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.
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.
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)
FIRST ESSAY DUE FRIDAY 2/26
March 3 The Black Atlantic
The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano
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)
CRITICAL ESSAY DUE MAY 3
TAKE HOME FINAL DUE MAY 10
Reserve Reading List For EL 259
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
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:
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.