The 19th century closed with ominous portents familiar to our own circumstances: disparities of wealth reflected in labor unrest and calls for progressive reform, racial divisions as voter suppression and social divides were reimposed, and war with a weak regime. We will consider five authors (in the following order) whose responses to these conditions varied: Twain’s darkly satiric The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson; Sarah Orne Jewett’s The Country of the Pointed Firs; Edwin Arlington Robinson’s psychological portraits set in midcoast Maine; Paul Laurence Dunbar’s dialect poems; and a melodramatic family drama by James A. Herne, Shore Acres. MSC
Required Books: Mark Twain, The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson (any edition); Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs (any edition); James A. Herne, Shore Acres and Other Plays, ISBN 978-1434407320.
David Miller had a long career as an English teacher and administrator in independent schools across the country. Annie Miller provides research and technical support.