Course Description

IN PERSON: Winner of the 2016 National Book Award and the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for literature, "The Underground Railroad" is a tour de force. Defying easy classification, it draws on author Colson Whitehead’s knowledge of historical materials and his imaginative reconfiguration of them. His central conceit—the invention of an actual subterranean railroad system on which an enslaved girl escapes from a Georgia plantation—is the vehicle that drives the novel. Whitehead does not shy away from the horrors of the period but counters them by showing the resistance and ingenuity of many. We will give this novel the close analytical reading it deserves and discuss, among other things, its wide array of characters, compelling narrative, episodic structure and historical underpinnings, and the points it makes about America, past and present. We will also read sections of “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” a slave narrative that is set in North Carolina and has analogues to Whitehead’s novel. | Facilitated discussion.

Max enrollment: 15.

Location: Judea Reform Congregation, 1933 W. Cornwallis Rd, Durham NC 27705

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Section Title
"The Underground Railroad": A Literary Journey
Classroom - In Person
1:30PM to 3:00PM
Jan 31, 2023 to Apr 04, 2023
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Classroom - In Person  
Course Fees
Section Notes

To effectively take part in class discussion of "The Underground Railroad," students should use the paperback edition cited.

Required reading:
Colson Whitehead, "The Underground Railroad" (9780345804327)
Recommended reading:
Harriet Jacobs, "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" (9781660311590)

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