"The Rise of Pragmatism in American Literature" will have as its focus the writers and philosophers responsible for establishing pragmatism and applying its principles in the nineteenth century and beyond. We will begin by defining pragmatism broadly as a movement designed to break American aesthetics away from epistemological absolutism in favor of empiricism. We will explore its roots in the American Renaissance, via selected writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, and Frederick Douglass. We will then study logical outgrowths in Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Harriet Jacobs, followed by careful study of American pragmatism's prime movers: William James and John Dewey. We will examine the philosophy's students and dissenters: Du Bois; Royce; Alain Locke; H.L. Mencken; Robert E. Park; Richard Rorty; Franz Boas; et al. Most important, we will keep returning to the literature informed by or reacting to pragmatism. Beyond those named above, we will study Cather; Chesnutt; Lewis; Stein; Hughes; Hurston; Henry James; Whitehead; Wright; West.

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