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Course Info

  • Course Number / Code:
  • 21L.501 (Fall 2006) 
  • Course Title:
  • The American Novel 
  • Course Level:
  • Undergraduate 
  • Offered by :
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
    Massachusetts, United States  
  • Department:
  • Literature 
  • Course Instructor(s):
  • Prof. Sandy Alexandre 
  • Course Introduction:

  • 21L.501 The American Novel

    Fall 2006

    Course Highlights

    21L.501 The American Novel

    Fall 2006

    A colored lithograph of a black girl and white girl, sitting affectionately with one another.
    Topsy and Eva, respectively, two characters from Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. The quote below the illustration is said by Eva to Topsy, "I love you, because you haven't had any father, or mother, or friends;-because you've been a poor, abused child!" (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction number: LC-USZC4-2974 [color film copy transparency].)

    Course Description

    This course explores the metaphorical, historical, social, and psychological value of ghosts in the American novel. Using the theme of "haunting" as a flashpoint for class discussion and a thematic center for our readerly attention, this course examines the American novel in the context of the various histories which might be said to haunt fictional characters in the American novel, to haunt the American novel itself, and ultimately to haunt us: America's colonial past, its slave past, and other memorable and painful chapters in its past.

    Recommended Citation

    For any use or distribution of these materials, please cite as follows:

    Sandy Alexandre, course materials for 21L.501 The American Novel, Fall 2006. MIT OpenCourseWare (, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Downloaded on [DD Month YYYY].


This course content is a redistribution of MIT Open Courses. Access to the course materials is free to all users.

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