Course Instructor Days Times Room


All aspects of this syllabus are tentative and subject to change.

In this class we’ll discuss a selection of 20th-century Southern works and writers from the American South. Class meetings will consist of intensive discussion.  Student-led discussions will be important:  I will ask you individually and as a group to identify issues and raise questions, to decide what direction our conversations should take, and occasionally to take the lead.

You should expect from this course  . . .

. . . an opportunity to read and discuss some important or at least interesting novels, stories, and poems.

. . . experience in how to view and critically assess literature.

. . . discussions of how the American South and its history and culture are portrayed in literature, and how the South sometimes serves as a metaphor for issues extending beyond regional boundaries.

. . . considerations of how race, class, gender, history, economics, religion, ideology, and other aspects, often less tangible and more abstract, of the human condition provide the substance of literature.


The reading load for this class is one you can easily keep up with if you don’t fall behind.  It will be heavier some weeks than others.  Come to class with the assignment read and ready to engage in discussion.  The readings below are tentative.

Jan. 5               Introduction

Jan. 10-12        Miscellaneous readings

Jan. 17-19        Absalom, Absalom! (1938), William Faulkner                                     

Jan 24-26         Absalom, Absalom!

Jan 31-Feb. 2   Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), Zora Neale Hurston                           

Feb 7-9            Their Eyes Were Watching God

Feb 14-16        Stories by Flannery O’Connor                                    

Feb. 21-23       Stories by Eudora Welty

Feb 28-Mar 2   Miscellaneous readings

March 6-10      Spring break

Mar 14-16       Audubon: A Vision (1968), Robert Penn Warren                                

Mar 21-23       Outer Dark (1968), Cormac McCarthy

Mar 28-30       Outer Dark                              

Apr 4-6            Feast of Snakes (1976), Harry Crews                                                              

Apr 18-20        Feast of Snakes                                                  

Apr 23-25        Thanksgiving

Apr 25             Conclusions


Opinion statement: some 500 words long, early in the semester.  This is a low-stress assignment that will count 5% of your grade.

Short critical paper: some 1000 words in length, at a date to be announced during the term. This is a medium-stress assignment that will count 20% of your grade.

Long critical paper: some 2500 words in length, at a date to be announced during the term. I’ll give you more information on these papers soon. This is a high-stress assignment that will count 30% of your grade.

Participation will count 25% of your grade.  Participation comes in many forms, including class and ELC discussions, attendance, pop quizzes, and so on.

Final examination: counts 20% of your grade.  It will cover the entire course.  This is a high-stress assignment.  I don’t give exams ahead of time, unless you find that on final examination day you have two other exams scheduled.  See the policy on exam schedule conflicts:

Submission of papers and reports:  All papers should be submitted electronically in Word format, via the ELC web site.  You do not need to own Word to submit in Word format—most word processing programs allow you to save in the Word format.  If your program does not allow this, you may use Google Docs:

I don’t accept late papers.  You must turn papers and other assignments in on time—this means submitted by midnight at the end of the day they are due.  Do not submit paper copies.  If you know a problem may prevent you from turning your paper in by the deadline, discuss it with me ahead of time.  It will be my decision whether to accept a late paper and whether to give an accepted late paper full or partial credit.


See above.


Attendance:   You should attend all class meetings and arrive on time.  I take roll.  Please schedule appointments and other obligations so that they don’t conflict with class.  You are responsible for all class assignments, lectures, and discussions regardless of whether you are present on a particular day.


To be determined.