AM 260-001: American Bestsellers and Popular Culture (3)
From Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1851-52) to Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code (2003), American bestsellers have much to tell us about the social, political, and commercial preoccupations of our society. In this course, we will read examples of popular American novels from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as a means of studying both the publishing industry and popular culture. In addition to reading the novels themselves, we will consider illustrations and critical receptions, and watch one or two related films. Supplementary readings will focus on such topics as bestseller lists, "middlebrow" genres (including the romance and the western), and the role of the Book-of-the-Month Club. Students can expect to write several short papers and take mid-term and final exams.
SYLLABUS (coming in the Fall)