Syllabus for Rethinking 19th Century American Literature

Nya perspektiv på 1800-talets amerikanska litteratur


  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 5EN520
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: English A1N

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle

    • G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    • G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    • G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    • GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

    Second cycle

    • A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    • A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    • AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2019-01-23
  • Established by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: Autumn 2019
  • Entry requirements:

    120 credits. English A1, B1 and C1, or 90 credits in a language subject or in literary studies.

  • Responsible department: Department of English

Decisions and guidelines

The course is included in the Master's Programme in English.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the course students will be able to

  • demonstrate insight into the main currents in nineteenth-century American literature;
  • show familiarity with the scholarship about nineteenth-century American literature;
  • show an understanding of historical and political occurrences and ideas as they influenced the American literary tradition;
  • gather and process critical material;
  • show proficiency in the use of critical material in a written literary analysis;
  • show a good ability to participate, orally and in writing, in a discussion of literary works in fluent English.


This course offers forceful strategies for engaging with nineteenth-century American literature. Drawing on cutting-edge approaches and paradigms, it addresses the socio-political transformations of the nineteenth-century United States through the lens of representative literary texts. The course explore how this body of literature reflects on contending definitions of race, gender, empire, the emotions, and nationality.


Group sessions. Instruction, class discussions, and examinations are in English. All teaching materials are in English.


Assessment takes the form of a final exam in the form of an essay at the end of the course. The final essay may be replaced by, or supplemented with, alternative assessment elements, such as shorter essays assigned during the course, journals, or portfolios. Grades are fail, pass, or pass with distinction.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Students who fail a regular examination will be offered a make-up examination within a reasonable period of time after the regular examination.

Students who fail an examination twice have the right to apply to the head of the department for permission to change examiners.

Transitional provisions

Please contact the student counsellor for transitional regulations in connection with changes in the curriculum.

Other directives

If the curriculum or the course literature for a course module is changed, students have the right to be examined on the original curriculum and course literature on three occasions during the following three terms. After these three opportunities, the right normally expires. No other limitations apply regarding the number of examination opportunities.

Reading list

Reading list

A revised version of the reading list is available.

Applies from: Autumn 2021

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

Main Reading

  • Brown, Charles Brockden; Shapiro, Stephen; Barnard, Philip Ormond; Or, The Secret Witness: With Related Texts [Elektronisk resurs]

    Hackett Publishing, 2009

    Find in the library


  • Chopin, Kate; Ciocia, Stefania The awakening and selected stories

    Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions Limited, 2015

    Find in the library


  • Grandin, Greg The empire of necessity : slavery, freedom, and deception in the New World

    First Picador edition: New York: Picador, [2015]

    Find in the library


  • Ridge, John Rollin The life and adventures of Joaquín Murieta : the celebrated California bandit

    London: Penguin Classics, 2018

    Find in the library


  • Sedgwick, Catharine Maria; Karcher, Carolyn L. Hope Leslie, or, Early times in the Massachusetts

    New York: Penguin Books, 1998.

    Find in the library


  • Twain, Mark; Nafisi, Azar; Rasmussen, R. Kent Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

    New York: Penguin Books, 2014

    Find in the library


Online Material:

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance" and “Experience";

Frances E.W. Harper, Poems on Miscellaneous Aspects;

Gene Andrew Jarret, ed. The Wiley Blackwell Anthology of African American Literature (selected texts by Charles W. Chesnutt, Frederick Douglass, and Pauline Hopkins);

Herman Melville," Benito Cereno";

Henry David Thoreau, “Walking";

Ida B. Wells, “Mob Rule in New Orleans".

Reading list revisions