American Literature

Lecture Course Guidelines

course texts - evaluation of students - assignments - attendance - plagiarism - weather - assessment - questions/comments
Jim Kosmicki - Instructor Office : Room 404 Office hours: MWF 1-2
Phone #: 382-4166 (home) desk: 1-308-398-7312 toll-free: 1-877-222-0780 ext. 7312
Email: assignments: fax: 1-815-301-8532

Welcome to American Literature. During the course of this class, we will read a vast variety of American literature in order to try to understand the changes that have taken place in the literature and how those changes reflect American culture and its changes. This is not a course that will focus solely on plot, character, style, etc. Instead, I will assume that you have read the material, ascertained the basic plot, situation, etc. and are ready to deal with issues, themes and substance beyond the basics. This will not be your typical literature class, but it will be a memorable one.

You will be given a syllabus which lists each week's readings. I expect every student to have the readings done by class time. We will have regular assignments that will focus on the basic reading material. In addition, there will be a Bulletin Board available for discussion of the course and the reading assignments outside of the classroom. Each student will be expected to participate in the discussion in some way on a regular basis.

Course Texts:

The following are available from the website, the instructor, or a library (bookstore doesn't have these):

John Winthrop - excerpts St. Jean de Crevecouer - "What is an American?"
Ralph Waldo Emerson - "Self-Reliance" Edgar Allan Poe - "Never Bet the Devil Your Head"
Henry David Thoreau - "Civil Disobedience" Charlotte Perkins Gilman - "The Yellow Wallpaper"
Emily Dickinson - selected poems Walt Whitman - selected poems
Gertrude Bonnin/Zitkala-sa - memoirs Native Leaders - various speeches
Robert Frost - selected poems Carl Sandburg - selected poems
Sarah Orne Jewett - "The White Heron" Kate Chopin - "The Story of an Hour"
Frank Norris - "A Deal in Wheat" Langston Hughes - selected works
Chicano/Latino works - various authors/selections

The following are available through the website, in cheap editions at the bookstore, or in most libraries:

Benjamin Franklin - Autobiography, Sections 1&2
Washington Irving - "Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle"
Edgar Allan Poe - "The Gold Bug", "Tell-Tale Heart", "Fall of the House of Usher"
Nathaniel Hawthorne - "Young Goodman Brown" , "The Birthmark"
Frederick Douglass - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Sarah Wilkins Freeman - "A New England Nun", "The Revolt of Mother" , "One Good Time"
Willa Cather - "O! Pioneers"

The following works will need to be purchased from the bookstore or borrowed from the library:

Fanny Fern – Ruth Hall Mark Twain – Puddn’head Wilson
Ann Petry – The Street Jon Hassler – Staggerford

Evaluation of Students: