Ever since the "scientific" invention of race, American literature has reflected on the cultural and social effects of race theory and racist politics. It has also propagated racist ideas. Aided by a rich collection of critical writings on scientific racism and literature, we will look at late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century US literature's responses to race discourse. After a necessary glimpse at Poe, we will read both serious and satirical, realist and fantastic, racist and anti-racist treatments of the topic, always with a view to their political and transcultural implications.
Students are required to purchase the following texts:
- Mark Twain (1894/2002) Pudd'nhead Wilson. Modern Library. ISBN-10: 0812966228.
- Pauline Hopkins (1902-03/2004) Of One Blood. Washington Square Press. ISBN: 0743467698.
Critical texts, short stories by Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, as well as novels by Nella Larsen (Passing) and d'Arcy McNickle (The Surrounded), will be made available as a Reader, to be purchased at Copy&Paste.