ENGLISH 471 - Nineteenth-Century American Literature
Fall 2018, Section 001 - 19th C American Literature: the Mutability of Value and the Value of Mutability
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


For Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Frederick Douglass, and many other 19th-century authors, the experience of change is central to the process of attributing meaning or value to existence. Emerson and Douglass praise literary or aesthetic experience for revealing the inevitability of revision in ethical and aesthetic judgment. 'Literature,' in Emerson's words, furnishes 'a point outside of our hodiernal circle through which a new one may be described.' For Douglass, literature, like nature, exemplifies the ceaseless process of 'Creating, unfolding, expanding, renewing, changing, perpetually, putting on new forms, new colours, issuing new sounds, filling the world with new perfumes, and spreading out to the eye and heart, unending scenes of freshness and beauty [and] all pervading and never resting life.' The flux of aesthetic experience, in Douglass' view, illuminates the fact that our lives are and should be a continuing process of transformation: 'Men talk much of a new birth. The fact is fundamental. But the mistake is in treating it as an incident which can only happen to a man once in a life time; whereas, the whole journey of life is a succession of them.' Of course, the horror of indeterminate and erratic conceptions of value haunts such endorsements of change. For many, a fluid conception of value threatens to produce monstrous innovations, such as Charles Brockden Brown's Edgar Huntly, who acquires the qualities of animals and savage on entering a metamorphic realm of shifting forms where the boundaries and nature of the self are constantly in question.

In this class, we will examine how poems, plays, and stories by Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Allen Poe, James Fenimore Cooper, Lydia Maria Child, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Margaret Fuller, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, Dion Boucicault, Henry James, Stephen Crane, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Charles Eastman variously address the mutability of value and the value of mutability.

Course Requirements:

There will be two papers, reading quizzes, a midterm, and a final exam.


ENGLISH 471 - Nineteenth-Century American Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
 In Person
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
9/4/18 - 12/11/18

Textbooks/Other Materials

The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for ENGLISH 471.001

View/Buy Textbooks


Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for ENGLISH 471 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi

CourseProfile (Atlas)

The Atlas system, developed by the Center for Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (Atlas)