American Literature of the 1880’s

Americans today believe they are unusually challenged by growing income inequality, anti-immigrant sentiment, racial tensions, and rapid technological change. In the 1880’s, Americans struggled with these issues, too.  To see how literary artists reflected (or ignored) these concerns, we will read (in this order): Mark Twain’s foundational The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Henry James’ early Washington Square, poetry by Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, and selections from Frederick Douglass’ Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. MSC, Classroom #3; Limit: 36

Required Books:  Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, ISBN 9781604592320; Complete Poems of Whitman, ISBN 9781853264337; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, ISBN 9780553212266; Washington Square, ISBN 9780451416773; The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson, ISBN 9781593080501. 

Instructor Recommendation: For those who prefer e-books, all but Douglass are available free at  Douglass is available for $2 at  

David Miller had a long career as a English teacher and administrator in independent schools. He is particularly interested in how historical events are reflected in the arts, including literature.

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