Jim Egan
Brown University

American and British Identity in 18th Century Literature


The course will examine the problem of identity in selected works from 18th century American and British literature, with our primary focus being on texts traditionally categorized as "American."   We will pay particular attention to selected problems, issues, and contradictions that arise in relation to the figuration of collective identity, especially as these problems relate to concerns regarding the relation between the Great Britain and its colonies in North America.  The aim will be historically contextualized, theoretically informed readings of some complex writings that interrogate the significance of the circulation of figures in English communities across the Atlantic and, indeed, perhaps even around the globe.

Course Requirements:

10%  2-3 page report on the state of research for an author from the course
10%  10-15 minute presentation of report on state of research
10%  2-3 page report on one historical topic
70%  Final Paper (15-20 pages)

Required Texts:

•William Hill Brown, Hannah Webster Foster, The Power of Sympathy and the Coquette  (Penguin
    Classics), ed. Carla Mulford
•J. Hector St. John De Crévecœur, Letters from an American Farmer (Oxford), ed. Susan Manning
•Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (Penguin Classics)
•Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (Penguin Classics), ed. Frank Shuffelton
•Alexander Pope, The Oxford Poetry Library:  Alexander Pope (Oxford), ed. Pat Rogers
Unchained Voices (Kentucky), ed. Vincent Carretta
•Phillis Wheatley, The Collected Works of Phillis Wheatley (Oxford), ed. John Shields

•Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (Verso, Rvd. Ed.)
•Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish (Vintage Bks), trans. Alan Sheridan
•Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic:  Modernity and Double Consciousness (Harvard)
•David Shields, Civil Tongues & Polite Letters in British America (UNC Press)

Schedule of Readings

September 10: Introduction

September 17: Transatlanticism

•Benedict Anderson, from Imagined Communities: "Introduction"; "Cultural Roots"; "The Origins of
    National  Consciousness"; "Creole Pioneers" (1-65)
•Nancy Armstrong and Leonard Tennenhouse, "A Novel Nation;  or, How to Rethink Modern
    England as an Emergent Culture"  (reserve)
•Paul Gilroy, from The Black Atlantic: "Preface" (ix-xi) and "The Black Atlantic as a Counterculture
    of  Modernity" (1-40)
•David Shields, from Civil Tongues & Polite Letters in British  America: "Introduction:  Of Civil
    Discourse and Private Society,"  "Prologue," "Overture:  The Promise of Civil Discourse," and
    "Belles Lettres and Metropolitan Conversation" (xiii-xxxii and 1- 54)

September 24:  Tobacco

•Ebenezer Cooke, The Sot-Weed Factor (reserve)
•James Arbuckle, Snuff:  A Poem (reserve)
•Richard Lewis, "Congratulatory Verses"; "To His Excellency  Benedict Leonard Calvert"; "To Mr.
    Samuel Hastings" (reserve)
•Robert Micklus, "Richard Lewis" (reserve)
•David Shields, "British-American Belles-Lettres" (reserve)

October 1: Class Held at John Carter Brown Library

•Readings to Be Announced

October 8: Crime

•Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders (1722)
•Benjamin Franklin, "On Transported Felons" (reserve) and "Rattle- Snakes for Felons"(reserve)
•Michel Foucault, from Discipline and Punish:  "The Body of the Condemned" and "The Spectacle
    of  the Scaffold" (3-69)

 October 15: Money

•Ebenezer Cooke, "Sotweed Redividus" (reserve)
•Robert D. Arner, "Ebenezer Cook" (reserve)
•Alexander Pope,  "Epistle III, To Allen Lord Basthurst.  Argument"  (reserve) and "An Epistle to
    Allen Lord Bathurst" (Oxford Pope  74-88)
•Philip L. Mossman, "The Economic Relationship Between  England and her North American
    Colonies" (reserve); "Money  in Early America" (reserve); and "Colonial Paper Currency"
•Eric P. Newman, selections from The Early Paper Money of America  (reserve)
•Colin Nicholson, "'Abusing the city's best good men':  Pope's  poetry of the 1730s" from Writing
    and the Rise of Finance (reserve)

October 22: Poetry and the Provinces

•Alexander Pope, "Windsor Forrest" (Oxford Pope 20-31); "The  Rape of the Lock" (Oxford
    Pope 32-53); "Preface to the Iliad"  (reserve)
•Mather Byles, "To an ingenious young Gentleman, on his  dedicating a Poem to the Author";
    "Eternity"; and "Added by a  Friend, upon reading the foregoing" from Poems on Several
    Occasions (reserve)
•Kenneth A. Requa, "Mather Byles" (reserve)
•James Kirkpatrick, "An Epistle to Alexander Pope, esq.; from South  Carolina" (reserve) and "On
    the Settling of Georgia" (reserve)
•A. Franklin Parks, "James Kil(l)patrick (c. 1700-1770)" (reserve)
•David Shields, from Civil Tongues & Polite Letters: "Coffeehouse and Tavern" (55-98)

October 29: Letters and the Republic

•J. Hector St. John De Crevecœur, Letters from an American Farmer:  "Advertisement," etc. (1-8),
    Letters 1, 2, & 3 (11-82), Letter IX (151- 165), Letter XII (187-217)
•Michael Warner, "The Res Publica of Letters" from The Letters of  the Republic (34-72) (reserve)
•Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook, "The End of Epistolarity:  Letters from  an American Farmer"

November 5:   NO CLASS--Conferences

 November 12: Privacy and Publicity

•Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia: Queries IV through VIII (20-94); XI (98-113);
    XIV-XVIII (116-169);  XX-XXIII (172-203); Appendix No. 1 (205-216) and No. 4
    (233-264);  Letters and Documents No. 1 and No. 2 (265-269) & Nos 5  through 10
•Jay Fliegelman, "Private Lives and Public Scrutiny" (120-140);  "Agency and the Invention of
    Responsibility" (140-150); and  "The Oratorical Ideal, Racial Politics, and the Making of
     Americans" (1189-196) from Declaring Independence (reserve)

November 19: The Black Atlantic

•Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative (Carretta 185-318)
•Phillis Wheatley, The Collected Works: "Poems on Various Subjects . . ." (1-9); "To the University
    in Cambridge, New England" (15-16); "To the King's Most Excellent  Majesty" (17); "On Being
    Brought from Africa to America" (18);  "On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield, 1770"
    (22-24);  "An Hymn to the Morning" (56-57); "An Hymn to the Evening"  (58-59); "To the Right
    Honorable William, Earl of Dartmouth"  (73-75); "To S.M., a Young African Painter, on Seeing
    His  Works" (114-115); "A Farewel to America, to Mrs. S.W." (119- 122); "America"
    (134-135); "To A Gentleman of the Navy" (140- 141); "The Answer" (141-142); and "Phillis's
    Reply to the  Answer" (143-144); "To His Excellency General Washington"  (145-146);
    "Reverend and Honored Sir" (176-177); "Sir [George  Washington]" (185); and "Proposals for
    Volumes" (188-193)
•Paul Gilroy, from The Black Atlantic: "Masters, Mistresses, Slaves, and the Antinomies of
    Modernity"  (41-71)

December 3:   Novels

•Hannah Webster Foster, The Coquette
•Bruce Burgett, "Corresponding Sentiments and Republican  Letters" from Sentimental Bodies
    (81-111) (reserve)

December 10: To Be Announced

Deadline For Final Paper To Be Announced