Module Identifier EN37520  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Martin Padget  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment 2 x 2,500 word essays100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements 

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module, students should typically 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

1-2. Representing the Frontier and Mythologizing American History
Required reading: James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans

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

4-6. "You must have plenty of sea-room to tell the truth in": Moby-Dick and the Expansive Imagination
Required reading: Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

7-8. Sentimental Fiction, Abolitionism, and the Politics of Emotion
Required reading: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin

9. The Meanings of Freedom: The South Before and After the Civil War
Required reading: Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson

10. "The Courageous Soul that Dares and Defies": The Awakening and the Subversive Imaginations of Women
Required reading: Kate Chopin, The Awakening

Set texts

Kate Chopin, The Awakening (1899)
James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans (1826)
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (1851)
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852)
Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894)

Select Bibliography

Sacvan Bercovitch,ed., The Cambridge History of American Literature
Richard Chase, The American Novel and Its Tradition
Michael Colacurcio, ed., New Essays on the Scarlet Letter
Leslie Fiedler, Love and Death in the American Novel
Michael Gilmore, American Romanticism and the Marketplace
Susan Harris, Nineteenth-Century Women's Novels
Harry Levin, Power of Blackness: Hawthorne, Poe, Melville
Lucy Maddox, Removals
F. O. Matthiessen, American Renaissance
Jane Tompkins, Sensational Designs: The Cultural Work of American Fiction


This module is at CQFW Level 6