Course name: Appalachian Literature*
Department, course #, level: English 389, undergraduate
Semester(s) and year(s) taught (without significant variation): Fall 1997, Fall 1998, and Fall 1999
Institution: West Virginia University Institute of Technology
Instructor(s): Howard Kuhn
3204 Orndorff Hall
West Virginia University Institute of Technology
Montgomery, WV 25136-2436

(304) 442-3301

English 389

Appalachian Literature

Howard Kuhn
West Virginia University Institute of Technology
11:00-11:50 MWF, 33204 Orndorff

Required Texts:

Benedict, Pinckney. Town Smokes. Princeton: Ontario Review, 1987.
Berry, Wendell. Collected Poems, 1957-1982. San Francisco, North Point, 1984.
Giardina, Denise. Storming Heaven.. New York: Ivy, 1987.
Mason, Bobbie Ann. Shiloh and Other Stories. New York: Harper, 1985.
Pancake, Breece D'J. The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake. New York: Holt, 1984.
Philips, Jayne Anne. Machine Dreams. New York: Pocket Books, 1992.

Optional Texts:

Arnow, Harriette. The Dollmaker. New York: Avon, 1976.
erry, Wendell. The Memory of Old Jack. San Diego: Harcourt, Harvest, 1974.
Grubbs, Davis. Night of the Hunter. New York: Zebra, 1990.
McKinney, Irene. Six o'clock Mine Report. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh, 1989.
Yeager, Chuck and Leo Janos. Yeager. New York: Bantam, 1986.


Aug 18
Enrollment, Syllabus

Aug 20, 23, 25, 27, 30
Giardina, Storming Heaven

Sept 1
Oral reports, Giardina

Sept 3, 8, 10, 13, 17
Berry, Collected Poems, 1957-1982

Sept 6
Labor Day

Sept 20
Oral reports, Berry

Sept 22, 24, 27, 19, Oct 1, 4
Mason, Shiloh and Other Stories

Oct 6
Oral reports, Mason

Oct 8
Midsemester exam

Oct 11, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22
Phillips, Machine Dreams

Oct 27, 29, Nov 1, 3, 5, 8, 10
Pancake, The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake

Nov 12
Oral reports, Pancake

Nov 15, 17, 19, 29, Dec 1, 3
Benedict, Town Smokes

Nov 22, 24, 26
Thanksgiving vacation, no classes

Nov 29
Written reports due

Dec 6
Oral reports, Benedict

Dec 8
Last class; review of final exam material

Final Exam: 10:00-11:50, Wednesday, December 15

Course Objectives:

The objectives of this course are (1) to acquaint students with recent poetry and fiction written about Appalachia mainly by Appalachians; (2) to explore what Loyal Jones calls "Appalachian values" as illustrated in these writings; (3) to examine the extent to which urban and rural Appalachians are alike in this literature, and the extent to which yesterday's people resemble today's.

Attendance Policy:

Regular attendance is required, so that you can contribute to the class. More than two unexcused absences by midterm and more than four by the end of the term ordinarily reduce grades by five percentage points. See your instructor about lengthy or unavoidable absences to make appropriate arrangements.

Graded and Ungraded Work:

Students are encouraged to keep a journal of ideas in response to their reading and to class discussions. What students write in their journals is their own affair; however, the material will probably be important for oral reports, papers, and exams.

Oral reports on the various works will be done by students in groups 2, 3, or 4. Your instructor will try to give students as much choice as possible in choosing a work and a report group to work with. Oral reports will be done at least once during the semester by each student in the class. Possible points: 50

Each student is to turn in a written report on one of the books listed among the optional texts above. The report is to be in the form of a brief summary and a critique of the Appalachian qualities of the work. These reports are due November 29. If outside sources are used, they need to be acknowledged with the MLA method (parenthetical documentation, list of works cited).

Extra Credit:

Students may earn up to 50 bonus points by doing one or more of the following:

(1) original fiction or poetry dealing with Appalachian theme;

(2) a book report similar to the required term report listed above, on any work of Appalachian poetry or fiction; see your instructor if you need ideas:

(3) a review of a movie dealing with Appalachian themes, e.g., The Dollmaker, Night of the Hunter

Grading Scale:

90-100% of all possible points, A; 80-89%, B; 70-79%; C; 60-69%, D; 0-59% F.

*This syllabus was first published in Chris Baker, ed, Appalachian Studies: Syllabus Guide and Teaching Materials, American Sociological Association Resource Materials for Teaching series, 1997. Thanks to Chris Baker for his help with its reproduction in this archive.

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