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The Syllabus

English 3025:  Survey of American Literature II

Professor Shelly Eversley  shelly.eversley@baruch.cuny.edu

VC 7-249   646 312 3960

Office Hours: Tuesdays, 10:30-11:30am, and by appointment.

Course Description and Expectations:

We will study representative American poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction from the turn of the twentieth century through modernism and the Harlem Renaissance and conclude in the early moments of contemporary literature.  The writers included on this syllabus address some of the most important moments in twentieth century American literature.  In our close readings of these texts, we will practice the critical moves of scholars of American literature and culture.  In addition, we will develop the critical skills of intellectuals:  we will think and ask questions in order to develop and support original arguments.

The Blog.  We will use a class blog to explore and comment on how what we learn affects contemporary life and your contemporary knowledge.  You will post anything (e.g., written comments, poetry, video, art) you think is relevant to our common knowledge of the texts we read together.  You must also comment on other people’s posts.  You are required to post at least five times during the semester and comment three times.  Your blog activity constitutes 20% of your grade.  You must sign up to the blog as a user: https://blogs.baruch.cuny.edu/americanliterature2/

The Podcast Assignment  (20%): You must choose a text we’re reading in class. Identify and research a historical or cultural connection with that reading. Post on the blog a multimedia presentation teaching your viewer about that connection and how it helps you understand the text you’ve chosen. For instance, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby celebrates the Jazz Age in New York.  It might inspire you to research the period’s relationship to music in Harlem.  You might incorporate research about music from the “roaring twenties” into a presentation on the novel.  Or, the experiments of a modernist like Gertrude Stein might inspire you to explore parallel experiments in a painting you find at MOMA or at the Met. Maggie’s story in Stephen Crane’s novel takes place on the Bowery; it might inspire you to explore archival materials detailing the lives and challenges facing working class women at the turn of the century in New York. You might want to check out manuscripts at one of the New York Public Libraries that offer some insight into a specific literary or cultural moment you identify in our readings. You decide. Be creative. Take some risks and make it fabulous and educational. You can work in teams of up to 3 people, or you may work alone. If you work alone, you must produce a 3 minute podcast.  Groups of 2 must complete a 5 minute podcast; and groups of 3 must complete one that is at least 7 minutes (no more than 9 minutes). Everyone must appear (visually or vocally) during some part of the podcast.

Active class discussion is crucial to your grade  (20%).   You must come to class on time and prepared to participate.  More than three unexcused absences can constitute a failing grade; two incidents of lateness will amount to one absence.

In addition, you will complete two essays (5-7 pages, 20% each).  I will not assign paper topics and I will not accept late papers.  Instead, I will conduct in-class writing workshops that will assist you in your ability to generate your own arguments and paper topics.  You will compete with yourself.

Plagiarism is not only uncool it is illegal:  The Department of English fully supports Baruch College’s policy on Academic Honesty, which states, in part: “Academic dishonesty is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Cheating, forgery, plagiarism and collusion in dishonest acts undermine the college’s educational mission and the students’ personal and intellectual growth. Baruch students are expected to bear individual responsibility for their work and to uphold the ideal of academic integrity. Any student who attempts to compromise or devalue the academic process will be sanctioned.” Additional information can be found at http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/academic/academic_honesty.html

Required Texts:  Available at Shakespeare and Company, 137 E. 23rd Street.

Stephen Crane, Maggie:  A Girl of the Streets (Norton)

Henry James, Daisy Miller:  A Study in Two Parts

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (Scribner)

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (Norton 2009)

Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (HarperPerennial 2006)

Rita Mae Brown,  Rubyfruit Jungle (Bantam)

Phillip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint (Vintage)

Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Penguin)

*additional readings will be available for download on the class blog

The Schedule:

February 1:                        Introductions.

February 3:                        Jose Marti, “Our America”  (available on the blog)

February 8:                        Stephen Crane, Maggie:  A Girl of the Streets

February 10:                        Maggie… continued.

February 15:                        Henry James,  Daisy Miller:  A Study in Two Parts

February 17:                        Daisy Miller… continued.

February 22:                        F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

February 24:                        The Great Gatsby continued.

March 1:                        The Great Gatsby continued.

March 3:                        Harlem Renaissance Poetry (available on the blog)

March 8:                          Modernist Poetry  (available on the blog).Paper #1 is due.

March 10:                        Modernist Poetry continued.

March 15:                        William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying

March 17:                        As I Lay Dying continued.

March 22:                        As I Lay Dying continued.

March24:                        As I Lay Dying continued.

March 29:                        Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

March 31:                        Their Eyes… continued.

April 5:                        Their Eyes…  continued.

April 7:                        No Class.  Writing Day. Professor Eversley will be in Paris.

April 12:                        Rita Mae Brown, Rubyfruit JunglePaper #2 is due.

April 14:                        Rubyfruit Jungle continued.

April 19:                        No Class.  Spring Break.

April 21:                        No Class.  Spring Break.

April 26:                        No Class.  Spring Break.

April 28:                        Phillip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint

May 3:                                    Portnoy’s Complaint continued.

May 5:                                    Portnoy’s Complaint continued.

May 10:                                  Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

May 12:                                  …Oscar Wao continued.  11:59PM: Podcasts posting deadline.  Voting begins.

May 17:                                  Conclusions.  Podcast Awards.

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