ENGC12: Individualism and Community in American Literature

ENGC12: Individualism and Community in American Literature

ENGC12 with Prof. Neal Dolan

Course Name: Individualism and Community in American Literature

Course Description: This course explores two conceptions of the self: the self defined by its inherited attachments and obligations to specific groups (especially families), places, traditions, and social roles; and the self defined as an inherently autonomous, rational, and solitary essence. As a function of its original Protestant religious orientation and its founding political and economic philosophy, American culture is officially committed to the latter, modern, "liberal" conception of the self. But this commitment sits uneasily in relation to the deep inherited communal affiliations of a wide range of individuals. Many immigrants, for example, have sought to maintain traditional values and identities against the pressure of liberal modernity. Many "modern" Americans have found themselves bound by powerful residual communal ties even as they have sought to assert and celebrate an emancipated liberal selfhood. This course examines this multi-dimensional conflict as it is reflected in a selection of (mostly canonical) American literary works from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.

Course Features: Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Billy Budd by Herman Melville, poems by Emily Dickinson, Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

Learn more about when this course is offered by checking out the UTSC Calendar!

Interested in learning more about Professor Dolan's role in the department, or arranging a meeting? Check out his faculty profile for research and teaching interests as well as office hours availability.


CIick HERE to explore the full list of our current course offerings.


You can also check for specific D-level seminar topics or for Pre-1900 courses.