, but it will only be approved with a strong reason. Excessive workload
and poor planning are not acceptable excuses. It is your responsibility to plan your semester to
meet deadlines. Late work submitted without an approved extension will be penalized one half-
grade for every day late, i.e. a paper turned in one day late that received an A would be penalized
to a A-, an A- would be a B+, etc.
Plagiarism disclaimer: Plagiarism means using the words or ideas of another writer either
word-for-word or by paraphrase without acknowledging the author using scholarly citation. It is
unethical and intellectually dishonest. Plagiarizing any assignment for this class will result in a
failing grade at the very least. This course has a zero-tolerance policy regarding plagiarism.
 Week            Topics                                     Readings
1         Colonial-era          John Smith: excerpt from The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-
          Literature            England, and the Summer Isles (Course Anthology);
                                Anne Bradstreet: “Prologue”; “The Flesh and the Spirit”; “Here
                                Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House”
                                (Course Anthology)
                                No tutorials meet during the first week.
16 Aug
2         Revolutionary-era     Benjamin Franklin Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Parts 1-2
          Literature            (Course Anthology); Hector St. Jean de Crèvecoeur “What is an
23 Aug                          American?” (Course Anthology)
3         American              Great American Short Stories:
          Renaissance           Nathaniel Hawthorne “Young Goodman Brown”;
                                Edgar Allen Poe “The Tell-Tale Heart”;
30 Aug                          Herman Melville “Bartleby the Scrivener”
4         Transcendentalism 1   Ralph Waldo Emerson “Self-Reliance”; “The Poet”; “History”
                                (Course Anthology)
6 Sept
5         Transcendentalism 2   Henry David Thoreau Walden: “Economy,” “Where I Lived, and
                                What I Lived For,” “Reading” “Sounds” “Solitude” “Visitors”
13 Sept                         “Conclusion” (Course Anthology)
6         19th-Century Poetry   Walt Whitman Song of Myself
                                Emily Dickinson selected poems (Course Anthology)
20 Sept
7         19th-Century          Mark Twain Pudd’nhead Wilson
          American Novel
27 Sept

8         Women’s Writing       Great American Short Stories:
          and Patriarchy        Charlotte Perkins Gilman “The Yellow Wallpaper”;
11 Oct                          Kate Chopin “A Pair of Silk Stockings”
9         Modern Fiction        Great American Short Stories:
                                Willa Cather “Paul’s Case”; Sherwood Anderson “The Egg”;
18 Oct                          Ernest Hemingway “The Killers”
10        Modern Drama          Eugene O’Neill Three Great Plays:
                                The Emperor Jones; The Hairy Ape
25 Oct                          No tutorials this week, Hari Raya Haji
11        Harlem Renaissance    Handout of poetry and prose

27 Oct
12        Asian-American        Maxine Hong Kingston The Woman Warrior
          Ethnicity and the
1 Nov     Identity Plot
13        Post-Humanism and     Joyce Carol Oates “EDickinsonRepliLuxe” (Course Anthology)
          the Ongoing
          Relevance of
8 Nov     American Literature   Research Paper due in tutorial
                                       Final Exam TBA

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