For Thursday (9/7) and Tuesday (9/12)

For Thursday, read the poems by Edgar Lee Masters and Edwin Arlington Robinson.  Both poets are often seen as early or “pre” modernist.  I think if we look closely at both, we can see continuities with Adams, Du Bois, and Perkins Gilman – – especially a shared sense of old ways (or “forms”) pressured and fissured by change and disruption.  Make one annotation on at least three different poems by either author.  Can you see the continuities that I think I see?

On Tuesday, we’ll talk about the poems by Robert Frost.  Frost is often seen as the bard of rural, folksy, nature-filled New England.  However, I think he’s a lot more serious and nefarious than this conventional identity.  In fact, I think Frost’s greatest delight is in punking his readers.  Make three annotations on any of his poems – – but perhaps especially “Two Roads,” “Mending Wall,” and “Stopping by Woods” – – and think about moments where Frost seems to go out of his way to undermine or reverse our expectations as readers.

For Tuesday (9/5)

For Tuesday, read Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story – – “The Yellow Wallpaper.”  Make three annotations.  For this round of annotations, let’s focus a little on narrative structure and do some reverse annotations: make one annotation at the end of the story (final page or so), one annotation in the middle of the story (next several pages), and one annotation at the beginning of the story (first page or two).  Start with the last annotation – – noting something surprising or confusing.  Then, work backward – – using the reverse annotations to look for moments related to your last annotation.

For Thursday (8/31)

For Thursday, read the first chapter – – “Of Our Spiritual Strivings” – – of W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk (1903). (If you want to peruse the whole, astonishing book – – free electronic versions can be found here.)

Make three annotations on “Of Our Spiritual Strivings.”  Each of your annotations should focus on this question: What is the connection here between Du Bois and Adams?

For Thursday (8/24)

First, make sure you’ve practiced a few annotations on Phil Levine’s “They Feed They Lion.”

For Thursday (8/24), read and annotate the excerpt chapter – – “The Dynamo and the Virgin” – – from Henry Adams’ The Education of Henry Adams.  (On Friday, I will post an update on work due for next Tuesday, August 24).  Try to finish reading/annotating Adams by Friday (8/25) at noon.

Make three annotations on “The Dynamo and the Virgin.”

Here’s how to annotate this text: Confusion is a critical part of reading – – if you don’t experience moments of confusion or questioning, you’re probably either not reading very seriously or reading something pretty uninteresting.  Your annotations of Adams should focus on moments of confusion in the essay/chapter.  For each annotation, highlight the sentence or sentences (or even individual words or phrases) that seem to be confusing.  Pause and think about why this moment in the text is confusing. Your annotations should explain what makes these moments confusing.


Welcome to English 528/U.S. Literature 1914 – 1960!  This is our motherblog.  Here you’ll find: (most of the) texts for our class; information about our class (click the “syllabus” link to the right, for instance); and frequent updates about what’s happening in class – – reading assignments, writing events, annotation guidelines, etc. Bookmark this site and check back frequently.