Dr. Alex E. Blazer Course Site Syllabus
Selected Reading

Study Questions

Research Paper


American Literary Consciousness

English 312-01: American Literature II

Fall 2003, MWF 1:00-1:50PM, Bingham Humanities Bldg 101

Selected Reading

The Norton Anthology offers over 150 pages of writing by Whitman and over 40 pages by Dickinson. I encourage you to read all of these poems, but we'll only have time to examine a limited number of them in class. Please be prepared to discuss the following texts.


Walt Whitman

Preface to Leaves of Grass (1855)

"Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"

"Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking"

"Song of Myself" (1881) [note: not the 1855 version]

Emily Dickinson

67 [Success is counted sweetest]

185 ["Faith" is a fine invention]

258 [There's a certain Slant of light]

280 [I felt a Funeral, in my Brain]

324 [Some keep the Sabbath going to Church—]

341 [After great pain, a formal feeling comes—]

448 [This was a Poet—It is that]

465 [I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—]

536 [The Heart asks Pleasure—first—]

547 [I've seen a Dying Eye]

712 [Because I could not stop for Death—]

1126 [Shall I take thee, the Poet said]

Study Questions

In order to actively keep up with the reading, as well as to prepare for class discussion, answer the following study questions before class. For each question, I suggest writing a short, informal response and citing key passages in the text that support your response. I also strongly recommend that you annotate your texts as you read. Actively keeping up with the reading in this manner will serve you well on the exams and the final paper.

Research Paper

You've explored authors and their works in study questions and class discussion. You've come to general conclusions about the nature of the period in exams. Now, you can devote an entire paper to one author, to one work. Select a work of literature (or two or three closely related essays, poems, or short stories) that we've read in class. See me if you want to pursue a text not covered. Rigorously interpret and analyze that piece, and use 3-4 scholarly journal articles, books, or book chapters to support your interpretation (Click here to learn how to conduct literary research at U of L). Although this is a research paper, the emphasis should be on your ideas, your way of reading the text; the research is necesary but of secondary importance: do not let it overwhelm your voice. I'll be glad to discuss paper topics with you at any time.