Teaching WS 02/03
American Literature and Culture
"From the First English Settlements to the Closing of the Frontier"
VO, C302 [entspricht K 222], Thursday 15:00-17:00
This course will offer an introduction to American literature and culture from the foundation of the British colonies in America to the closing of the Frontier. A historical survey of the Colonial and Federal Periods will provide a framework for a reading of classic documents drawn up in the early settlements in New England and in the South (John Smith, William Bradford, etc.), as well as of texts reflecting the gradual development of a distinct collective identity (cf. the 'Declaration of [political] Independence' and the 'Declaration of [cultural] Independence' [R. W. Emerson]). Among the topics discussed will also be the problems of the treatment of the native population and of African-Americans. The lecture course will also offer a discussion of the beginnings of American drama. In addition, it will consider the sectional conflict in the 19th century and the waves of immigrants which transformed the cultural landscape of the United States after the end of the Civil War.
Excerpts of texts to be considered are contained e. g. in vols. I and II of The Macmillan Anthology of American Literature, ed. George McMichael, and other current anthologies. Among the authors discussed will be William Byrd, Thomas Jefferson, Royall Tyler, Washington Irving (Rip Van Winkle), Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter), and Frederick Douglass. James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans will also be studied in class.
"The International Novel in American and Canadian Fiction"
(Edith Wharton, Robertson Davies, Elizabeth Spencer)
SE, C322, Tuesday, 16:00-18:00
Since the 1870s North American writers have frequently juxtaposed the manners and morals of their compatriots and of their European hosts or contacts. The appeal of this perennial theme to writers of a later generation than Henry James and W. D. Howells will provide the main focus of the seminar. We shall examine the perception and literary representation of European settings and customs in some novels and long stories by American and Canadian writers. Among the texts to be discussed are The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, A Mixture of Frailties by Robertson Davies, and The Light in the Piazza and 'The Cousins' by Elizabeth Spencer.
"The Literature and Culture of the American South in the 20th Century"
VO+K, gültig auch als vertiefende kulturwissenschaftliche LV (unter Einbeziehung eines amerikanischen Historikers), C421, 426-428 und C321, K524 (mit variierter Leseliste), K531, Wednesday, 10:00-12:00
For a quarter of a century from the late 1930s onwards writers from the American South won one third of the Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction. This indicates the paradoxical prominence of the literature of a region which was regarded by many as backward and even reactionary. The lecture course will consider dominant trends in Southern literature from the 1950s onwards. The fiction produced in the various subregions in the South will be contextualized in a historical analysis of social and cultural phenomena, especially in the Deep South. Among the authors to be considered will be Flannery O'Connor (Georgia), Eudora Welty, Walker Percy and Shelby Foote (Mississippi), as well as Ernest Gaines (Louisiana), and more recent writers like Bobbie Ann Mason and Cormac McCarthy.
Fulbright Visiting Professor Jim Cobb will also present popular aspects of Southern culture in guest lectures.
There will be two reading lists depending on the credit desired by the individual participant in the lecture course.
Introductory Seminar: Ethnic Heritage and Regional Culture in the U.S.A. and in Canada
PS, C304, Friday, 10:00-12:00
The course is intended to broaden the reading experience and the familiarity of students with various analytical tools for a fruitful approach to a variety of texts chosen from the fields of British, US-American and especially Canadian literature. It will deal with the search for and construction of individual identity by adolescents or young adults. The thematic focus will be on the depiction of formative experiences of individual characters which often includes an awareness of their ethnic heritage. A play by an African-American playwright will also be analyzed.
Narrative texts to be considered in class are by the following authors: Margaret Atwood, Mavis Gallant, Jack Hodgins, Janice Kulyk Keefer, Margaret Laurence and Alistair MacLeod.