This is the class website for EN203 Major American Writers: Three Decades of New York City, taught by Professor Jean Lee Cole at Loyola University Maryland (Fall 2017). The course examines literary representations of New York during the 1850s, 1890s, and 1920s.
In the 1850s, New York came into its own as a major U.S. city, alongside Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. In the 1890s it became the quintessential U.S. city in the popular imagination. And in the 1920s it became a major international city, joining cosmopolitan cities such as London, Paris, Vienna, and Berlin as producers and arbiters of culture. The city's constant growth and change made it a frequent subject of fiction and poetry.
In the course, we examine how writers including Walt Whitman, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Stephen Crane, Abraham Cahan, and Langston Hughes represent New York City in the American mind. We also turned to magazines from the period to gain a contemporary glimpse of the city. Many of the items in the class collections are photographs of these magazines taken and annotated by students. You may view the collections of items for each of the three decades or browse individual items as they are posted.
During the Fall 2017 semester, the class developed the Mapping NYC Lit section of the site features maps of literary works assigned in the course, explaining the importance of locations and settings for thematic interpretation and character analysis. These maps use KnightLabs' StoryMap platform and are individually linked under the "Mapping NYC Lit" tab.
All exhibits and items appearing on the site were collected and produced by undergraduate students at Loyola University Maryland.