Heath Anthology of American Literature, 5th ed. Volumes A and B.
In English 251, we'll read literary texts drawn from the time of European exploration of North America through the fracturing of the United States in the 1860s. In reading these texts, we will acquaint ourselves with the difficulties and consequences of European exploration, both intended and unintended, for the native and European populations. The period of English settlement was beset with difficulties, and the dominant status of English language, culture, and laws emerged slowly over the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; this English culture was always a creolized culture, however, inflected by the diverse cultures that populated the New World. Even after the Revolution, the status of the United States remained contingent, fraught by divisive questions about religion, race, slavery, gender, and citizenship. The literature of the Americas explores these issues in a rich and varied fashion, in both prose and poetry.
This is a discussion-oriented class: Students have a responsibility both to speak and to listen to their instructor and their classmates. Students will be expected to participate on a daily basis by engaging in small group and whole class discussions, being attentive to discussions, asking questions, and reading aloud passages from our text.
Student Learning Goals
In this course, students will consider important questions about the development of American literature. By the end of the semester, students will be able to
• describe the historical and cultural contexts in which pre-1865 American literature has been produced by diverse groups of people;
• discuss how literary texts intervened in important political and cultural debates;
• speak and write knowledgably about the different genres used by early writers (such as sermons, captivity narratives, histories, and conversion narratives) as well as more familiar genres such as poetry and fiction;
• explain how aesthetic values changed from the period of settlement through the nineteenth century.
Course Requirements and Evaluation
You must complete and turn in all assignments on the dates that they are due in order to pass this course. The final grade for this course will be based on the following:
First examination 15%
Second examination 15%
Third examination 25%
Class participation 10%
Blackboard discussion posts 10%
Quizzes and in-class writing 5%
Office Hours and Conferences
You are welcome to visit my office at any point during the semester or to schedule an appointment outside of my usual office hours in order to discuss reading assignments, papers, etc.
UNCG Writing Center
The Writing Center (located in 101 McIver Building) is a wonderful resource, and I encourage you to visit it for assistance with your writing. For more information, call 334-3125.
Students with Disabilities
If you would like to request accommodation for a disability that could affect your performance in this course, please contact the office of Disability Services at 334-5440.
In order to enhance communication to our majors, the English Department has established a listserv that we hope you will join. From the computer account through which you receive email, send the following message to firstname.lastname@example.org: Subscribe English-l yourfirstname yourlastname (note that is a lower case L, not the numeral 1, following English).
Academic Integrity Policy
I expect every student to abide by the principles of the Academic Integrity Policy, which appears in the Student Handbook. Students will need to sign the Academic Integrity Pledge on all major work. In addition, you must always properly document any use of another's words, ideas, or research; unacknowledged use of someone else's thoughts is plagiarism. Please use MLA style documentation to document any sources used in written work. Work that is not properly documented will receive a zero; further penalties may be assessed according to the criteria established under the Academic Integrity Policy. If you have questions concerning documentation, please consult me.
As a matter of both courtesy and practicality, I expect students to attend class and arrive on time. Students will be allowed to make up missed work from excused absences only; arrangements must be made in advance of the absence. Grounds for excused absence include such events as illness or death in the family. If you are ill, you should certainly stay home; however, it is your obligation to determine what you have missed. More than two unexcused absences will lower your final grade; each unexcused absence after two will lower your final grade by one-half of a letter grade. If you miss two or more consecutive classes without contacting me, you will be dropped from this course. Ten or more absences, regardless of excuse, may result in a failing grade.
What Can You Expect from Your Professor?
You can expect that I will treat you as an adult, encourage your participation in this class, listen carefully to what you have to say, and challenge your thinking. You can also expect me to evaluate your work fairly, offer constructive criticism and praise of your oral and written work, and return your work in a timely fashion.
Please complete each day's readings before coming to class. In case of inclement weather, you should be guided by UNCG's adverse weather policy. If classes are cancelled for any reason, please continue with the scheduled readings; I will notify you via Blackboard of any schedule adjustments.
M Aug. 15 Course Introduction
W Aug. 17 Exploration and Settlement of the New World: Unless otherwise noted, all readings in the first part of the course are from Volume A: "Colonial Period to 1700," 1-15; Handsome Lake (Seneca) 802-03; "How America Was Discovered" 803-04; Whitman, "Prayer of Columbus" 3021-23 (in Vol. B)
F Aug. 19 "New Spain" 113-119; "Cultural Encounters" 132-34; Columbus 119-20; Journal 120-28
M Aug. 22 English settlement: "Chesapeake" 235-37; "New England" 289-93
W Aug. 24 Smith, 255-57; Description 264-66
F Aug. 26 Bradford, 324-25; from Of Plymouth Plantation 326-43
M Aug. 29 Winthrop, 307-09; from A Model of Christian Charity 309-17
W Aug. 31 Williams, 347-48; "To the Town of Providence" 365-66; skim Key 349-65
F Sept. 2 Bradstreet, 394-95; "The Prologue" 396-97; "The Author to Her Book" 402; "The Flesh and the Spirit" 403-05; "Before the Birth of One of her Children" 406; "To My Dear and Loving Husband" 406-07; "Upon the Burning of Our House" 409-10
M Sept. 5 No Class Meeting: Labor Day Holiday
W Sept. 7 Rowlandson, 437-39; Narrative 440-52
F Sept. 9 Rowlandson, Narrative 452-68
M Sept. 12 Mather, 507-09; from Wonders 509-16
W Sept. 14 First examination
F Sept. 16 No Class Meeting
M Sept. 19 The Great Awakening: "Eighteenth Century" 565-81; Edwards,
645-47; "A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God" 651-55;
W Sept. 21 The American Revolution: "Voices of Revolution and Nationalism," 800-03; Franklin, 804-07; from The Autobiography 805-86
F Sept. 23 Paine, 957-59; The American Crisis 965-70
M Sept. 26 Jefferson, Autobiography 1057-61; Abigail and John Adams, correspondence
W Sept. 28 Freneau, 1211-12; "To Sir Toby" 1217-19; Wheatley, 1238-40; "On Being Brought" 1247; "On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield 1770" 1245-46; "To the Right Honorable" 1243-44
F Sept. 30 Crèvecoeur, 921-22; from Letters, 922-41
M Oct. 3 Early Romanticism: Irving 2143-44; "Rip Van Winkle" 2153-65; "Legend" 2165-84 (switch to Vol. B)
W Oct. 5 The Culture of Reform: Apess, 1459-60; An Indian's Looking Glass 1460-65
F Oct. 7 Emerson, 1578-81; "Self-Reliance" 1621-38
M Oct. 10 No Class Meeting: Fall Break
W Oct. 12 Fuller, 1692-94; from Woman in the Nineteenth Century 1697-1719
F Oct. 14 Thoreau, 1735-38; "Resistance to Civil Government" 1738-52
M Oct. 17 Fitzhugh, 1986-87; "Southern Thought" 1987-96; Fern, 2100-01; "Soliloquy
of a Housemaid," 2103-04; "Independence" 2107; "The Working
Girls of New York" 2107-09
W Oct. 19 Douglass, 1879-81; Narrative 1882-1914
F Oct. 21 Douglass, Narrative 1914-45
M Oct. 24 Stowe, 2547-49; from Uncle Tom's Cabin 2549-76
W Oct. 26 Stowe, from Uncle Tom's Cabin 2576-88
F Oct. 28 Second Examination
M Oct. 31 Romantic Poetry: Three Romantic poets respond to science: Poe, "Sonnet—To
Science" 2529; Dickinson #185 "Faith is a Fine Invention" (Blackboard);
Whitman, "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" 3007
W Nov. 2 Bryant, 2886-88; "Thanatopsis" 2888-89; "The Yellow Violet" 2890-91; Longfellow, 2897-98; "Chaucer" 2903; "The Warning" 2900; Harper, 1997-98; "The Slave Mother" 1999-2000; "Free Labor" 2001-02
F Nov. 4 Whitman, 2920-23; "Preface" 2923-37; "One's-Self I Sing" 2990
M Nov. 7 Whitman, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" 3013-20
W Nov. 9 Dickinson 3042-46; letters 3088-92; N.B.: Dickinson did not title her poems; I'm giving you first lines for ease of identification. "Success is counted sweetest" 3047-48; "These are the days when Birds come back" 3048; "The Soul selects her own Society" 3053; "Some keep the Sabbath going to Church" 3056; "A Bird came down the Walk" 3056-57; "Much Madness is divinest Sense" 3059; "This is my letter to the World" 3059; "This was a Poet—It is That" 3061; "To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee" 3080
F Nov. 11 Dickinson, "I Felt a Funeral, in my Brain" 3051; "After great pain, a formal feeling comes" 3057-68; "I heard a Fly Buzz—when I died—" 3061-62; "The Brain—is wider than the Sky—" 3067; "Because I could not stop for Death—" 3071-72; "The Bustle in a House" 3075-76; "Volcanoes be in Sicily" 3081
M Nov. 14 Draft Workshop
W Nov. 16 Draft Workshop
F Nov. 18 Fiction of the American Renaissance: Poe, 2459-61; "The Tell-Tale Heart" 2492-95; "The Black Cat" 2495-2501
M Nov. 21 Poe, "The Fall of the House of Usher" 2472-85; Essay due
W Nov. 23 No Class Meeting: Thanksgiving Break
F Nov. 25 No Class Meeting: Thanksgiving Break
M Nov. 28 Hawthorne 2242-45; "Young Goodman Brown" 2258-67; "My
Kinsman, Major Molineux" 2245-58
W Nov. 30 Melville, 2621-25; "Benito Cereno" 2669-2726
F Dec. 2 Melville, "Benito Cereno" discussion continued; wrap-up; course evaluations
M Dec. 5 Third Examination (in class portion)
[Take-home portion of the Third Examination due by 9:00 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 9]