The object of study in this course is literature by Missouri Writers. We will read the works of literature in themselves but also as products of Missouri, and will follow that idea where it leads us. For each work, we will ask ourselves what knowing it’s from Missouri can tell us about it and what it can tell us about Missouri. That is, we will read these works both as products of a place that may have shaped them in particular ways and also as documents that can tell us about things about that place. Whether they are writers from what was once thought of as the last Eastern city (St. Louis), the first Western City (Kansas City), from the African-American communities in the state or from “Little Dixie,” whether they lived on the river, on a farm, or in a city, the writers we will read created art that can help reflect and reflect on the places they were from.
Writers we read may include William Wells Brown, Mark Twain, Kate Chopin, T. S. Eliot, Sterling A. Brown, Marianne Moore, Langston Hughes, Tennessee Williams, Jack Conroy, John Williams, Lanford Wilson, Maya Angelou, Redd Foxx, Dick Gregory, William Gass, Naomi Shihab Nye, Carl Phillips, William Least-Heat Moon, John Neihardt, Calvin Trillin, and Jane Smiley.
Assignments will include daily reading, daily reading journals, quizzes if necessary, and a final paper. English 2310 is a core course for the Minor in Missouri Studies.