Dimensions of Literature:
Literature of the Mississippi River
Dr. David Crowe
Students who feel at home on the water and who appreciate great literature will enjoy this three-credit English course. You will read important literature, of course, but also experience some of the most attractive Quad Cities' assets and make connections to the present and former life of the Mississippi River. The longest excursion will take students to Hannibal, Missouri, to see firsthand the connections between Samuel Clemens and his classic novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Explorations closer to home (Augustana) will include:
• Touring the local Mississippi/Rock River confluence in Augustana's oversized pontoon boat, Stewardship.
• Reading and studying on the elegant Twilight, a three-decked Victorian-style steamboat, on a 166-mile stretch of the Upper Mississippi from LeClaire to Dubuque, Iowa.
• Exploring the Mississippi River Aquarium and the Grand Harbor Resort and Water Park in Dubuque.
• Listening to and learning about jazz music and the poetry of Langston Hughes at the River Music Experience in Davenport, Iowa.
• Exploring art of the Mississippi River basin at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport.
• Discussing Black Hawk's autobiography at the Hauberg Indian Museum in Rock Island.
• Celebrating the students' move to the Quad Cities by attending a River Bandits game at Modern Woodmen Stadium, one of the most beautiful riverside ballparks in America.
Students will arrive at Augustana having read at least Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. They will read other texts in three-day stretches, which include weekends and traveling days. These works include:
Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, 1883
Kate Chopin, The Awakening, 1899
Langston Hughes, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" and other poems
Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire, 1947
Black Hawk, Black Hawk: An Autobiography, 1833/2006
William Faulkner, "The Bear," 1942
Students who complete ENGL 208: Dimensions of Literature: Literature of the Mississippi River may substitute this course for Augustana's first English gateway course, ENGL 270: Writing About Literature, if they complete special requirements. Students who wish to complete the three-credit course as a gateway course must read (and pass an exam on) Paul Fussell's Poetic Meter and Poetic Form; write a poetry paper employing proper conventions; and read and discuss with Dr. David Crowe literary criticism on one of the works on the course syllabus. Crowe will oversee these additional requirements during the first three to four weeks of fall term.
Dr. David Crowe has been a member of Augustana's English department for more than 20 years. He earned his master's and doctorate at the University of Minnesota, specializing in American writers who lived in Paris during the 1920s. Today Crowe is interested in the history and literature of the Vietnam War, having traveled twice to Southeast Asia. He is currently writing a book on John Updike and his sense of faith as described by the existentialist thinker Soren Kierkegaard. Crowe has taught and helped lead international study trips to Rome and Paris, and also Vietnam. During the 1999-2000 academic year, he and his family lived in Norway while he taught and studied as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Bergen.
The total cost of $2,600 includes tuition, lodging, meals and all related expenses such as aquarium and water park admission fees. Enrollment is limited to 14.