Instructor: Prof. Alice Maurice
Course Description: In this course, we will explore late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American literary realism and naturalism in the context of the social, cultural, technological, and political upheavals of the time. The late 19th-century saw massive shifts in American culture: from racial segregation and racially-motivated violence, to mass immigration, urbanization, increasing poverty, shifting gender roles, and the rise of visual culture and the mass media.
Exploring the work of writers such as Henry James, William Dean Howells, Edith Wharton, Charles Chesnutt, Stephen Crane, Ida B. Wells, Frank Norris, Kate Chopin, Sui Sin Far, Abraham Cahan, Theodore Dreiser, and others, this course will ask: What were the goals of American literary realism? How did the authors themselves define it, and how did they contribute to the political and artistic debates of the period? How did the writers of this era respond to and reflect upon the rise of mass media and visual culture? How were the literary movements of realism and naturalism related to the political movements and social reforms of the era? In a larger sense, we will explore the artistic and political stakes of representing “reality."
Course Features: This counts as a pre-1900 credit. You can explore your specific program requirements in our Programs & Courses section.
Learn more about Prof. Maurice's teaching and research, as well as how to contact her with any questions.