English 444

ENGL 444
American Realism and Naturalism

Catalog Entry

ENGL 444. American Realism and Naturalism
Three hours lecture (3).

Prerequisite: CORE 101 and CORE 102

Study of work of selected American realists and naturalists from late 19th and 20th centuries.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

This course offers students an in-depth examination of the development of realism and naturalism as literary movements, and the historical and intellectual background which gave rise to these movements. Students will read a wide variety of representative works of literature written between roughly the Civil War and World War I. In order to contextualize this primary material, secondary readings may include biographical, historical, and cultural sources.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

ENGL 444 uses a wide variety of instructional strategies which may include any number of the following: lecture; discussion; web-enhanced instruction; collaborative group work; oral presentations; group-led discussion; informal writing activities such as in-class focused writing assignments, responsive logs, discussion questions; film and other audio-visual resources related to literary works, authors, and relevant contexts; library instruction to reinforce students’ information literacy and knowledge of available resources; peer writing groups for feedback on drafts of essays; individual or group conferences with the instructor for feedback on drafts of essays.


Goals and Objectives of Course

The fundamental goal of this course is to enhance students’ understanding of literary realism and naturalism in their particular American mode. The transformation of American life between the Civil War and World War I, Reconstruction, industrialization, urbanization, immigration, the Progressive Movement, the Suffrage Movement, and Utopianism are important social and economic trends that are represented in these literary works. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • identify and discuss essential aspects of realism as a literary style and method;
  • identify and discuss essential aspects of naturalism as a literary style and method;
  • identify and discuss the evolution of these literary forms and their relationship to each other;
  • understand and discuss the historical, cultural, and literary backgrounds that gave rise to American realism and naturalism;
  • identify and use a number of literary critical strategies in the formal analysis of literary works;
  • access electronic and print sources pertinent to the study of the assigned works and apply these sources to the close reading of primary texts.


Assessment Measures

ENGL 444 uses a variety of assessment measures, which may include a number of the following:

  • informal writing activities such as readers’ logs and discussion questions;
  • in-class oral presentations and group-led discussions;
  • reading quizzes and examinations on the assigned readings;
  • formal critical essays such as explication, analysis, comparison/contrast;
  • research projects on works, authors, or contexts relevant to the course;
  • creative options such as imitations or revisions or sequelization of any of the assigned works.


Other Course Information


Review and Approval

October, 2009