Stephen Arch
Michigan State University

Seminar in American Literature to 1900: The Early American Novel

[Comment by Steve Arch:  The edition that I had students prepare was an excellent assignment.  It forced us to discuss the entire process of editing, from the selection or solicitation of texts to questions about production and design and marketing.  It forced students to write an introduction geared for a specific audience (each student designated his/her target audience), and adapt editorial methods for that audience.  It allowed us always, in our reading, to raise questions about the design, production, and usefulness of the editions we had in hand.  This is an assignment that I will use again in Ph.D. courses!]

Texts:  CB Brown, Wieland,
                               Edgar Huntly,
                               Arthur Mervyn
           Tabitha Tenney, Female Quixotism
           Rebecca Rush, Kelroy
           James Fenimore Cooper, The Spy
           Hannah Foster, The Coquette
           Royall Tyler, The Algerine Captive
           Judith Sargent Murray, The Story of Margaretta*
           William Hill Brown, The Power of Sympathy*
           Hugh Henry Brackenridge, Modern Chivalry
           Cathy Davidson, Revolution and the Word

*These two titles are available from the instructor.


Jan. 8    introduction
     13    William Hill Brown, The Power of Sympathy
     15     oral report #1
     20    Judith Sargent Murray, The Story of Margeretta
     22    Brown and Murray (continued)
     27    Hannah Foster, The Coquette
     29    oral report #2

Feb 3     Royall Tyler, The Algerine Captive
      5      Foster and Tyler (continued)
    10      HH Brackenridge, Modern Chivalry
    12              continued
    17      Cathy Davidson, Revolution and the Word
    19              continued
    24      research/conferences
    26      research/conferences

Mar 3     spring break
       5     spring break
    10      Brown, Wieland * "edition" due
    12              continued
    17      Brown, Arthur Mervyn
    19              continued
    24      Brown, Edgar Huntly
    26              continued
    31      Rebecca Rush, Kelroy

Apr 2            continued
       7     research/conferences
       9     research/conferences
    14      Tabitha Tenney, Female Quixotism
    16             continued
    21      James Fenimore Cooper, The Spy
    23             continued.  Brief oral version of critical essay.
    30     * critical/research essay due


a)      2 short oral reports, both due in January

b)      1 "edition" of an early American novel, unpublished in the twentieth century.  I've listed some
          suggestions below, but see also Davidson's Revolution and the Word, which will suggest
          others.  The edition should  include an introduction, contextualizing the author and the novel; a
           note on the text, detailing previous editions and discussing yourls; and a bibliography, listing
           relevant scholarship and criticism on that novel, on that author, and on related topics.

          Ann Eliza Bleeker, The History of Maria Kittle or The Story of Henry and Anne, both in
              Posthumous Works
          Isaac Mitchell, Alonzo and Melissa
          John Neal, Keep Cool
          S.S.B.K. Wood, Julia, and the illuminated Baron
          Enos Hitchcock, Memoirs of the Bloomsgrove Family
          [William Hayley?], Amelia; or, The Faithless Briton
          Susanna Rowson, Reuben and Rachel
          Mrs. Patterson, The Unfortunate Lovers
           [?], The History of Constantius and Pulchera, or Constancy Rewarded
           James Butler, Fortune's Football; or, The Adventures of Mercutio

c)      1 research/critical essay, approximately twenty pages in length, original in scope and design.
          (The introduction to your edition might serve as a beginning here, though the research essay
          will argue on a different level of complexity than will the introduction.)

d)      in-class participation