Early American Literature, 1492-1800|
Spring 2013 not offered
This course considers a wide variety of texts, from the first European representations of the "New World" to the rise of a new national literature that self-consciously attempts to represent the aspirations, tensions, and unresolved contradictions of the newly formed "United States" 300 years after first contact. Beginning with the premise that experience is discursive--that how we represent the world shapes what we experience as the world--we will give close attention to the language, metaphors, and literary conventions used by European explorers and colonists in their first encounters with the Americas. Early readings will include several genres, such as captivity narratives (Cabeza de Vaca, Rowlandson, Equiano), public histories (Bradford), and spiritual memoirs (Bunyan, Taylor) that provide a historical context and conceptual frame for understanding the range of expressive possibilities available to the writers of the early national era. In the second half of the course, we will consider how these writers adapted, expanded, and contested earlier forms in their efforts to create imaginative literature that expressed (sometimes unintentionally) the preoccupations of the new nation. We will read a comic drama (Tyler), several seduction novels (Brown, Foster, Rowson), and a gothic novel (Brockden Brown). All works that contribute to and help constitute contemporary debates about national identity, individual agency, and various threats (real or imagined) to the new nation.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)
Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, THE RELATION OR CHRONICLE OF THE NARVAEZ EXPEDITION,
William Bradford, OF PLYMOUTH PLANTATION
Anne Bradstreet, THE TENTH MUSE
John Bunyan, PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
Mary Rowlandson, THE SOVEREIGNTY AND GOODNESS OF GOD
Olaudah Equiano, NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE
Phillis Wheatley, POEMS
Benjamin Franklin, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND OTHER WRITINGS
Tyler, THE CONTRAST
Brown, THE POWER OF SYMPATHY
Rowson, CHARLOTTE TEMPLE
Foster, THE COQUETTE
Brockden Brown, WIELAND AND MEMOIRS OF CARWIN THE BILOQUIST
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Essay One: formal analysis (close reading) of a primary text, 3-5 pages.
Essay Two: comparative analysis of two or more primary texts, 5-7 pages.
Final Archival/Editorial Project: electronic publication of a primary text from the period, including annotations, relevant bibliography, and introductory essay written by class members. This project will require at least one visit to Olin Special Collections and possibly to other archives in the area (Davis Art Center, Wadsworth Athenaeum, Yale Art Gallery).
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
This course fulfills the Literary History II major requirement and contributes to the fulfillment of the American Literature concentration of the English major.
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