Christopher Jones
Allentown College



Burroughs, Stephen. The Memoirs of Stephen Burroughs. [1798] Northeastern UP. 1988.
Cabeza de Vaca, A. Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America. [1542] New Mexico UP,
Equiano, Olaudah. Equiano's Travels. [1789] Heinemann, 1967.
Lauter, Paul et al. Heath Anthology of American Literature, Vol. I. 2nd. Ed. D.C. Heath, 1994.
Tenney, Tabitha. Female Quixotism. [1801] Oxford UP, 1992
Xeroxes as needed.

Course Description:

A "survey" of sorts in the early literature of America before 1800. Beginning with Native American myths that predate European arrival, we will work our way roughly chronologically through various narratives that explore the land, the self, and early culture of North America and the United States. As early American literature is a true mix of historical, religious, autobiographical, and "literary" texts, you will be reading everything from journals to historical records to memoirs to early fiction. There are four primary questions we will come back to again and again: 1) How do the writers present and perceive North America? 2) How do they present and perceive the Self? 3) How do they perceive their community and the Other? 4) How do their narratives work?

Course Objectives:

To improve your critical thinking, reading, and writing skills.
To explore the fundamental forces that shaped Early America and the United States.
To understand the questions and problems in reading historical and literary texts.

Methods & Procedures

The course will be a discussion/lecture course. We will also break up into discussion groups and each group will also have turn in leading a class.

Requirements & Evaluation

You will be graded on the average of the following assignments on the 4.0 scale published in the Allentown College Bulletin with the following weights:

Mid-Term 20%
Final Paper 20 %
Final 20%
Class Participation and Group Class 20 %


You should attend all classes prepared to discuss the material. 3 or more absences will lower your class grade and 6 or more absences will fail the course.

Assignments & Schedule

W8/27 Introduction: Syllabus, Overview

NATIVE AMERICAN/"DISCOVERERS" (pre-Europe/late 1400's/1500's)

F 8/29 Native American myths, Heath: "This Newly Created World"; "The Coming of the Spanish . . . "; "Iroquis or Confederacy . . ."; "Raven and Marriage"


W 9/3 Christopher Columbus, from "The Journal of the First Voyage to America"

F 9/5 Cabeza de Vaca, Proem, Ch. 1-Ch. 14

M 9/8 Cabeza de Vaca, Ch. 15-Ch. 32

W 9/10 Cabeza de Vaca, Ch. 33-Ch. 45

F 9/12 Cabeza de Vaca, Ch. 46-Ch. 57


M 9/15 John Smith, Heath, pgs. ?

W 9/17 The Puritans/ John Winthrop, Heath, pgs. ?

F 9/19 William Bradford, from Plymouth Plantation, Heath

M 9/22 Bradford

W 9/24 Mary Rowlandson,

F 9/26 Richard Frethorne, "Letters"; Thomas Morton, from New English Canaan

COLONIAL AMERICA (early 1700's)

M 9/29 Jonathan Edwards, from Personal Narrative; "Sinners in the Hands..."

W 10/1 Sarah Kemble Knight, "The Journal of Madame Knight"

F 10/3 Elizabeth Ashbridge, from Some Account of the Early Part of the Life . . .

M 10/6 Review


F 10/10 Open



W 10/15 Benjamin Franklin, from The Autobiography, Part One

F 10/17 Benjamin Franklin, from The Autobiography, Part Two

M 10/20 Crevecouer, from Letters from an American Farmer

W 10/22 Crevecouer, from Letters from an American Farmer

F 10/24 Jefferson, from Notes on the State of Virginia; "First Inaugural Address"


M 10/27 Tenney, Female Quixote, pgs. 1-96

W 10/29 Tenney, 96-151

F 10/31 Tenney, 152-220

M 11/3 Tenney, 220-326

W 11/5 Burroughs, The Memoirs of Stephen Burroughs, 1-51

F 11/7 Burroughs, 52-99

M 11/10 Burroughs, 100-191

W 11/12 Burroughs, 192-246

F 11/14 Burroughs, 247-281

M 11/17 Burroughs, 282-367

W 11/19 Equiano, Ch 1-Ch. 3

F 11/21 Equiano, Ch. 4-Ch. 7

M 11/24 Equiano, Ch. 8-Ch. 11

W 11/26 Equiano, Ch. 12-Ch. 14


M 12/1 Open?

W 12/3 Essay Topics

F 12/5 Draft of Final Essay

M 12/8 Conferences on Final

W 12/10 Conferences

F 12/12 FINAL PAPER DUE/Review