Professor LaRene Despain
In this course we will make a complete if abbreviated, survey of American literature, beginning with accounts of explorations (Spanish, French, English) and ending with four contemporary novels. The emphasis will be on the diversity of the American tradition and the literature that has come from it. I will attempt to place the literature in the political, cultural, and aesthetic backgrounds which produced it. The course will be roughly chronological, but I will also pay attention to the development of various genres.
Following is a detailed schedule for the first term (until the Christmas break) and a general schedule for the rest of the year. After the schedule, I have given a description of written work required for the course. The course demands a fair amount of reading, thinking, and analysis. I will give some lectures, but much of the course will be carried on by class discussion. We will look at the texts in detail.
For the first term, all readings (except for the novels) are from the Heath Anthology of American Literature, Volume I. Ten copies of this anthology are available in the department library. The three novels: The Last of the Mohicans, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and The Scarlet Letter, are also available in the library. There are 15 copies of Letter besides three copies of a special edition containing critical articles. There are three copies of each of the other two.
October 24: Europeans consider Native Americans, and Native Americans consider Europeans:
October 29 and October 31: The Last of the Mohicans
November 5: Puritanism:
November 7: Theoretical underpinnings of the new nation:
November 12 and 14: Transcendentalism and Emerson:
November 19: Margaret Fuller, Read "Summer on the Lakes, and "Woman in the Nineteenth Century, page 1590-1626.
November 21: The Place of Women:
November 26: Henry David Thoreau:
November 28: Abolitionist Literature:
December 3-5: Read Afro-American narratives, pp. 679-728; 1637-1750; and p. 2584, Clotelle, p. 2628, Our Nig, and Harper's pieces, especially Iola Leroy.
December 10 and 12: Continue with Afro-American narratives and read Uncle Tom's Cabin
December 17 and 19: The Scarlet Letter
Schedule for 2nd and 3rd Terms
Jan 14-16: Continue with Scarlet Letter
Jan 21-23: The short story: Poe, Hawthorne, Melville
Jan 28-30: Henry James
Feb 4 and 6: Sister Carrie
Feb 11-Feb 20: The short story:
Feb 25-27: Poetry:
Mar 3-Mar 24: Poetry:
Mar 31-Ap 2: Short Stories:
Ap 7-Ap 16: Faulkner, Sound and the Fury, along with critical articles.
May 5-7: Invisible Man
May 12-14: Woman Warrior
May 19-21: Love Medicine
May 26-28: Beloved