Rosemary Fithian Guruswamy
EARLY AMERICAN LITERATURE
Course Description and Syllabus
TEXTS: (In order of reading)
Martin, Wendy, ed. Colonial American Travel Narratives. Penguin.
Melville, Herman. Typee. Oxford University Press.
Sedgwick, Catharine Maria. Hope Leslie. Rutgers University Press.
Carretta, Vincent, ed. The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano. Viking/Penguin.
Andrews, William L., ed. Three Classic African-American Novels. Mentor.
We will be studying the narrative tradition that makes up a large part of the earliest American literature and that develops, in the United States, into the American novel. The three types of narratives we will be studying are travel narratives (as an outgrowth of exploration and migration literature), Indian captivity narratives, and slave narratives. In each case, we will complete our study with the reading of a novel that grew out of the narrative tradition. We will also be reading various other early American and critical texts along the way, which I will distribute in class. In doing all of this, we will try to develop a sensitivity to the cultural situation out of which grew this literary tradition.
HELP:Office = 416 Young Hall.E-mail address = firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone = 831-5285, or call my secretary at 831-5614 and leave a message. I also have voice mail.
Office hours = 10-11 MWF and by appointment. Please note that, as chair of the department, I also have office hours posted on my door for general student use. Feel free to avail yourself of these hours if mine for this class are not convenient for you.
- Class participation and in-class work. 15% of overall grade.
- Three in-class essay exams, one after each section. Each worth 20% of overall grade.
- Annotated bibliography of critical reading in one section (your choice). Worth 25% of overall grade.
Have assigned work read when you come to class. Be sure to bring the appropriate book(s) to class on the days noted.
M Aug. 24: Introduction to course.
W Aug. 26: Travel narrative as a genre. READ Martin, introduction: "Mapping
American Life" (pp.
F Aug. 28: Some early discovery narratives: in-class reading provided.
M Aug. 31: Settling the land. Lecture-discussion. Annotated bibliography
W Sept. 2: READ "The Journal of Madam Knight" in Martin (pp. 49-75).
F Sept. 4: Discussion of Knight.
M Sept. 7: READ Byrd, "The Secret History" in Martin (pp. 78-130).
W Sept. 9: Secret and public: 18th century publication anxiety. Lecture-discussion.
F Sept. 11: CONTINUE Byrd (pp. 130-72).
M Sept. 14: READ Hamilton, "The Itinerarium" in Martin (pp. 174-206).
W Sept. 16: CONTINUE Hamilton (pp. 206-42).
F Sept. 18 CONTINUE Hamilton (pp. 242-82).
M Sept. 21: The 18th century milieu in America and its support of travel. Lecture-discussion.
W Sept. 23: FINISH Hamilton (pp. 282-327).
F Sept. 25: Summing up travel narratives: transition into the 19th century.
M Sept. 28: READ Melville, Typee (pp. 1-110; through Chap. 11).
W Sept. 30: CONTINUE Melville (pp. 111-248; through Chap. 28).
F Oct. 2: FINISH Melville.
M Oct. 5: Review of the travel narrative genre: what happens to it?
bibliographies due. Distribute Winthrop, Model of Christian Charity for reading.
W Oct. 7: TEST on travel narratives.
F Oct. 9: Back to the Puritan beginnings: the Native American problem.
Distribute versions of
M Oct. 12: Preceding the Puritans: John Smith’s Generall Historie starts the Indian captivity genre.
W Oct. 14: Further discussion of Pocahontas.
F Oct. 16: READ Rowlandson in Martin (pp. 1-48). NOTE READING ASSIGNMENT
M Oct. 19: FALL BREAK. NO CLASS.
W Oct. 21: Further discussion of Rowlandson.
F Oct. 23: READ Sedgwick, Hope Leslie. Have whole novel read over break.
M Oct. 26: The growth of the noble savage. Lecture-discussion.
W Oct. 28: CONTINUE Sedgwick discussion.
F Oct. 30: Summing up the Indian captivity narrative. Distribute pages
from Castiglia, Bound and
Determined. Indian captivity narrative bibliographies due.
M Nov. 2: TEST on Indian captivity narratives.
W Nov. 4: Slaves in early America. An entextualized chronological history.
Distribute Selling of
F Nov. 6: Christianity and slavery: in-class speculation.
M Nov. 9: READ Carretta introduction (ix-xxviii).
W Nov. 11: READ Equiano narrative text (Carretta) (pp. 5-112).
F Nov. 13: CONTINUE Equiano (pp. 113-97).
M Nov. 16: FINISH Equiano (pp. 198-236).
W Nov. 18: The slave narrative continues. Excerpts from later narratives.
F Nov. 20: In-class work on the slave narrative genre.
M Nov. 23: Reading Day.
W Nov. 25: THANKSGIVING BREAK. NO CLASS.
F Nov. 27: THANKSGIVING BREAK. NO CLASS.
M Nov. 30: READ Introduction to Andrews (pp. 7-14, to end of top paragraph).
W Dec. 2: READ all of Douglass, Heroic Slave in Andrews (pp. 25-69).
F Dec. 4: Study of Douglass.
M Dec. 7: Continue study of Douglass.
W Dec. 9: Review of slave narrative genre: how it feeds into the African-American novel.
F Dec. 11: Review for third test. Slave narrative bibliographies
The third test will be given during the final exam period, although it will be set up as a one-hour exam to parallel the earlier ones. This will take place in our classroom on Wednesday Dec. 16, 2:00 p.m.