Faculty Course Description
ENG 333A(WI): American Romanticism and Transcendentalism
Instructor: Chris Diller
Office: Evans 237
Office phone: (706) 238-5877
ENG 333WI Syllabus
Between 1835 and 1855, the canonical writers of "The American Renaissance—including Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, and Whitman—produced most of their major works. However, this era also witnessed the rise of best selling authors, many of them writers of sensationalist fiction or women’s fiction (the latter of whom were condemned by Hawthorne as a "damn'd mob of scribbling women"). This course will begin by asking how one of these two categories of literary works became the canon of American literature whereas the other was debased and forgotten until relatively recently (after revisionist and feminist historians recovered it). We will then question this dichotomy by reviewing how even the most prim and proper of writers, such as Emerson, planted the seeds of anti-authoritarianism that informed radical critiques of gender, slavery, and sexuality found in the literary and reform movements of this period. In essence, then, we will consider how these (non) canonical writers contributed to the history of hip that John Leland asserts found American (Romantic) literature “Celebrating the individual and nonconformist, advocating civil disobedience, savoring the homoerotic, and above all claiming the sensual power of the new” (40).
Web Resources (among many others)