Spring 2005

Tradition of the African American Novel, 1853-1953

Rushdy,Ashraf H.A.

01/24/2005 - 05/07/2005
Monday 06:00 PM - 08:30 PM

Fisk Hall 305

Discussing novels written between 1853 and 1953, we will study each of them as works of art and as political/historical/cultural products. That is, we will attend to the formal and aesthetic properties of the novels as well as to their historical context and social and cultural meanings. As we read, we will attempt to discern how one novel relates to its predecessors in the construction of an African American literary continuum. One of the major points of discussion will be how certain texts become culturally recognized as required reading for the well-educated person, and, conversely, how other texts are categorized as being outside the mainstream literary tradition.

Reading for the course combines a photocopied packet with a selection of full length and short novels including Bernard Bell, THE AFRO-AMERICAN NOVEL AND ITS TRADITION; William Wells Brown, CLOTEL; Charles Chesnutt, THE MARROW OF TRADITION; Paul Lawrence Dunbar, THE SPORT OF THE GODS; Ralph Ellison, INVISIBLE MAN; Frances E.W. Harper, IOLA LEROY; Pauline Hopkins, CONTENDING FORCES; Zora Neale Hurston, THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD; Nella Larsen, QUICKSAND AND PASSING; George Schuyler, BLACK NO MORE; and Richard Wright, NATIVE SON.

Students will be expected to participate in class discussion, complete assigned readings, and write two four-page essays and a final eight-page essay.

Ashraf Rushdy (B.A., M.A. University of Alberta; Ph.D. University of Cambridge) is professor of English and African American studies. He is author of Remembering Generations: Race and Family in Contemporary African American Fiction (University of North Carolina Press, 2001); Neo-Slave Narratives: Studies in the Social Logic of a Literary Form (Oxford University Press, 1999); The Empty Garden: The Subject of Late Milton (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992), and more than 35 articles and essays. Click here for more information about Ashraf Rushdy.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Bernard Bell, THE AFRO-AMERICAN NOVEL AND ITS TRADITION (University of Massachussetts Press), Paperback

William Wells Brown, CLOTEL, OR THE PRESIDENT'S DAUGHTER (Bedford/St. Martin's), Paperback

Charles Chesnutt, THE MARROW OF TRADITION (Penguin), Paperback

Paul Laurence Dunbar, THE SPORT OF THE GODS (Signet Classic), Paperback

Ralph Ellison, INVISIBLE MAN (Vintage International), Paperback

Frances E.W. Harper, IOLA LEROY (Beacon Press), Paperback

Pauline Hopkins, CONTENDING FORCES (Oxford University Press), Paperback

Zora Neale Hurston, THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD (Herper Perennial), Paperback

Nella Larsen, QUICKSAND AND PASSING (Rutgers University Press), Paperback

Nella Larsen, COMPLETE FICTION OF NELLA LARSEN (Anchor), Paperback

George Schuyler, BLACK NO MORE (Northeastern University Press), Paperback

Richard Wright, NATIVE SON (Harper Perennial Classics), Paperback

PLEASE NOTE: A course packet will also be available at Broad Street Books. Readings from packet will also be posted on electronic reserves at http://www.wesleyan.edu/libr/reserve.htm.


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