ENGLISH 270 - Introduction to American Literature
Fall 2023, Section 001 - American Dream, American Nightmare
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/28/23 - 12/6/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


The long-standing belief that the United States is in some sense a chosen nation has multiple sources. The Puritans hailed the New World as the last refuge of righteousness in a corrupt world, the Framers of the US Constitution thought that their experiment in democracy turned a new page in world history, and later propagandists proclaimed America the land of opportunity open to all races and creeds. The best and most enduring prose fiction written in this country neither accepts nor rejects these native myths but fuses them into one complex response. Bitter denunciations of the American Dream tend to be fueled by a hidden idealism; overt celebrations of the same idea can betray awareness of its tragic costs. The concept of social class is in particular a flashpoint for this literature, both as a site of denial and critique. In this course we shall trace this ambivalence about an idealized “America” in writing over the past two centuries. Authors to be considered include, among others, Herman Melville, Rebecca Harding Davis, Stephen Crane, Zora Neale Hurston, Don DeLillo, and Louise Erdrich.

This course satisfies the following CURRENT English major/minor requirements: NOT APPLICABLE

This course satisfies the following NEW English major/minor requirements: Foundations & Methods (200-level), Regions (Americas, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland), Time (Contemporary/Modern)

Course Requirements:

Attendance/participation, weekly reading quizzes, two papers, 5 to 7 pages, and a final exam.


ENGLISH 270 - Introduction to American Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

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