Constructions of American Idea(l)s in American Literature (Az amerikai ideá(lo)k konstrukciói az amerikai irodalomban) in spring 2015
Bán Zsófia, Thu 09:30–11:00, R439, host: DAS (R306)
5-credit seminar, 30 h/term; strong prereq: BMA-AMED-300 301
description & set texts
This course intends to investigate basic ideas, motifs, values and traditions in American culture by reading well or less well-known pieces of American literature including a large variety of genres such as essays, autobiographies, short stories, novels, poems, speeches, political writings and more recent genres of popular culture. 1. Intro 2. Begging to Differ – Critical Thinking Benjamin Franklin: “Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America” Susan Sontag: “Against Interpretation”, „Regarding the Torture of Others” Sontag on 9/11: 3. American Lives – Lives in America Henry Adams: “The Dynamo and the Virgin” – excerpt from The Education of Henry Adams (Norton) Getrude Stein: The Making of Americans (Introduction) in Norton Anthology 2nd ed. 4. The Darker and the Lighter Side Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Self-Reliance” Ambrose Bierce: “Chickamauga” 5. The Local and the Universal James Fenimore Cooper: Preface to The Leather-Stocking Tales James Fenimore Cooper: from The Last of the Mohicans, chapter XIII Edgar Allan Poe: “The Tell-Tale Heart” (Norton) William Carlos Williams: “Edgar Allan Poe” from In the American Grain 6. Vision vs. Touch Walt Whitman: “I Sing the Body Electric” William Carlos Williams: “Jacataqua” from In the American Grain 7. The American Dream Benjamin Franklin: excerpt from Autobiography (Norton) Martin Luther King: “I Have a Dream” speech (full text and video) Abraham Lincoln: “The Gettysburg Address” speech Zora Neale Hurston: “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” 8. Resistance Henry David Thoreau: “Resistance to Civil Government” Herman Melville: “Bartleby” 9. The American Family—the Domestic Theme Anne Bradstreet: “Before the Birth of One of Her Children”, “To My Dear and Loving Husband” A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson (first 3 chapters) Susan Faludi: chapters from The Terror Dream: “Introduction” and “Original Shame” 10. Multiculturalism: Contents and Discontents Maxine Hong Kingston: from The Woman Warrior (Heath) Bharati Mukherjee: A Wife’s Story (Heath) 11. Women and Men Adrienne Rich: “Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying” Ernest Hemingway: “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” 12. Final test
requirements & assessment
Grades will be based on (i) oral presentations (ii) class participation and (iii) final test grade. Attendance. It is assumed that everyone will attend the classes. In accordance with university regulations, students are allowed three absences per semester; with more than three absences, their course will be incomplete. Reading the assigned texts. Students are required to come prepared for class: they must be able to understand the texts (know the words), remember details, and formulate their critical comments. Not reading the assignment for a class counts as an absence.