Major American Novels

Course Description

In this class, we will be reading and considering a number of the most important or most critically lauded moments in the development of the American novel.


Note About the Texts

All of the texts for this class are available in standard, class-approved editions at the ASU bookstore (except text 2, which is a short story and we will be reading online). However, the first six texts are also available in the public domain. If you prefer to save money or to use an eBook reader, you can download books 1-6 for free at Project Gutenberg. Additionally, any used or new edition of these texts will be acceptable for class.

At the same time, texts 7,8, and 9 are not available in the public domain. As such, you are required to purchase the three, specific editions linked below for these texts. Having coherent page numbers and editions allows us to have class discussions in an organized fashion in the absence of freely available texts.


  1. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850)
  2. "Bartleby the Scrivener" by Herman Melville (1853)
  3. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1885)
  4. Daisy Miller by Henry James (1878)
  5. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (1905)
  6. My √Āntonia by Willa Cather (1918)
  7. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
  8. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952)
  9. Blood Meridian by Cormac Mccarthy (1985)