English 4590.08H

19th-Century Popular Literature & New Media

Prof. Jared Gardner

Autumn 2019


office hours (DE 546): by appt. at


Week 1

Tu 8/20


Th 8/22

Popular print and the rise of industrial printing

Readings: Michael Winship, “Manufacturing and Book Production”; Lehuu, “The Elusive Reading Revolution”

Week 2

Tu 8/27

The Birth of the Penny Press: “Fake News” & “True Crime”

Readings: New York Sun Moon Hoax (1835); Poe’s Balloon Hoax; The New York Herald and the murder of Helen Jewett (1836); Lehuu, “Little Sheets of News and Varieties: The Penny Wonder in New York City”

Th 8/29

Mary Rogers & exploring historical newspapers online

Readings: Edgar Allan Poe, "The Mystery of Marie Rogêt" (1842); in-class explorations of the Mary Rogers murder and its coverage in the press

Week 3

Tu 9/3

Visit to the Rare Books & Manuscripts Library w/ Prof. Jolie Braun, Curator at RBML

Working with rare books and the insights derived from exploring primary sources “in the flesh”

Prof. Braun will introduce us to the library’s collection of 19th-century book canvassing dummies and samples, used by book canvassers to market popular books.

Th 9/5

The city mystery genre and Lippard’s Quaker City

Readings: George Lippard, The Quaker City; or, The Monks of Monk Hall (1845) -- Book 1

Week 4

M 9/9

Blog Post #1 due by 3PM

Tu 9/10

Readings: Lippard, The Quaker City (continued)—Book 2; blog posts #1

Th 9/12

Readings: Lippard, The Quaker City (continued); selections from George Foster, New York By Gaslight (1850)—Book 3

QUIZ 1 (Carmen)

Week 5

M 9/16

Blog Post #2 due by 3PM

Tu 9/17

Readings: Lippard, The Quaker City (concluded);  blog posts #2--Books 4 & 5

Th 9/19

Temperance Fiction & Urban Sketches

Readings: selections from T.S. Arthur, Six Nights with the Washingtonians (1843) & Ten Nights in a Bar-room and What I Saw There (1854);  Poe, “The Black Cat” (1843)

Week 6

Tu 9/24

Meet at the Rare Books & Manuscripts Library classroom

Working with primary temperance fiction materials.

Th 9/26

Fanny Fern & the Story Papers

Readings: selections from Fern Leaves (1853)

Week 7

M 9/30

Blog Post #3 due by 3PM

Tu 10/1

Readings: Fanny Fern in the New York Ledger 

Th 10/3

No class meeting-- Carmen discussion

The Ledger and Serial Fiction

Reading: Sylvanus Cobb, selections from “Rosalind Hubert” (1858); Getting started with E.D.E.N. Southworth, The Hidden Hand (1859)

Quiz 2

Week 8

M 10/7

Blog Post #4 due by 3Pm

Tu 10/8

The Ledger and Serial Fiction

E.D.E.N. Southworth, The Hidden Hand (1859)

Th 10/10


Week 9

Tu 10/15

E.D.E.N. Southworth, The Hidden Hand (continued)

Th 10/17

E.D.E.N. Southworth, The Hidden Hand (continued)

Quiz 3

Week 10

Tu 10/22

Illustrated magazines and the Birth of Modern Comics

Meet at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (Sullivant Hall) in the reading room on 1st floor

Th 10/24

Early Dime Novels 1

Selections from Beadle's Dime Novels

Week 11

Tu 10/29

No class: Blog post #5 due by 6 PM

Th 10/31

Understanding the conventions and genres of early Dime Novels and early Comics Magazines

Readings: Blog Posts #5

Week 12

Tu 11/5

Regionalism & “Local Color”

Readings: Joel Chandler Harris, select Uncle Remus tales; Charles Chesnutt, Conjure Tales

Th 11/7

Readings: Charles Chesnutt, Conjure Tales (continued)

Quiz 4

Week 13

Tu 11/12

Readings: Dashing Diamond Dick and Other Classic Dime Novels

Meet at the Rare Books & Manuscripts Library classroom

Th 11/14

Readings: Dashing Diamond Dick and Other Classic Dime Novels (continued)

Week 14

M 11/18

Blog post #6 due

Tu 11/19

Newspaper comics and the birth of the comics strip

Readings: sampler of early comic strips from Yellow Kid to Little Nemo

Th 11/21

Optical toys and the birth of film

Week 15

M 11/25

Blog post #7 due

Tu 11/26

Readings: Blog post #7

Th 11/28


Tu 12/3

Insights into the future from the past of popular culture studies; conclusions

Quiz 5

Th 12/12

Final Paper due (graduating seniors due first thing in the AM)


Required texts

Additional readings will be available on the class’s Carmen site. Other supplementary materials will also be made available on the Carmen site during the course of the term.


In lieu of a midterm, we will have 5 quizzes spread out throughout the semester (roughly every three weeks).  They will cover material from our reading, discussions and lectures. The lowest grade will be dropped. No make-ups allowed for missed quizzes.


We are giong to use the class blog to write about a wide range of materials using different archives and approaches. These will be short, “semi-formal” writings designed to give us the opportunity to encounter lots of different topics and texts. There will be 7 of these throughout the semester.

There will be a final 6-9 page final research paper, one that can build on one or more of the blog posts you have written throughout the semester (or tackle something entirely new). Suggestions and starting places will be distributed along with the paper prompt several weeks before the paper is due.


This is a seminar built around collaborative inquiry and discussion. There will be some lecturing up front and occasionally I will be too excited by some topic to contain myself.  But the heart of the class will be your ideas, questions, opinions, and discoveries, so come prepared every day with things you want to talk about and be prepared to be called on to share them. In addition to discussion in class, we can take advantage of threaded discussion forums on Carmen and blog comments. Active participation in class is most invaluable, but participation on Carmen forums and blog comments will have a positive impact on your participation grade.

        More than three absences will negatively affect your final grade, with a lowering of your participation/attendance grade by a half-letter grade for each absence over 4. (Except in extreme, blood-curdling cases I make no distinction between “excused” and “un-excused” absences, so no need for “excuse notes).


This class has a Carmen component.  This will be the space where announcements, links, resources, and discussion forums will be found. Discussion on Carmen will be governed by the same rules of respect that would apply to our in-class discussions. I reserve the right to censor any posts that I deem insulting, demeaning, or abusive.


The rough grading formula for this class is 25%=quizzes; 30%=blog posts; 20%=participation; 25%=final paper

Electronic devices & readings

Laptops and tablets or other digital readers are acceptable, if used on-task. In fact, I expect you to have your readings with you in class, either on a device or printer out for each class. I also expect you to use devices responsibly in class and remain attentive and engaged with the discussion. Hand-held devices, including smartphones, cannot be used (unless special permission is obtained in advance). Cell-phones must be turned off.

Academic misconduct.  

It is the responsibility of the Committee on Academic Misconduct to investigate or establish procedures for the investigation of all reported cases of student academic misconduct. The term “academic misconduct” includes all forms of student academic misconduct wherever committed; illustrated by, but not limited to, cases of plagiarism and dishonest practices in connection with examinations. Instructors shall report all instances of alleged academic misconduct to the committee (Faculty Rule 3335-5-487). For additional information, see the Code of Student Conduct http://studentlife.osu.edu/csc/. Plagiarism is the representation of another’s writing or ideas as one’s own.  It includes the unacknowledged word for word use and/or paraphrasing of another person’s work, and/or the inappropriate unacknowledged use of another person’s ideas.  All cases of suspected plagiarism, in accordance with university rules, will be reported to the Committee on Academic Misconduct.  

Disability services.

Students with documented disabilities who have registered with the Office of Student Life Disability Services will be appropriately accommodated and should inform me as soon as possible of their needs. SLDS is located in 098 Baker Hall, 113 W. 12th Ave; Tel.: 614-292-3307; VRS: 614-429-1334; Email: slds@osu.edu; Web: slds.osu.edu

Mental Health Services

As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. The Ohio State University offers services to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing. If you or someone you know are suffering from any of the aforementioned conditions, you can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus via the Office of Student Life’s Counseling and Consultation Service (CCS) by visiting ccs.osu.edu or calling 614-292-5766. CCS is located on the 4th Floor of the Younkin Success Center and 10th Floor of Lincoln Tower. You can reach an on call counselor when CCS is closed at 614-292-5766 and 24 hour emergency help is also available through the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK or at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.