Dr. Liu Yan
Course Description:
﹡one-semester compulsory course
﹡the 3rd year English majors at FELC, GDUFS
﹡to offer a survey of the development of American literature
﹡to gain an insight into the development of American literature as an important part of the country’s
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Course Objectives:
 To help the learners to know the historical development of American literature, major trends and major
 To help the learners to understand the American
society and its culture as reflected in the literary works.
 To help the learners to appreciate literary language
and to consolidate their fluency in English by reading a
variety of literary texts.
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American Literature, compiled by the
Department of Literary and Cultural
Studies, FELC
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A list for further reading:
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 Class attendance, participation and
presentation, 20%
 A term paper, 30%
 Final examination, 50%
Lecture 1
Week 1: Introduction
Week 2: Early Am. Lit. (17th—18th centuries)
Jonathan Edwards
“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” (excerpts)
Images or Shadows of Divine Things (excerpts)
Benjamin Franklin
The Autobiography (excerpts)
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Week 3: American Romanticism and Transcendentalism (1800—1850s)
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nature (excerpts)
“Self-Reliance” (excerpts)
Week 4:
Edgar Allan Poe
“The Raven”
Week 5:
Nathaniel Hawthorne
“The Minister’s Black Veil”
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Week 6: Walt Whitman
“Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking”
“Calvary Crossing the Ford”
“Come up from the Fields, Father”
“When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”
Week 7: Emily Dickinson
“Because I could not stop for Death—”
“I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—”
“A narrow Fellow in the Grass”
“I died for Beauty—but was scarce”
“A Bird came down the Walk—”
“Essential Oils—are Wrung—”
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Week 8: American Realism and American Naturalism
Mark Twain
“The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”
Week 9:
Jack London
“The Law of Life”
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Week 10: American Modernism (1900—1940s)
Ezra Pound
“In a Station of the Metro”
Week 11: May Day Holiday
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Week 12:
Robert Frost
“Mending Wall”
“The Road Not Taken”
“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
“Fire and Ice”
“Nothing Gold Can Stay”
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Week 13:
Ernest Hemingway
“A Clean, Well-lighted Place”
Week 14:
William Faulkner
“A Rose for Emily”
Week 15:
Eugene O’Neill
Desire Under the Elms
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Week 16: Post-war American literature (1940s— )
Week 17:
J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye
Week 18:
Alice Walker
“Everyday Use”
Week 19: Review
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For Week 2:
• Reading assignments:
Jonathan Edwards:
“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”
“Images or Shadows of Divine Things”
Benjamin Franklin:
The Autobiography
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2. Presentation topics:
a. (“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”)
What is the purpose of Edwards in delivering
the sermon?
b. (The Autobiography) What kind of life
style does Franklin advocate? Do you share
his principles?
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For Week 3:
1. Reading Assignments:
Ralph Waldo Emerson:
Nature (excerpts)
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For Week 3:
2. Presentation topics:
(“Self-Reliance”) What does Emerson
think of man in his time? How should a
man behave, according to Emerson?
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American Literature