University of Toronto

Department of English

ENG359Y: American Literature 1880-1960

Instructor: Melba Cuddy-Keane

Office: Rm. 2103, 7 King's College Circle

Course Time: Tuesday 11-12; Thursday 11-1

Telephone: 416-978-3191


Location: UC87 (basement level)


Link to Exam Information (Note: The rest of the essays are ready to be picked up in Rm. 2101.)

Course Description (2002-2003)
The period following the Civil War was a crucial time for negotiating questions of American identity, as the country experienced a rapid transition from a rural and agricultural to an urban, industrial economy and began to be transformed by the emergent voices of previously marginalized people. We will focus on literary representations of what it has meant to be "American" and on distinctive developments in American style. Topics might include: treatment of the land, space, and place; nostalgia and the pastoral imagination; immigration and migration; diversity and national identity; capitalism and ethics; the impact of war; rebels, outsiders, and eccentrics; the vernacular and the mystical as American literary modes

Reading (First Term)

Books will be available at the Bob Miller Bookroom (180 Bloor Street West, between Bedford and Avenue Rd.). Please use the editions specified. A Course Reader will be available in September from the Canadian Scholars' Press (in the same building as the Bob Miller Bookroom; take the elevator to the 12th floor, Suite 1202). Normal hours of operation are 9:00am-5:00pm Monday to Friday. They also take orders over the web at with credit card payment. They will confirm by email that a copy is being held for you.

First Term:
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Oxford World Classics
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. Dover
Wharton, Edith. The Custom of the Country. Penguin.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Oxford World Classics
Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. Scribners
Selections from Zitkala-Sa, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Willa Cather. Course Reader, The Canadian Scholar's Press.

Second Term:
Cather, Willa. My Antonia. Houghton Mifflin.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. Harper Perennial Classics
Hurston, Zora Neale. "How it Feels to be Colored Me" Course Reader
Faulkner, William. Go Down, Moses. Vintage
Bellow, Saul. Herzog. Penguin (to be confirmed)
Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar. Faber
Miller, Arthur. After the Fall. Penguin (to be confirmed)
Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun. Course Reader

Method of Evaluation: a major essay each term, first term in-class test; final 2-hr exam; participation and short assignments

Resources for Assignment #1:

Early Reception History: Mark Twain

Early Reception History: Kate Chopin

On-Line Resources:

Writing Resources (guides, tips, advise on academic writing)

Guide to MLA Style (information on how to document Internet sources)

General Reference:

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition

Primary Documents:

The Declaration of Independence

The Motto of the United States (The E Pluribus Unum Project, Assumption College)

The Gettysburg Address

The Emancipation Proclamation

The Constitution of the United States

"Go Down, Moses"

Individual Authors:

Mark Twain:

Virginia H. Cope's Huckleberry Finn Site, The University of Virginia Library
Mark Twain in His Times; Stephen Railton's site at the University of Virginia
Illustrating Huck Homepage (part of the above site)

Henry James:

The Henry James scholar's Guide to Web Sites

Willa Cather, Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sarah Orne Jewett:

Domestic Goddesses: an E-Journal devoted to Women Writers

Charlotte Perkins Gilman:

Charlotte Perkins Gilman Newsletter

Mourning Dove:

Mourning Dove Biography; Bibliography. from Voices from the Gaps
Mourning Dove : Coyote Stories Brief biography and etexts of several stories. from Thomas Shoemaker


American Indian Stories

William Faulkner:

Faulkner on the Web, John B. Padgett, University of Mississippi

James Baldwin:

James Baldwin's Collected Essays (Chapter 1) Library of America


Modern American Poetry (Oxford University Press, ed. Cary Nelson)
The Beat Generation Archives
The Beat Generation