American Literature from the Late 19th Century to the Present



EGL 2070                                                                   Instructor: Dr S Selina Jamil  

LD01 (53238)                                                             Office Hours: MWF 7 – 7:50 AM,

Fall 2012                                                                     MW 1:00 – 1:50 PM  

MWF 11 – 11:50 AM (M 3084)                                 Office: M 3065   Phone: 301 322 0575

                                                                                    Email:, ( 


The Department’s “Course Description”:

American literature from the Civil War to the present and its social and intellectual background.                                                                          

Prerequisite:  EGL 1020, EGL 1100, EGL 1320, or EGL 1340.



Course Description and Objectives: My section of EGL 2070 is designed to introduce you to American authors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We will explore particular themes that emerge in the works of specific authors who belong to the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American cultures. Our general focus will be on questions about the ways in which certain American authors depict their cultural, political, social, moral, psychological, economic worlds. What worldviews do these authors demonstrate in their works? What ideological values do these authors voice through their works? In what ways do they shape their times and in what ways are they shaped by their times? In what ways do they represent their times?  Are there distinct features that separate the works of these authors or are there certain patterns that bring them together? What dialogues about the human condition do these authors present through their works? In what ways have the work of these authors influenced your own world? What connections are there between the early twenty-first century America and the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America? You will closely read and then write analytically about the selected pieces mentioned under the tentative calendar, for this course aims at refining your ability to express sophisticated ideas about specific American authors thoughtfully and clearly, intelligently and logically. Consequently, the thrust of this course is for you to become potent and articulate thinkers.



The Department’s “Expected Course Outcomes”:

Students successfully completing the course will be able to:

1.      Identify major authors and works of the period from the Civil War to the present and

explain their contexts.

2.      Identify and describe important literary movements and place specific works in their


3.      Explain how the social and intellectual climate has influenced the themes of recent

American literature.

4.      Explain how literature reflects basic themes in American cultural history.

5.      Apply at least one critical approach to reading and analyzing a text with documented sources.

6.      Identify important literary forms in American literature.



Credit Hour Explanation: At Prince George’s Community College, for all credit courses, students are expected to spend a minimum of 37.5 combined hours of instructional time and related coursework time per credit hour. This course is a 3 credit course. This course achieves the minimum of 112.5 hours of instructional time by requiring 37.5 hours of instructional time and 75 hours of student work outside of instructional time for a total of 112 hours. 


The Work and Grades: You will write two expository essays, and I expect you to use research material preferably in both but most certainly in the second. The essays must include MLA in-text citations and list of works cited, and they must be typed, double-spaced, collated, and stapled. In addition, you will take 5 tests. Further, you will take part in class discussion regularly. You cannot “make up” missed class participation, and so be aware of what you lose absolutely when you do not come to class. Do not email me your final drafts. A late submission will adversely affect your grade. (I will deduct five points for each day after the due date.)


                                    1st Essay                                                          200 points

2nd Essay                                                         200 points

                                    5 Tests                                                             500 points (100 for each)

                                    Class Discussion                                             100 points


                                                                                                            1000 points



Academic Honesty Policy: I will not tolerate any form of plagiarism. It is not simply an omission of quotation marks but also a paraphrase that fails to acknowledge the source. Therefore never try to pass off someone else's work as your own. It is a disgrace that results in expulsion or at the least an F in the course.


Attendance: Attendance is imperative in this class. For if you miss class on a particular day, you miss the points allotted for that day. If, on a given day, you don’t earn points as active participators in the class discussion, you will still get some points as passive participators for being present. But I expect you to take part in class discussions consistently. In case of sickness or an emergency, be sure to provide some sort of document. Be sure to let me know when you are late, otherwise you will be marked absent. I will allow three absences only for unavoidable circumstances. The fifth lateness will be an absence. I expect you to behave responsibly and maturely about all your assignments and in the class. Roll will be taken at the beginning of the hour. I expect you to bring your assigned reading material regularly to class and to have read the assigned text before coming to class. Cell phones must be switched off once class begins. I will not expect you to leave the classroom to answer a ringing phone. And I will not have you walking in or out in the middle of class unless you inform me about the emergency that requires this unusual and disruptive behavior. Be attentive.



Lauter, Paul, et al., eds. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. 6th ed. Volumes C & D. Boston:

     Houghton, 2006.


Recommended texts:

MLA. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: The Modern Language

 Association of America, 2009.

Abrams, M. H. and Geoffrey Galt Harpham. A Glossary of Literary Terms. 10th ed. Australia:

            Wadsworth, 2012.








27 Aug                                                Introduction to the course

29Aug                                     Discuss Literary Terms (plot, paradox, ambiguity, tropes, irony,

signifier & signified)

31 Aug – 7 Sep                       Discuss Clemens’ The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg (68 – 98)

3 Sep                                       NO CLASSES (Labor Day)

10 – 14 Sep                             Discuss Howells’s “Editha” (248 – 259)                                                       

17 – 21 Sep                             Discuss James’s “The Beast in the Jungle” (313 – 341)

24 Sep                                     1st Test                                   

26 Sep – 1 Oct                                    Discuss Chopin’s “Desiree’s Baby” (415 – 419)

3 – 8 Oct                                 Discuss S. Crane’s “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky” (534 – 541)

10 Oct                                     1st Essay due                

12 – 17 Oct                             Discuss Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall-Paper” (673 –685)

19 Oct                                     2nd Test

22   26 Oct                            Discuss Jewett’s “A White Heron” (811 – 817)                                            

29 Oct – 2 Nov                       Discuss Freeman’s “The Revolt of ‘Mother’” (856 – 866)                            

5 – 9 Nov                                Discuss Wharton’s “Roman Fever” (1297 – 1305)

12 Nov                                                3rd Test

14 – 19 Nov                            Discuss Anderson’s “Hands” (1350 – 1353)

21 – 25 Nov                            NO CLASSES (Thanksgiving Holiday)

26 Nov                                                Discuss prosody

28 Nov                                                4th Test. 2nd Essay due                                                

30 Nov – 5 Dec                       Discuss Frost’s “Mending Wall” (1337 – 1338)

and Millay’s “Love Is Not All” (1380)

7 Dec                                       5th Test




Please note that I reserve the right to modify the course syllabus at my discretion



Prince George’s Community College’s Statement on Civility:
To promote a community of scholarship and civility, everyone at Prince George’s Community College is expected to be respectful, tolerant and courteous towards others at all times, adhere to college policies and procedures, and respect college property. Creating a culture of civility both inside and outside the classroom is everyone’s responsibility.