American Literature 230-01

2010 Fall Semester

Course Syllabus

MWF 1:00-1:50, Grubbs 301

Instructor: Dr. K. Nichols

E-mail: knichols11@

Office Hours: Grubbs 450
MWF 12:00-12:50;
2:00-3:15; or by appt.

Course Description

This course will survey selected American authors representing the major periods, schools, and traditions in American literary history. Our texts will span the pre-colonial eras (before European colonization in the 1600s) to our contemporary era; include multiple genres (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama); and be race- and gender-inclusive. Some attention will also be paid to the historical/cultural contexts of the literary periods.

Required Texts


NOTE: All major assignments must be completed to pass the course.

Late Papers/Exams Policy:

Late papers will be graded down one letter grade for each day they are late.

Missed exams must be made up just as soon as possible. See me immediately when you return to class.

Extra Credit

Extra credit can be earned by completing one or more of the extra credit assignments listed on the online reading schedule (right column) and/or by attending the visiting writer events sponsored by the English Department. Up to 5 points may be earned (1 pt. per visiting writer/extra credit assignment), with 5 points equaling a half-letter grade added on to your final average. The reports are due the week following the scheduled date of the event.

I urge all students to expand their knowledge and understanding of literature and its cultural contexts by sampling many or all of the approved activities.

NOTE: The reports must be sufficiently detailed and thoughtful
to merit the extra credit.

Class Participation

A successful class depends on your participation--your observations and questions and willingness to explore new ideas in relation to the assigned readings. Therefore, it is crucial that you keep up with the reading assignments. When you get in there and respond to what you have read, literature comes alive.


Attendance is required. Everyone has four pre-excused absences to cover official school business or those difficult times in life that interfere with class attendance, so you do not need to clear absences with me. However, it is a good idea to check with me (or a classmate) to make sure an assignment was not changed while you were gone.

Students who miss more than four classes may be dropped from the roster for "excessive absences."

Plagiarism Policy

Academic honesty is expected of all students. I support the stated policies of the University and the English Department on penalties for plagiarism. Passing off anyone else's work (whether your roommate's or a published article) as your own may result in an F for that paper or an F for the course--or worse for the most egregious cases.

NOTE: I am always willing to help students who are making
good faith efforts to do their own work.

Class Web Pages

The class syllabus and research/writing assignments can be accessed online in the following ways:

Reading Schedule

Paper Directions

Nichols Home Page

Graphics and design by Ann Stretton copyright 2001

Graphics: Ann-S-Thesia; Dingbat Fonts: The Dingbatcave; Fine Art: Eyebalm