Jun 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ENG 380 - Archives and Afterlives in American Literature


The past,” Emily Dickinson cautions, “is such a curious creature.”  This course examines  how that curious creature, particularly Dickinson’s own nineteenth century, persists into the present. We’ll take up this question by reading primary literary and social texts from the era, including poetry, fiction, essays and lectures, and contemporaneous news media, and examining how these have more recently been adapted, extended, and/or appropriated not only in literary texts but also other popular genres in the twentieth- andtwenty-first centuries. In the course of our work, we’ll consider how these latter engagements with such seemingly distant texts and contexts inform us about our own situation as twenty-first century readers. Readings include nineteenth-century popular and literary periodicals in archival and digital settings, as well as Emily Dickinson, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rob Halpern, Susan Howe, Harriet Jacobs, Tyehimba Jess, DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid, Colson Whitehead, Walt Whitman, and others, and contemporary media (e.g. Levi’s ad campaigns, selections from Comedy Central’s Drunk History, and the Apple TV+ series Dickinson).

Satisfies the Literary, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric requirement.
Satisfies the Historical Approaches requirement of the English major.

Prerequisites & Notes
First-year students require permission of the instructor.