ENGL 1950D S01 [CRN: 24791]A study of the development of the American novel from the Civil War to the present in light of the emergence of the corporation as the principal unit of economic enterprise in the United States. We will survey corporate theory from Lippmann to Collins, and use it to frame the novel's development from realism through modernism into postmodernism. Corporate theorists to be considered: Lippmann, Dewey, Berle, Drucker, Mayo, Demming, Friedman, Coase. Novelists to be considered: Twain, Dreiser, Wharton, Stein, Faulkner, Steinbeck, Wright, McCullers, Reed, Gaddis, Morrison. Enrollment limited to 20 senior English concentrators.
Additional Description from the Instructor:
This course explores the relationship between American literature and the persistence of the corporation as the principal means of economic, social, and political organization in the United States from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present. We will survey the various conceptions of corporate organization circulating in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American culture; we will catalog the various social and political problems with which the corporation has been regularly associated, either as a cause or a solution; and we will register the various ways in which notions of the corporation have shaped the conception of literature and the nature of literary practice in the United States. Many economic and social historians now think that the corporation became the dominant unit of the American economy well in advance of any technological or managerial necessity for widespread corporate economic organization. We will test this thesis with a view toward recovering the ways in which the corporation served as an imaginative structure as well as organizational structure in nineteenth-century America, and we will monitor the corporation’s evolution over the course of the twentieth century in terms of both its cultural responsiveness and its economic efficiency. Weekly readings will include a mixture of 1) major and less major literary works; 2) contemporaneous legal, philosophical, or sociological inquiries into corporate organization (very broadly conceived); and 3) samples from the most prominent works in the field of American corporate history. If all goes well, by the conclusion of the semester we will have developed a new understanding of the corporation’s surprisingly complicated development over the course of the past one hundred and fifty years and a new appreciation for the significance of that development in the history of American culture. We will have also developed a framework for specifying the value and the limits of literary study as a way of approaching significant developments in cultural, economic, and political history.
- Course Syllabus
- View Syllabus
- Assignments and Grading
- The course requirements are simple. You will write four very short (two-page) response papers (40% of the final grade) and one longer (twelve-page) term paper (40% of the final grade). Our reading load will be fairly heavy, and you will need to show up for each class ready to engage in an intense discussion of the day’s assignment. To this end, each week you will be asked to submit a brief list of passages you think worthy of special attention and a single question for discussion. I will explain this process in more detail in the first class session (class participation, including these informal submissions, will comprise 20% of the final grade). Specific paper topics and due dates will be forthcoming as the semester progresses. My current, and tentative, expectation is that the short response papers will be due at 5:00 pm on the following dates: February 15, March 8, March 22, and April 19.
- Spring 2013
- Credit Hours
- Maximum Enrollment
- Primary Instructor
- 3:00 pm - 5:20 pm Wed - from Jan 23, 2013 to May 17, 2013
- Exam Group Code
- 14 (May 14, 2013 9:00am)