Fall 2011

The Unprinted Page:  Working with Manuscripts

Listed in: English, as ENGL-415

Formerly listed as: ENGL-95


Karen J. Sanchez-Eppler (Section 01)


This course will focus on the manuscript culture of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America, using manuscripts as a means of thinking about the act of writing, the implications of audience and publication, and the relations between the private and public word. We will study the private forms of diaries and letters. We will look at the traces of the writing process in manuscripts of ultimately published works–the window into the literary creation that manuscripts provide.  We will also confront the problems raised by literary work that was never published during its author’s lifetime, heedful of the questions of social propriety and power that often inform what can and can’t be published.  Texts will include Julia Ward Howe’s The Hermaphrodite, a “closet” manuscript of sexual indeterminancy written in the 1840s and only published in 2004; Hannah Crafts’ The Bondswoman’s Tale, a manuscript novel probably written in the late 1850s by a fugitive slave and first published in 2002; the manuscript books of Emily Dickinson; the posthumous publication process of Ernest Hemingway’s The Garden of Eden and of Sylvia Plath’s Ariel poems; and works like Edgar Allan Poe’s “MS. Found in a Bottle” and Henry James’ The Aspern Papers that tell anxious tales about manuscripts. The heart of the course, however, will be independent research with students drawing on rich local archives to do some manuscript recovering of their own.

Limited to 15 students. Juniors and Seniors only. Fall semester.  Professor K. Sánchez-Eppler.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to senior and junior English majors.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011