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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Humanities Department
Course Prefix and Number: ENGL 242
Course Title: American Literature II
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: Survey of major American writers from Realist to Contemporary figures. Prerequisite: ENGL 112. G.E.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): ENGL 112.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered Spring.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Shorter editions in one volume are economical, especially to students who have taken or will take ENGL 241.

An individual volume or two; novel, play, story or poetry collection.

Many good texts are available; the following are among the best:

The American Tradition in Literature
By George Perkins, ed. and others (McGraw-Hill)
The Norton Anthology of American Literature
By Nina Baym, ed. and others (Norton)
Anthology of American Literature
By George McMichael, ed. and others
Course Objectives
  • To understand and appreciate American literary texts produced from roughly 1800 to present through an intensive course of readings, discussions and written exercises.
  • To evaluate the full variety of American literary texts produced from roughly 1800 to present.
  • To conduct a sampling of the works of dozens of writers, emphasizing some, but ranging widely over the whole period and major literary types.
    Measurable Learning
  • Describe and explain “the second half” of American literature.
  • Increase knowledge and comprehension of the art forms, themes and values that make up the literary part of the American cultural heritage.
  • Read, discuss, write critically about and evaluate works of poetry, drama and fiction suitable to a sophomore survey.

    Topical Outline:
  • Departmental policy requires students write a minimum of 4,500 words of graded writing for the class
  • Introduction to course; brief recapitulation of American literature to 1890; essential literary terms and movements named and briefly defined
  • Realism; major and minor authors; characters, themes, values and lasting significance
  • Naturalism; major and minor authors; characters, themes, values and lasting significance.
  • Modernism; major and minor authors; characters, themes, values and lasting significance
  • Contemporary movements; major and minor authors; characters, themes, values and lasting significance
  • The state of American literature today

    Culminating Experience Statement:

    Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
    During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 30

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Danny Campbell Date: April 2, 2008
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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