When: Wednesdays, Jan 16 – Mar 6, 9:45-11:45am
Where: The Hampton Inn
Cost: $195.00 8 sessions – includes reading packet
Instructor: William A. Fry Ph.D
Local Color and Regionalism in American Literature
Local color or regional literature focuses on a specific geographical location of our country and details the characters, dialect, customs, dress, manners, sometimes even the topography and architecture of the setting. The local color movement started just after the close of the Civil War and morphed into regionalism in the early 20th century. American literary scholars, Amy Kaplan in the Columbia History of the American Novel and Richard Brodhead in Cultures and Letters, both argue that the local color movement aided the reunification of America following the Civil War and contributed to the building of a national identity toward the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century. During the early 20th century, this literary emphasis on a particular area of the country and its characters morphed into the movement we speak of as “regionalism.” Think of Frost’s New England, or Faulkner’s South, or Hemingway’s Upper Michigan, or Cather’s Mid-West or Steinbeck’s California. A sense of place is still today an important aspect of contemporary American literature. Join us for a survey of great American authors who have captured the vastly different sections of our country and the characters who have populated these areas.
Week 1: Discussion of the development of the literary movements of local color (1865-1900) and regionalism (20th century and beyond). We will briefly survey major authors of fiction, poetry and drama who have been influenced by these movements from 1865 to the present: Bret Harte, Mark Twain, Kate Chopin, Sarah Orne Jewett, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sidney Lanier, James Whitcomb Riley, Edgar Lee Masters, Erskine Caldwell, Ole Rolvaag, Willa Cather, Thornton Wilder, Zora Neale Hurston, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams to popular contemporary authors such as John Grisham.
Week 2: Mary E. Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930): A New England Nun (1891), a story set in Massachusetts.
Week 3: Ambrose Bierce (1842- 1914): Selected stories set in Tennessee and Louisiana: An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (1888) and The Moonlit Road (1894).
Week 4: Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935) – Selected poetry set in Maine from Children of the Night (1897).
Week 5: Hamlin Garland (1860-1940): Under the Lion’s Paw (1890), a story set in both Wisconsin and South Dakota.
Week 6: Jesse Stuart (1907-1984): The Thread That Runs So True (1949), an autobiography set in Kentucky.
Week 7: Langston Hughes (1902-1967): Cora Unashamed (1933), a story set in Iowa.
Week 8: John Steinbeck (1902-1968): The Chrysanthemums (1938), a story set in California.
Register for A Sense of Place – Tucson Session
Online registration has been closed for this class. Please call (520) 777-5817 for availability.