American Fiction to 1900

L355 — Spring 2022

Jennifer Fleissner
Days and Times
4:45 - 6:00p TR (3 CR)
Course Description

Topic: Political Fictions

What happens when fiction and politics mix? Our area of study is the mid- to late 19th-century U.S., a period that saw a remarkable proliferation of movements for social reform. We'll read fiction about these movements, and consider to what extent the literary work approximates a political argument, or whether its literary elements enhance, get in the way of, complicate, or even subvert its social intent. We'll read Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance, Twain's Huck Finn, Melville's “Bartleby,” and Chopin's The Awakening among other works, and consider the complexities of their representations of reform movements.