Philip Gould
Brown University
Early American Literature


This course is designed as an intensive introductory seminar for graduate students in the field of early American studies.  Its purpose is to familiarize students with the major themes and conceptual problems that have shaped this discipline since the postwar era.  We will read in various genres and emphasize historical and cultural contexts for literary texts.  Major literary and critical subjects include: colonial and national cultures, "representative" selves in American letters, sentiment and cultural refinement, race and citizenship, the evolution of romance, the politics of literature/the literature of politics, and the cult of nationalism.


Ed. Andrews, Journeys in New Worlds; Ed. Carretta, Unchained Voices; Fliegelman, Declaring Independence; Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter; Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Ed. Micklus, The Tuesday Club; Rowson, Charlotte Temple.

Course Requirements

First Essay.................................20%
Critical essay.............................30%
Annotated bibliography..............10%
Take home final.........................20%

The first essay is a 5-7 pp. analysis of a literary text (or texts) that provides close reading. The second essay is a 10-12 pp. critical analysis that discusses literary text(s) in light of significant critical/scholarly discourse.

Class Schedule

January 27  Introduction
   De Prospo, "Marginalizing Early American Literature"

February 3  Colonial Women's Autobiography
   Readings from Journeys in New Worlds;
   Critical Readings: Burnham, Stodola (reserve)

February 10  Puritanism, Typology and Historical Ideology
   Mather's Life of John Winthrop (in Bercovitch);
   Jonathan Edwards, Personal Narrative, "Images and Shadows of Divine Things";
   Critical readings: Bercovitch, Breitwieser (reserve)

February17  Sense and Sociability in the 18th Century
   Dr. Alexander Hamilton, History of the Tuesday Club
   The Journal of Madame Knight (in Ed. Andrews)
   Critical readings: Shields, Bushman (reserve)

February 24  The Literature of Politics
   Flieglman, Declaring Independence
   Critical readings: Warner, Looby (reserve)

March 3   The Black Atlantic
   The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano

March 10
   Readings from Phillis Wheatley, Benjamin Banneker, Francis Williams, Ignatius Sancho, Venture
  Smith (in Ed. Carretta)
  Critical readings: Desrochers, Carretta (reserve)

March 17  Conferences for research projects/No class meeting

March 24  Seduction and the Politics of Gender
   Rowson, Charlotte Temple
   Critical readings: Davidson, Stern (reserve)

April 7   Race, Citizenship and the Gothic Novel
   Brown, Edgar Huntly
   Critical readings: Fiedler, Nelson (reserve)

April 14   Romance and "Renaissance"
   Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

April 21  The Hawthorne Industry/ Canonical Politics
   Critical readings from the Bedford edition of TSL

April 28   Desire, Domesticity and the Slave Narrative
   Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
   Critical readings from Ed. Zafar (reserve)




Reserve Reading List For EL 259
(Rockefeller Library)

Barker-Benfield, G. J. The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in Eighteenth-Century Britain.
    Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1992.

Bercovitch, Sacvan. The Puritan Origins of the American Self. New Haven: Yale UP, 1976.

Breitwieser, Mitchell. American Puritanism and the Defense of Mourning: Religion, Grief and
    Ethnology in Mary White Rowlandson's Captivity Narrative. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1990.

Bushman, Richard. The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities. New York: Random
    House, 1993.

Davidson, Cathy N. Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America. New York:
    Oxford UP, 1986.

Fiedler, Leslie. Love and Death in the American Novel. New York: Stein and Day, 1966.

Looby, Christopher. Voicing America: Language, Literary Form, and the Origins of the United
    States. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1996.

Miller, Perry. Errand into the Wilderness. Cambridge, MA.: Harvard UP, 1956.

Nelson, Dana D. The Word in Black and White: Reading "Race" in American Literature,
    1637-1867. New York: Oxford UP, 1992.

Oberg, Barbara and Harry S. Stout. Benjamin Franklin, Jonathan Edwards and the Representation
    of American Culture. New York: Oxford UP, 1993.

Reising, Russell. The Unusable Past: Theory and the Study of American Literature. New York:
    Methuen, 1986.

Rice, Grantland S. The Transformation of Authorship in America. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1997.

Sanchez-Eppler, Kare. Touching Liberty: Abolition, Feminism and the Politics of the Body.
    Berkeley: U of California P, 1993.

Shields, David S. Civil Tongues and Polite Letters in British America. Chapel Hill: U of North
    Carolina P, 1997.

---. Oracles of Empire: Poetry, Politics and Commerce in British America, 1690-1750. Chicago: U
    of Chicago P, 1990.

Stern, Julia A. The Plight of Feeling: Sympathy and Dissent in the Early American Novel. Chicago:
    U of Chicago P, 1997.

Warner, Michael. The Letters of the Republic: Publication and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth
    Century America. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1990.

---. The Origins of Literary Study: A Documentary Anthology. New York: Routledge, 1989.

Zafar, Rafia and Deborah M. Garfield. Harriet Jacobs and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl:
    New Critical Essays. New York: Cambridge UP, 1996.