Love House & Hutchins Forum, 410 E. Franklin Street
Professor William Ferris
Office Hours: By appointment
Love House & Hutchins Forum
TA: Sara Camp Arnold
Office Hours: By Appointment, 412 Hamilton Hall
919-345-3171; email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Long before I wrote stories, I listened for stories. Listening for them is something more acute than listening to them. I suppose it’s an early form of participation in what goes on. Listening, children know stories are there. When their elders sit and begin, children are just waiting and hoping for one to come out, like a mouse from its hole.
One Writer’s Beginnings Negro American folk tradition became precious as a result of an act of literary discovery. Taken as a whole, its spirituals along with its blues, jazz and folk tales, it has…much to tell us of the faith, humor and adaptability to reality necessary to live in a world which has taken on much of the insecurity and blues-like absurdity known to those who brought it into being.
“Change the Joke and Slip theYoke”
Shadow and Act The art of telling a humorous story—understand, I mean by word of mouth, not print—was created in America, and has remained at home.
“How to Tell a Story”
I have often been awakened at the dawn of day by the most heart-rending shrieks of an own aunt of mine, whom he used to tie up to a joist, and whip upon her naked back till she was literally covered with blood….The louder she screamed, the harder he whipped;…He would whip her to make her scream, and whip her to make her hush;…It was a most terrible spectacle. I wish I could commit to paper the feelings with which I beheld it.
The Life of Frederick Douglass I just get in the crowd with the people and if they sing it I listen as best I can and then I start to joinin’ in with a phrase or two and then finally I get so I can sing a verse. And then I keep on until I learn all the verses and then I sing ‘em back to the people until they tell me that I can sing ‘em just like them. And then I take part and I try it out on different people who already know the song until they are quite satisfied that I know it. Then I carry it in my memory….I learn the song myself and then I can take it with me wherever I go.
Zora Neale Hurston
Interview with Alan Lomax
This course focuses on Southern writers and explores how they use oral traditions in their work. We will discuss the nature of oral tradition and how its study can provide a methodology for understanding Southern literature. We will consider how specific folklore genres such as folktales, sermons, and music are used by Southern writers, and we will discuss how such genres provide structure for literary forms such as the novel and the short story.
The seminar begins by exploring the nature of folklore and how its study has been applied to both oral and written literature. We will then consider examples of oral history and how they capture the southern voice. We will discuss how nineteenth century slave narratives by Harriet Ann Jacobs and Frederick Douglass and works by Tennessee Williams and Mark Twain deal with local color and black and white southern voices. After these readings, we will consider a rich selection of twentieth century Southern writers and discuss how they use folklore in their work.
Texts: The following texts for the class are available at Student Stores:
Ralph Ellison, The Invisible Man
Walker Evans and James Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
Each student will choose a writer and will present a 15-minute oral report that will include a dramatic reading of the writer’s work. Students will also write a research paper that discusses how oral tradition is developed in the work of a Southern writer. The length of the paper should be 12 pages for undergraduate students and 24 pages for graduate students and is due before the end of exams. Final grades will be based on: topic assignment (10%), working bibliography assignment (5%), the term paper (60%), class presentation (10%), and class participation (15%).
CHOOSE A TOPIC
A one-paragraph description of your topic and reason for choosing this topic (hard copy) are due in class on Thursday, February 17th. This portion of your project is worth 10% of your final grade.
Your paper topic should take a piece of literature we have studied or will study in this class and link it to a Southern oral tradition or an element of an oral tradition. Be creative with your topic and feel free to bring in your Southern, literary, and/or storytelling experience. The optional readings included for each unit in the syllabus provide an excellent source for paper ideas. A document detailing grading criteria for the final project will be provided early in the semester.
Some simple examples include:
Huckleberry Finn and the Element of Travel in Country Music Lyrics
Hurston’s Mules and Men and African American Folk Humor
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and the Southern Art of Conversation
Ray Lum, Mule Trader and the Memorate as Folkloric Form
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and My Grandfather’s Sharecropping Memories
The Color Purple and the Role of Women in Shaping Southern Folklore
Bring a hard-copy list of potential and explored sources to class on Tuesday, March 1st. This should be a working list of at least 5 sources you will reference for your final paper. This portion of your project is worth 5% of your final grade. Office Hour meetings will be scheduled around this time to discuss working paper outlines, as well.
If you would like Sara Camp to carefully review your first draft, bring a hard copy of this final paper draft to class on Thursday, April 7th. It will be returned to you on Tuesday, April 14th with comments. No draft reading will occur after this time. This exercise is recommended, but not required.
You will sign up to share your research in an eight-minute presentation on April 21st and April 26th. Power Point presentations and the use of outside materials are encouraged. (Power Point presentations should be saved to a CD-R to avoid technical problems). This portion of your project is worth 10% of your final grade.
FINAL PAPERS DUE
Your final papers (hard copy) are due on the last day of class, April 26th, by 5pm in the Love House & Hutchins Forum. There will be no extensions granted for the final paper. The final paper will be worth 60% of your grade.
Class participation will be measured by: participation in class discussion and lecture, attendance, and submission of weekly reading questions on Blackboard (this process will be explained in class), and will represent 15% of your grade.
COURSE READING SCHEDULE
The Nature of Oral Literature (January 11, 2011)
Visit from Jacqueline Solis, librarian for the course
Gene Bluestein, “Folklore and the American Character” in the Voice of the Folk, pp. 65-90.
T.S. Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent”
William Ferris, “Folklife,” Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, pp. 451-457.
Charles Reagan Wilson and William Ferris, “Introduction,” Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, pp. xv-xx.
Francis Lee Utley, “Folk Literature: An Operational Definition” in Alan Dundes, The Story of Folklore, pp. 7-24.
Antti Aarene and Stith Thompson, The Types of the Folktale.
Jan Harold Brunvand, The Study of American Folklore.
Alan Dundes, “The Study of Folklore.”
William Ferris, Local Color.
------------------“The Collection of Racial Lore: Approaches and Problems” in New York Folklore Quarterly, Sept. 1971, pp. 261-279.
Melville and Frances Herskovits, Dahomean Narrative, pp. 1-80.
Daniel Hoffman, Form & Fable in American Fiction, pp. 1-98.
Melville Jacobs, The Content & Style of An Oral Literature, pp. 1-70.
Lord, Singer of Tales
Stith Thompson, The Folktale.
Stith Thompson, “Myth and Folktales,” in Myth: A Symposium.
Butler Waugh, “Structural Analysis in Literature and Folklore,” Western Folklore, 1966.
Rene Wellek & Austin Warren, Theory of Literature, pp. 46-47.
Sol Worth, Through Navajo Eyes.
“The Writer’s Sense of Place,” South Dakota Review, Autumn 1975, vol. 13, no. 3.
William L. Andrews, General Editor, Minrose C. Gwin, Trudier Harris, and Fred Hobson, editors, The Literature of the American South: Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself, pp. 169-219, and Harriet Ann Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, pp. 125-152.
Ira Berlin, Mark Favreau, et al., eds. Remembering Slavery: African Americans Talk About Their Personal Experiences of Slavery and Freedom.
William H. Chafe, Raymond Gavins, Robert Korstad, eds. Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South.
Jennifer Lynn Ritterhouse and Robert Gavins, eds. Behind the Veil Project.
Randall Kenan, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead (February 10, 2011)
Visit from Professor Kenan Thursday, February 10
W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk. With a New Introduction by Randall Kenan.
Randall Kenan, “James Baldwin: American Writer.” Lives of Notable Gay Men and Lesbians, ed. Martin B. Duberman.
----------, A Visitation of Spirits: A Novel.
----------, Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century.
Norman Mauskopf and Randall Kenan, A Time Not Here: The Mississippi Delta.
Ralph Ellison, The Invisible Man (February 15 & 17, 2011)
Kimberly W. Benston, ed. Speaking for You: The Vision of Ralph Ellison.
Robert A. Bone, The Negro Novel in America, pp. 197-212.
Harold Bloom, ed. Ralph Ellison (Modern Critical Views).
Gene Bluestein, “The Blues as a Literary Theme,” The Voice of the Folk, pp. 117-140.
Robert Butler, ed. The Critical Response to Ralph Ellison: Critical Responses in Arts and Letters.
John Callahan, et al., eds. The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison. (Modern Library)
John F. Callahan, Ellison's Invisible Man (Bradley Lecture Series Publication).
Jacqueline Covo, The Blinking Eye: Ralph Waldo Ellison and His American, French, German, and Italian Critics, 1952-1971; Bibliographic Essays and a Checklist.
Charles Davis, “The Heavenly Voice of the Black American,” in Anagogic Qualities of Literature, ed. Strelka.
Julia Eichelberger, Prophets of Recognition: Ideology and the Individual in Novels by Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Saul Bellow, and Eudora Welty.
Ralph Ellison, “Change the Yoke and Slip the Joke” in Motherwit, pp. 56-66.
----------, Conversations With Ralph Ellison.
----------, Shadow & Act.
----------, “A Very Stern Discipline,” Harper’s Magazine, March 1967, pp. 76-95.
“Ralph Ellison: His Literary Works and States” (Special Issue) Black World, December 1970.
William R. Ferris, “Black Prose Narrative in the Mississippi Delta: An Overview” in Journal of American Folklore, vol. 85, no. 336, April-June 1972.
Henry L. Gates and Kwame Anthony Appiah, eds. Ralph Ellison: Critical Perspectives Past and Present (Amistad Literary Series).
John Richard Hersey, Ralph Ellison: A Collection of Critical Essays.
Dorothea Fischer-Hornung, Folklore and Myth in Ralph Ellison's Early Works.
R. Jothiprakash, Commitment As a Theme in African American Literature: A Study of James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison (American Black Studies).
Kerry McSweeney, Invisible Man: Race and Identity (Twayne's Masterwork Studies, No 17).
Albert Murray, ed. Trading Twelves: The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray.
Larry Neal, “Politics as Ritual: Ellison’s Zoot Suit” Black World, December 1970, pp. 31-52.
John O’Brien, “Ralph Ellison,” Interviews With Black Writers, pp. 63-78.
Robert G., O'Meally, The Craft of Ralph Ellison.
Robert G. O'Meally, ed. Living With Music: Ralph Ellison’s Jazz Writings. (Modern Library.)
Robert G. O'Meally, ed. New Essays on Invisible Man.
Constance Rourke, American Humor, pp. 70-90.
Edith Schor, Visible Ellison: A Study of Ralph Ellison’s Fiction.
Eric J. Sundquist, ed. Cultural Contexts for Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man: A Bedford Documentary Companion (Bedford Documentary Companion).
Joseph F. Trimmer, A Casebook on Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man.
Jerry Gafio Watts, Heroism and the Black Intellectual: Ralph Ellison, Politics, and Afro-American Intellectual Life.
Richard Wright, Black Boy(February 22 & 24, 2011)
William L. Andrews, et al., eds. Richard Wright's Black Boy American Hunger: A Casebook (Casebooks in Criticism).
Houston A. Baker, Twentieth Century Interpretations of Native Son; A Collection of Critical Essays.
Harold Bloom, ed. Richard Wright (Modern Critical Views).
Robert A. Bone, The Negro Novel in America, pp. 140-159.
----------, Richard Wright.
R. Corrigan & Charles Davis, Richard Wright: His Work, His World, and His Influences (4 vol.).
Michael Fabre, The Unfinished Quest of Richard Wright.
----------, The World of Richard Wright (Center for the Study of Southern CultureSeries).
Michel Fabre and Ellen Wright, eds. Richard Wright Reader.
Henry Louis Gates, ed. Richard Wright: Critical Perspectives Past and Present (Amistad Literary Series)
Ellen Ann Fentress, “Intimate Strangers.” The Oxford American magazine.
Addison Gayle, Richard Wright: A Biography.
Joyce Hart, Richard Wright: Author of Native Son (World Writers).
Keneth. Kinnamon, The Emergence of Richard Wright: A Study in Literature and Society.
Keneth Kinnamon, ed. Conversations With Richard Wright (Literary Conversations Series (Paper).
Keneth Kinnamon, ed. Critical Essays on Richard Wright's Native Son (Critical Essays on American Literature).
Keneth Kinnamon, ed. New Essays on Native Son.
Richard MacKesey, ed. Richard Wright: A Collection of Critical Essays.
Edward Margolies, The Art of Richard Wright
James A. Miller, ed. Approaches to Teaching Wright's Native Son (Approaches to Teaching World Literature (Paper), No 58).
Hayley R. Mitchell, ed. Readings on Native Son (The Greenhaven Press Literary Companion to American Literature)
Arnold Rampersad, ed. Richard Wright: A Collection of Critical Essays (New Century Views).
John M. Reilly, ed. Richard Wright: The Critical Reception.
Hazel Rowley, Richard Wright: The Life and Times.
Margaret Walker, An Interview with Margaret Walker.
Constance Webb, Richard Wright: A Biography.
Robin Westen, Richard Wright: Author of Native Son and Black Boy.
John A. Williams, The Most Native of Sons.
Richard Wright, Bigger Thomas (Major Literary Characters). Designed by Harold Bloom.
----------, Black Boy.
----------, The Long Dream.
----------, Uncle Tom’s Children.
----------, White Man Listen.
Richard Wright: Black Boy
For My People: The Life and Writing of Margaret Walker
Lee Smith, Oral History (March 1 & 3, 2011)
Visit from Ms. Smith Tuesday, March 1
Dannye Romine Powell, “Lee Smith,” Parting the Curtains: Voices of the Great Southern Writers, pp. 395-414.
Lee Smith, The Last Girls.
----------, Fair and Tender Ladies.
----------, The Christmas Letters.
----------, The Day the Dogbushes Bloomed.
----------, The Devil’s Dream.
----------, Fancy Strut.
----------, Family Linen.
----------, Me and My Baby View the Eclipse.
----------, Black Mountain Breakdown.
----------, Something in the Wind.
SPRING BREAK: week of March 7, 2011. Daniel Wallace, Big Fish (March 15, 2011)
Visit from Professor Wallace Tuesday, March 15
Date of Big Fish film screening TBA
Optional readings: Daniel Cross Turner, “The Magical Work of Fiction: An Interview with Daniel Wallace.” storySouth (Spring 2009).
Daniel Wallace, Elynora.
------------, Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician.
------------, O Great Rosenfeld!
------------, Ray in Reverse.
------------, The Watermelon King.
Barrie Wilson, “Big Fish: Understanding Historical Narrative”. Journal of Religion and Popular Culture.
Ernest Gaines, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (March 17, 2011)
B.A. Botkin, Lay My Burden Down.
Mary Ellen Doyle, Voices from the Quarters: The Fiction of Ernest J. Gaines (Southern Literary Studies).
David C. Estes, ed. Critical Reflections on the Fiction of Ernest J. Gaines.
William Ferris, Interview with Ernest Gaines.
Ernest J. Gaines and John Lowe, eds. Conversations With Ernest Gaines. (Literary Conversations Series.)
Ernest Gaines, Of Love and Dust, Bloodline.
Ernest Gaines, “Yale Talk.”
Marcia G. Gaudet, et al., eds. Porch Talk With Ernest Gaines: Conversations on the Writer’s Craft.
Clifton H. Johnson, Paul Radin, and Charles S. Johnson, eds. God Struck Me Dead.
John O’Brien, “Ernest Gaines,” Interviews with Black Writers, pp. 79-94.
George P. Rawick, Unwritten History of Slavery.
Anne K. Simpson, A Gathering of Gaines: The Man and the Writer.
Alice Walker, The Color Purple (March 22, 2011)
Erma Davis Banks and Keith Byerman, Alice Walker: An Annotated Bibliography 1968-1986. Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, vol. 889.
Harold Bloom, ed. Alice Walker.
Harold Bloom, ed. Alice Walker's The Color Purple (Modern Critical Interpretations).
Rudolph P. Byrd. The World Has Changed: Conversations With Alice Walker.
Robert Coles, “To Try Men’ Souls,” in Farewell to the South, pp. 137-141.
----------, “The Revenge of Hannah XXXX.”
Ikenna Dieke, ed. Critical Essays on Alice Walker: (Contributions in Afro-American and African Studies).
William Ferris, Interview with Alice Walker.
Henry Louis Gates, ed. Alice Walker: Critical Perspectives Past and Present (Amistad Literary Series).
Lillie P. Howard, ed. Alice Walker and Zora Neale Hurston: The Common Bond (Contributions in Afro-American and African Studies)
Carol Jago, Alice Walker in the Classroom: ‘Living by the Word.’
Janet J. Montelaro, Producing a Womanist Text: The Maternal As Signifier in Alice Walker's the Color Purple (Els Monograph Series, No 70).
John O’Brien, “Alice Walker,” Interviews With Black Writers, pp. 185-212.
John O’Brien, Interviewing Black Writers.
Louis H. Pratt and Darnell D. Pratt, Alice Malsenior Walker: An Annotated Bibliography, 1968-1986.
Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens.
Alice Walker, Once & Revolutionary Petunias.
Alice Walker, “To Hell with Dying,” Black & White: Stories of American Life, edited by Carol Anselment and Donald B. Gibson, pp. 190-198.
Eudora Welty, Selected Stories (March 24 & 29, 2011)
Alfred Appel, Jr. A Season of Dreams: The Fiction of Eudora Welty.
Rene Paul Barilleaux, ed. Passionate Observer: Eudora Welty Among Artists of the Thirties.
Louise Blackwell, “Eudora Welty: Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases in The Golden Apple,” Southern Folklore Quarterly, vol. 30, 1966, pp. 332-337.
Harold Bloom, ed. Eudora Welty (Modern Critical Views: Contemporary Americans).
Barbara H. Carson, Eudora Welty: Two Pictures at Once in Her Frame.
Laurie Champion, ed. The Critical Response to Eudora Welty's Fiction: (Critical Responses in Arts and Letters).
Albert J. Devlin, Eudora Welty's Chronicle: A Story of Mississippi Life.
http://faulkner.lib.virginia.edu/ *April 6-April 24, 2011: Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn will be at Playmakers Theater. Professor Ferris will be giving a talk at one of these performances, date TBA. We will look into getting tickets to the show for interested students in our class.
Elizabeth Spencer, The Light in the Piazza and Other Italian Tales (April 7 & 12, 2011)
Visit from Mrs. Spencer Thursday, April 7
Barbara Miles, ed. Elizabeth Spencer: A Writer Born, a Collection of Critical and Personal Perspectives. Introduction by Robert Phillips.
Elizabeth Spencer, Jack of Diamonds: And Other Stories.
----------, Landscapes of the Heart: A Memoir.
----------, The Light in the Piazza and Other Italian Tales (Banner Books). Illustrated by Robert Phillips.
----------, This Crooked Way (Voices of the South).
----------, The Night Travellers (Voices of the South).
----------, On the Gulf (Author and Artist Series). Illustrated by Walter Anderson.
----------, The Salt Line (Voices of the South).
----------, The Snare: A Novel. Illustrated by Peggy Whitman Prenshaw.
----------, The Stories of Elizabeth Spencer.
----------, The Voice at the Back Door (Voices of the South)
Peggy Whitman Prenshaw, ed. Conversations With Elizabeth Spencer.
--------------------------------, Elizabeth Spencer. Twayne's United States Authors Series, no. 488.
Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (April 14 & 19, 2011)
Catherine M. Arnott, File on Tennessee Williams (Writers on File)
Emmanuel B Asibong, Tennessee Williams: The tragic tension : a study of the plays of Tennessee Williams from "The glass menagerie" (1944) to "The milk train doesn't stop here anymore" (1966)
Roger Boxill, Tennessee Williams (Macmillan modern dramatists)
John Anderson Brayton, The ancestry of Tennessee Williams
Senata Karolina Bauer-Briski, The Role of Sexuality in the Major Plays of Tennessee Williams
Harold Bloom, Tennessee Williams (Bloom's Modern Critical Views)
----------, Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations)
George W. Crandell, Tennessee Williams: A Descriptive Bibliography (Pittsburgh Series in Bibliography)
----------, ed., The Critical Response to Tennessee Williams (Critical Responses in Arts and Letters)
Albert J. Devlin, et al, The Selected Letters of Tennessee Williams, Volume II: 1946-1957
Tennessee Williams, Albert J. Devlin, Conversations With Tennessee Williams (Literary Conversations Series)
Signi Lenea Falk, Tennessee Williams (Twayne's United States Author Series, 10)
orman J Fedder, The influence of D. H. Lawrence on Tennessee Williams,
Anne Fleche, Mimetic Disillusion: Eugene O'Neill, Tennessee Williams, and U.S. Dramatic Realism
Donahue Francis, The Dramatic World of Tennessee Williams.
Alice Griffin, Understanding Tennessee Williams (Understanding Contemporary American Literature)
Robert F. Gross, Tennessee Williams : A Casebook (Casebooks on Modern Dramatists, Volume 28)
Drewey Wayne Gunn, Tennessee Williams, a bibliography (Scarecrow author bibliographies ; no. 48)
Robert Hauptman, The Pathological Vision: Jean Genet, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, and Tennessee Williams (American University Studies. Series III, Comparative Literature, Vol. 5)
Ronald Hayman, Tennessee Williams: Everyone Else Is an Audience
Greta Heintzelman, Alycia Smith Howard, Tennessee Williams A To Z: The Essential Reference To His Life And Work (Critical Companion)
A Portrait of the Artist: The Plays of Tennessee Williams (Literary Criticism Series)
W. Kenneth Holditch, Richard Freeman Leavitt, Tennessee Williams and the South
Esther M Jackson, The broken world of Tennessee Williams
Gulshan Rai Kataria, The Faces of Eve: A Study of Tennessee William's Heroines
Philip C. Kolin, ed., The Tennessee Williams Encyclopedia
-----------, ed., Confronting Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire: Essays in Critical Pluralism (Contributions in Drama and Theatre Studies)
-----------, ed., Tennessee Williams
Richard F. Leavitt The World of Tennessee Williams