HUMS 630
Contemporary Historical Fiction

Charles Baraw

Required Course Work

4-5 p.p. critical paper (close-reading of one novel)
4-5 p.p. creative rewrite of a historical narrative
10-15 p.p. critical paper


Toni Morrison, Beloved, (Vintage) ISBN-13: 978-1400033416 

Toni Morrison, A Mercy (Knopf) ISBN-13: 978-0307264237 

Stephen Wright, The Amalgamation Polka (Vintage) ISBN-13: 978-0679772941 

Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, (Vintage) ISBN-13: 978-0679728757 

Don Delillo, Libra, (Penguin) ISBN-13: 978-0140127119 

Philip Roth, American Pastoral (Vintage) ISBN-13: 978-0375701429 

Philip Roth, The Plot Against America (Vintage) ISBN-13: 978-1400079490 

Russell Banks, The Cloudsplitter, (Harper Perennial) ISBN-13: 978-0060930868

Course Schedule
Week 1

Slave Narratives & Fictions of Slavery

Eliza's Flight; or, How Toni Morrison Makes History in Beloved.                       
Source Materials from Uncle Tom's Cabin and slave narratives.

De-centering the neo-slave narrative, Morrison's A Mercy

Week 2

Cormac McCarthy's Anti-History of the West

Blood Meridian  (1985)
Critical Essay: Slotkin, "Regeneration Through Violence" (selection).

Blood Meridian
Source Materials:  Samuel Chamberlain, My Confessions: Recollections of a Rogue.
Critical Essay: Philips, "History and the Ugly Facts of Blood Meridian."
Due: 4-5 p.p. creative rewrite of a historical narrative.

Week 3

Antebellum History in the 21st Century Novel

Stephen Wright, The Amalgamation Polka                       
Excerpts from Going Native (Wright's previous novel)
Source Materials:  Lithographs, "Amalgamation Polka"                       
Due: 4-5 p.p. critical paper (close-reading of one novel)

Stephen Wright, The Amalgamation Polka
Source Materials: 19th-century discussions of "amalgamation"

Week 4

Twentieth-Century History in the Post-Modern Novel

Don Delillo, Libra                       
Source Material: selections from the "Warren Report" 

Don Delillo, Libra

Week 5

Making (Alternative) History in The Novel.

Philip Roth, American Pastoral

Philip Roth, The Plot Against America                       
Due: 10-15 p.p. critical paper.