Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The American Novel in the Nineteenth Century
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 2hr seminars
Practical 10 x 2hr workshops


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2 X 3000 WORD ESSAYS  100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit or resit failed elements and/or make good any missing elements 

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the core literary texts and of appropriate critical approaches to the study of those texts;

demonstrate an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts in which the set material was produced;

write about the set material in a well-structured and well-argued way;

illustrate their knowledge and views by drawing upon appropriate literary, historical and critical sources beyond the core literary texts;

demonstrate developing skills in critical analysis;

demonstrate developing skills in oral presentation, both individually and in small group presentations.

Brief description

This module provides students with the opportunity to study six major works of American fiction from the nineteenth century. It seeks to establish a thorough understanding of the core literary texts and of the historical context in which they were written. Building on the study of literature and literary analysis in Part One, the module encourages students to develop and hone the skills needed to critique the nineteenth-century American novel in particular and literature in general.


Seminar Timetable

Seminar 1: Module Introduction: In class reading of first three chapters of James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans
Wiorkshop 1: 'The American Novel in the Nineteenth Century - A Critical Introduction'. Short lecture and student-led discussion of selected extracts from the novels featured on the module.

Seminar 2: 'Representing the Frontier and Mythologizing American History'. Required reading James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans.
Workshop 2: Short lecture and student-led discussion of key themes in Cooper's frontier fiction.

Seminar 3: "Somewhere between the real world and fairy-land": Dramatising the Past and the Present in the Romance. Required reading: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Workshop 3: 'Symbolism in American Literature - Introducing the Romance'. Short lecture and student-led discussion.

Seminars 4 & 5: "You must have plenty of sea-room to tell the truth in": Moby-Dick and the Expansive Imagination. Required reading: Heerman Melville, Moby-Dick.
Workshop 4: 'Moby-Dick - A critical Introduction'. Short lecture and student-led discussion of the first half of the novel.
Workshop 5: 'Deconstructing the Encylopaedic Novel'. Stuent-led discussion of Moby-Dick.

Seminars 6 & 7: Sentimental Fiction, Abolitionism, and the Politics of Emotion. Requried reading: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Workshop 6: 'Slavery and the American Literary Imagination'. Short lecture and studen-led discussion of key themes in the first half of Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Workshop 7: Assessing the legacy of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Student-led discussion.

Seminar 8: The Meanings of Freedom: The South Before and After the Civil War. Required reading: Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson.
Workshop 8: Short lecture on the post-Civil War and student-led discussion of Twain's novel.

Seminar 9: "The Courageous Soul that Dares and Defies": The Awakening and the Subversive Imaginations of Women. Required reading: Kate Chopin, The Awakening.
Eorkshop 9: Student-led discussion of the merits of feminist and naturalist interpretations of The Awakenings.

Seminar 10: Review of module.
Workshop 10: Essay writing workshop.


This module is at CQFW Level 6