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English 326 Syllabus

English 326 Syllabus - English 326 Peter Gibian Winter 2008...

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English 326 Peter Gibian Winter 2008 Offic e Hours: M 2:45 - 4:45 (Arts 315) MWF 1:35 – 2:35 Email: [email protected] 19th-Century American Prose: TRIALS OF AMERICAN INNOCENCE Innocence always calls mutely for protection, when we would be so much wiser to guard ourselves against it; innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm. . . . They killed him because he was too innocent to live. He was young and ignorant and silly and he got involved. He had no more of a notion than any of you what the whole affair s about . . . When he saw a dead body he couldn t even see the wounds. I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused . . . (Graham Greene, The Quiet American ) Course Description: This course will survey, and also critically interrogate, a long line of foundational works in American literature and thought that develop the figure of an American innocence —and introduce a new literary character: the innocent American. Where does this widely shared notion come from? What does this national self-image imply? What possibilities does it open up? What are its limitations and dangers? A challenging reading list—including selected
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