English 573, Seminar in Prose Fiction
American Moderns: Technology, Cosmopolitanism, and Race in the American Novel, 1900-1930s

3 Credit Hours
Spring 2014
Avery 110 * Monday 2:50-5:30

Course Blog: http://americanmoderns.wordpress.com

Donna M. Campbell
Avery 202H, 509-335-4831
Email (best way to reach me): campbelld@wsu.edu
Office Hours: M 11-2 and by appointment. I am on campus several days each week, but the days vary. We can also Skype or Google Hangout: dmcampbellwsu in Skype or dmcampbellwsu@gmail.com for GHang.
Course blog: http://americanmoderns.wordpress.com

Readings are on the Course Blog.


Note: If a critical edition is specified, we will be reading and discussing the critical essays in class. If you download a copy without them, it is your responsibility to locate and read them.

Anderson, Sherwood. Winesburg, Ohio. Dover. 9780486282695
Du Bois, W. E. B. The Dark Princess. U Mississippi P, 1995. 9780878057658
Faulkner, William The Sound and the Fury. 9780679732242
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. Tender is the Night. Scribner, 1995. 978-0684801544
Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. Scribner, 1995. 9780743297332
Hemingway, Ernest. A Moveable Feast. 9781439182710
Larsen, Nella. Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen. 978-0385721004
Fauset, Jessie Redmon. Plum Bun. 978-0807009192
Loos, Anita. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes. Penguin, 1998. 978-0141180694
McKay, Claude. Home to Harlem. University Press of New England, 1987. 978-1555530242 (Kindle Edition: B00AQLXO6A)
Stein, Gertrude. Three Lives and Q.E.D. Norton, 2006. 978-0393979039 (Norton Edition not available in Kindle)
Toomer, Jean. Cane. Norton Critical Edition, 2011. 978-0393931686
Wharton, Edith. Twilight Sleep. Scribner, 1997. 9780684839646

This book can't be ordered through the bookstore, but you can get it used or as a Kindle book.

Evelyn Scott, The Narrow House (Kindle epub html

Course Description

This course focuses on the intersection of technology, modernity, race, and cosmopolitanism in American fiction of the early twentieth century. Instead of the traditional figures of modernism (Stein, Pound, Eliot, Joyce, Woolf, Barnes, and so on), we’ll explore alternative visions of modernism, those that engage ideas of progress, race, and technology but not necessarily aesthetic experimentation. The topics we'll consider include the following: cityscapes and visions of cosmopolitanism; the middlebrow and “high art” modernism; expatriate life, displacement, and diaspora; aesthetic and political bohemianism; racial passing and gay identities; and technologies of time and efficiency, of work, of beauty, of reproduction, and of movement. We will also consider questions of genre: the short story, the novella, and the short story cycle in addition to the novel as a form.

To consider the beginnings of modernism, we'll discuss modernist form in Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio and Stein's Three Lives before moving on to Harlem Renaissance works such as Jean Toomer's Cane, Nella Larsen's Quicksand and Passing, Richard Bruce Nugent's "Smoke, Lilies, and Jade," and Claude McKay's Home to Harlem, which provide racial, transnational, and queer critiques of modern life through retreats into primitivism or resistance through gender and racial passing.

These works are placed in dialogue with three novels by "classic" modernists--Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night, and Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises--inwhich white masculinity attempts to recuperate a nostalgically conceived past in a transnational context:  the lost South for Faulkner, and the expatriate Paris of the 1920s for Hemingway and Fitzgerald. In contrast to this reverence for an imagined past, Du Bois's The Dark Princess looks to the future to project a Pan-African global cosmopolitanism. The course also considers satiric views of modernity including Edith Wharton's Twilight Sleep and Anita Loos's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, works that, with selected magazine fiction, will allow us to discuss the role of the middlebrow as modernism’s much-despised but ever-popular Other.

Assignments are all geared toward eventual presentation or publication, and they will probably include the following: an oral presentation; minor presentations of critical material; a conference-length paper; an article-length paper (that may be on the same subject); a conference abstract based on the longer paper; and, for our “in-class conference” at the end, an oral response to another person’s paper.

Secondary readings for this course include current critical articles on the novels and theoretical essays by Bourdieu, Horkheimer and Adorno, Benjamin, North, de Certeau, Huyssen, Scholes, Doane, and Bhabha, among others.

The readings are on the Course Blog.

    Written Assignments
January 13 IntroductionThe Short Story Cycle
Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio
January 20 No Class: MLK day.
January 27 Experimental Fictions
Stein, Three Lives and Q.E.D.
Research Tools (discussion)
February 3

Toomer, Cane (1923)

Proposal for Paper 1
February 10

Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929)

February 17 No Class: Presidents' Day
Paper 1 due
February 24

Larsen, Quicksand/Passing (1928 and 1929)

March 3 "Black Dandies" and Queer Consciousness in the Harlem Renaissance
McKay, Home to Harlem (1928)
Nugent, “Smoke, Lilies & Jade”
March 10

Transnational and Pan-African Identities
DuBois, The Dark Princess (1928)

Proposal workshop: bring ideas for your second paper.
March 17-

Spring Break

March 24 Modernist Domesticity
Evelyn Scott, The Narrow House (order used; see below)
Jessie Fauset, Plum Bun
March 31

Autobiographical Fictions: How it was (or wasn't)
The Sun Also Rises (1926)
A Moveable Feast (restored edition)

Proposal for Paper 2 due by email
April 7 Satirizing Modernism
Wharton, Twilight Sleep (1927)
Loos, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
April 14 Cosmopolitanism and Spectatorship
Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night (1934)
April 21

Workshop: Discussing Journal Submissions

Conference version of Paper 2 due to respondent by 9 p.m. on 12/2/10

Paper 2 due

April 28 In-class conference  

Course Requirements

Attendance and Participation. Attendance and good class participation are essential.

Papers and Presentations.

Proposals and Responses. Since one of your professional responsibilities as scholars will be to submit proposals to conference, you’ll prepare a 100-200 word proposal for each of the papers you will write in this class. These will receive comments but not grades. You’ll also prepare a response to a classmate’s paper during the last two weeks of class, which you will then deliver as part of the conference-style presentations at the end of the course.

Late Papers and Extensions. Late papers are penalized at the rate of one letter grade (10 points) per class day late; a paper that would have received a "B" on the due date will receive a "C" if handed in on the next class day. Papers turned in after 2 class meetings will receive a 50/100 toward your class grade.

You have one automatic extension in this class, which means that your paper will be due on the next class day (in our case,a week).You must request the extension ahead of time, and you should save it for a true emergency, since no other extensions will be granted for illness, funerals, weddings, or any other reason.

Presentations and Article Critiques

Article Critiques. In addition to reading primary texts, we'll be reading some classic but mostly current criticism on the works so that you'll have a good sense of what approaches are being published now. We'll read all the articles, of course, but each week three or four people will be responsible for preparing a brief summary (5 minutes) and critique (no more than the front of 1 page) of one article each. You'll bring copies for your classmates so that they'll have a record.

These need not be terribly formal; their purpose is to allow the "article expert" to raise questions and discussion points about his or her article rather than do a formal presentation of it. You'll all take turns being an "article expert," but you won't need to do this every week; you'll be the "article expert" about four times during the course of the semester.

Here's what should be included.

1. Brief summary of the article (can be in point form).

2. Your thoughts on the article. What was its main contribution to understanding the work? Did it relate to other work in the field (If you know this)? Did it have any weaknesses?

3. At least one question either that you had about the the article or that the article inspired you to put to the class.

Remember these should be brief: No more than 5 minutes, and no more than the front of a page.

Presentations. Each member of the class will give a 30-minute presentation at one point during the semester. This might take any one of several forms: preparing information about the author or authors assigned for that day and presenting a set of new ideas or questions for the class to consider; giving a new interpretation of the work; providing a contextual overview of an author or work; or analyzing and critiquing current critical perspectives. You will need to provide a brief handout for the class, preferably one that includes the following:

In-Class Conference. During the last week of class, you'll present a conference-length version of your second paper to the rest of the class. The presentations at the end of the course will be based on the longer paper, which you’ll need to edit down to conference length.

Student Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, students should be able to Course Topics and Dates Addressing this Outcome Evaluation of Outcome
Understand how research is situated in a scholarly discourse embedded in the literature
Weekly "article expert" presentations
Weekly class discussion
Discussing journal submissions, 4/21
Student responses to final paper
Formal assessment of discussion, participation, and responses
Preparation of article for paper presentation or article submission (informal)
Select appropriate methods to investigate research questions Research tools discussion, 1/27
Proposal workshop, 3/10
Proposals 2/3 and 3/31
Feedback on proposals
Develop graduate-level writing and oral presentation skills through course assignments 30-minute oral presentation
Two formal papers
In-class conference presentation
Formal evaluation of 30-minute presentation
Formal evaluation of papers
Synthesize research systematically Research tools discussion, 1/27
"Article expert" presentations
Formal assessment of discussion, participation, and responses


Plagiarism Policy. Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of someone else's words or ideas. This definition includes not only deliberately handing in someone else's work as your own but failing to cite your sources, including Web pages and Internet sources. Plagiarism also includes handing in a paper that you have previously submitted or are currently submitting for another course.

WSU Statement on Academic Integrity. Academic integrity is the cornerstone of the university. You assume full responsibility for the content and integrity of the academic work you submit. You may collaborate with classmates on assignments, with the instructor's permission. However the guiding principle of academic integrity shall be that your submitted work, examinations, reports, and projects must be your own work. Any student who attempts to gain an unfair advantage over other students by cheating will fail the assignment and be reported to the Office Student Standards and Accountability. Cheating is defined in the Standards for Student Conduct WAC 504-26-010 (3).

WSU Midterm Policy. Based on ASWSU student requests and action by the Faculty Senate, WSU has recently instituted Academic Rule 88, which stipulates that all students will receive midterm grades. Midterm grades are not binding, and because the bulk of the graded work in this course occurs after the midterm point, it can only accurately reflect student performance up to that point.

WSU defines a "C" grade as "satisfactory," and those whose grades at midterm are in the "satisfactory" range or above (A, B, or C) will receive a "C" for the midterm grade [or will receive no listed grade at midterm]. Those whose performance is deficient (D) or seriously deficient (F) will receive those grades.

This does not mean that your grade is a "C" but that your grade is in the satisfactory range (A, B, or C) and that there are no significant deficiencies noted up to that point.

WSU Policy on Students with Disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please either visit or call the Access Center (Washington Building 217; 509-335-3417) to schedule an appointment with an Access Advisor. All accommodations MUST be approved through the Access Center. For more information contact a Disability Specialist: Pullman or WSU Online: 509-335-3417  http://accesscenter.wsu.eduAccess.Center@wsu.edu

WSU Safety Policy. Washington State University is committed to enhancing the safety of the students, faculty, staff, and visitors. It is highly recommended that you review the Campus Safety Plan (http://safetyplan.wsu.edu/) and visit the Office of Emergency Management web site (http://oem.wsu.edu/) for a comprehensive listing of university policies, procedures, statistics, and information related to campus safety, emergency management, and the health and welfare of the campus community.

WSU Weather Policy. For emergency weather closure poicy, see http://alert.wsu.edu. If I have to cancel class, I will email you all and also post a message to our course blog at http://americanmoderns.wordpress.com. If you follow @campbellcourse on Twitter or follow the blog, you will see it immediately.

Grading Policies and Criteria

Approximate weights for grades:
Paper 1, 20%
Presentations, 20%
Paper 2, 40%;
Attendance and Participation (including proposals, "article expert" commentary, and short written responses to papers), 20%  

I will use abbreviations as references to grammatical principles on your corrected papers. The abbreviations and accompanying explanations are available on the "Key to Comments" document here: http://public.wsu.edu/~campbelld/keyto.htm.

Grading Criteria. List available below and at http://public.wsu.edu/~campbelld/grading.html.

A note on the evaluation process in this course: Each piece of written work, from an essay on an exam to a formal paper, starts as a "0" and rises to one of the levels listed below based on the quality of its ideas, development, and writing. Thus your writing does not start from an "A" and "lose points" based on certain errors; instead, grading starts from a baseline and points are added based on the quality of your work. Think of the grading scheme as you would think of a game or a job. You don't start with a perfect score (or a high salary) and lose points by making errors; rather, you start from a baseline and gain points based on the quality of your skills as demonstrated by your performance. The same is true here.

I will use abbreviations as references to grammatical principles on your corrected papers. The abbreviations and accompanying explanations are available on the "Key to Comments" document here: http://public.wsu.edu/~campbelld/keyto.htm.

Grade Cutoffs for Assignments

The total number of points varies by assignment. The chart below shows the approximate letter grade for points earned in each assignment.

WSU final grade submission permits only solid, plus, and minus grades (e.g., C, C+, or C-) to be entered into zzusis.
WSU final grade submission has no "A+" grade, so the highest paper grade will be "A" (95) in compliance with WSU standards. There is no "D-" grade in zzusis, so a final average of 60-62 = D for the same reason.

Total Points 100 15 20 25 30 35 50 75 125 150 500 If your final % is Your final grade would be . . .
A 93 14 18 23 28 33 47 70 116 140 465 93 or above A
A/A- 92 14 18 23 27 32 46 69 116 139 463    
A- 90 13 18 23 27 32 45 67 113 135 450 90-92 A-
B+ 88 13 17 22 26 31 44 66 110 132 440 88-89 B+
B/B+ 87 13 16 22 26 30 43 65 110 131 438    
B 83 12 16 21 25 29 42 62 104 125 415 83-87 B
B/B- 82 12 16 20 24 29 41 61 103 124 413    
B- 80 12 16 20 24 28 40 60 100 120 400 80-82 B-
C+ 78 11 15 19 23 27 29 58 98 117 390 78-79 C+
C/C+ 77 11 15 19 23 27 28 57 97 116 388    
C 73 11 15 18 22 26 37 55 91 110 365 73-77 C
C/C- 72 10 14 18 21 25 36 54 90 109 383    
C- 70 10 14 17 21 25 25 52 88 105 350 70-72 C-
D+ 68 10 13 17 20 24 34 54 85 102 338 68-69 D+
D/D+ 67 10 13 16 19 23 33 50 84 101 315    
D 63 9 13 16 19 22 32 57 79 95 313 63-67 D