Origins of the American Novel
William Hill Brown, The Power of Sympathy / Hannah Webster Foster, The Coquette (Penguin)
Susanna Rowson, Charlotte Temple (Oxford)
Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland (Penguin)
Tabitha Tenney, Female Quixotism (Oxford)
Rebecca Rush, Kelroy (Oxford)
8-12 page paper (includes presentation) 40%
Final Exam 20%
Class Participation/Journal readings 15%
Midterm Exam 15%
Presentation/Discussion of critical article 10%
Though novel reading in America was already quite popular the Revolution, the "American novel," for a variety of cultural, political, and logistical reasons, doesn't emerge until after political independence is well established. We'll be reading and discussing six popular novels, all written between the ratification of the Constitution and the War of 1812, in order to explore the central questions now at issue among critics of early American literature: How do American novelists try to differentiate themselves from their British counterparts? How did a readership for the novel develop? What roles did novels play in establishing/enforcing the cultural, social, and political norms of a new nation? Should Susanna Rowson be considered "the father of the American novel" (among other canonicity issues)? Can modern critical conceptions of "post colonial" or "second world"
literature be profitably applied to American literature of this period? Using these texts and these and other questions, we'll explore the economic, social, political, and cultural factors that created a favorable climate for development of the genre.
T10 - Introduction to the course
W11 - Continued introduction- Discussion: "Susanna Rowson, Father of the American Novel"
R12 - Discussion: The Power of Sympathy
F13 - Discussion: The Power of Sympathy; Presentation/Discussion: "Commodity and
Communication: The First American Novel"
M16 - Discussion: Charlotte Temple
T17 - Reading Day - NO CLASS MEETING
W18 - Discussion: Charlotte Temple; Presentation/Discussion: "Charlotte Temple's Remains"
R19 - Discussion: The Coquette
F20 - Discussion: The Coquette; Presentation/Discussion: "The Coquette Composed"
M23 - MIDTERM EXAM; American Gothic
T24 - Discussion: Wieland
W25 - Discussion: Wieland; Presentation/Discussion: "'Do You Know the Author?': The Question
of Authorship in Wieland"
R26 - Discussion: Wieland; Presentation/Discussion: "The Arm Lifted Against Me: Love, Terror,
and the Construction of Gender in Wieland"
F27 - Discussion: Wieland; Presentation/Discussion: "Construing Brown's Wieland: Ambiguity and
Derridean `Freeplay'"; paper prospectus, conference due
M30 - Discussion: Female Quixotism
T1 - Discussion: Female Quixotism; Presentation/Discussion: "The Parodic Mode and the
Patriarchal Imperative: Reading the Female Reader(s) in Tabitha Tenney's Female Quixotism"
W2 - Discussion: Female Quixotism; Paper progress conferences
R3 - Discussion of Female Quixotism; Presentation/Discussion of Papers-in-progress:
F4 - Independence Day - NO CLASS MEETING
M7 - Presentation/Discussion of Papers-in-progress:
T8 - Discussion of Kelroy
W9 - Discussion of Kelroy
R10 - Papers Due; Discussion of Kelroy
F11 - FINAL EXAM