The time between the Civil War and the end of World War I – marked by increased nation-building, immigration, internal migration and racial tension – saw the rise of local color literature, which described the peculiarities of regional life through "lived experiences". From 1886, when Bret Harte published his local color stories "The Luck of Roaring Camp" and "The Outcasts of Poker Flat," until the First World War, literary regionalism enjoyed enormous popularity in America. Supported by magazines such as the Atlantic Monthly, Century, the Colored American Magazine, and Land of Sunshine, it was championed by many influential writers. However, there was never a single local color or regionalist tradition. Instead, the genre includes a wide range of writers and texts, spanning not only different parts of the United States but also many cultures and ethnicities, genres and forms, goals and ideologies. This seminar will introduce students to American local color writing. Based on the introductory seminar to British and American literature, this course will deal with the American short story and examine the achievements of such familiar writers as Joel Chandler Harris, Kate Chopin, Hamlin Garland and Sarah Orne Jewett and introduce less wellknown voices like Sui Sin Far, Abraham Cahan and Zitkala-Sa.
Participants are asked to purchase Elizabeth Ammons' and Valerie Rohy's anthology American Local Color Writing, 1880-1920. New York: Penguin Books, 1998. (ISBN-10: 014043688X)