American History and the Literary Imagination

0510T [CRN: 15170]

This course explores twentieth- and twenty-first-century literary representations of the nineteenth century. We will primarily read novels, poetry, and cultural criticism regarding the U.S.'s antebellum period with particular emphasis on colonial expansion, slavery, and the civil war. We will consider how genre impacts historical interpretation in fictional histories, the recasting of historical events through marginal figures, and the contested though necessary role of memory in both literary and historical discourse.
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