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Fall 9-18-2019


19th century American Literature

19th century American Literature 1835-1870

Why do so many women in 19th century American fiction end up dead?

Why are so many men in 19th century American fiction single, or why do they murder their wives to gain that status?

Why can no superhero have a wife?

The answers to all these questions and more can be found in American literature.

America in the 19th c. had a literary renaissance, and the works in this course include some of the greatest American fiction ever written—and virtually of all it was produced in the space of just 35 years, from 1835 to 1870.

And not only was there lots of it, but it was virtually all new. BRAND NEW LITERARY FORMS. In those 35 years, the Western was invented. Detective fiction was invented. The novel was reinvented, and poetry in the hands of Walt Whitman went off in a direction it has maintained to this day.

The literature will make you cry; it will make you laugh; and it will scare you silly.

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