Why do so many women in 19th c. American fiction end up dead? Why are so many men in 19th c. American fiction single or why do they murder their wives to gain that status? Why does no superhero have a wife? The answers to all these questions and more can be found in this class. America, in the 19th c. had a literary Renaissance—a kind of rebirth. Most of the works we are going to study were produced in the short span of 35 years from 1835 to 1850. And not only was there a lot of it. But it was virtually all new. BRAND NEW LITERARY FORMS. In those years, the Western was invented. Detective fiction was invented. The novel itself was reinvented. And poetry in the hands of Walt Whitman went off in a direction it has maintained to this day.
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