Professor Karen Weyler
English 251W-05: American Literature Survey
Office: McIver 109
Heath Anthology of American Literature, 4th ed., Vol. 1
Our objective in English 251 is to introduce you to representative writings from the geographical area that would become known as the United States, from the time of European exploration through 1865. By 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 likewise fraught 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, 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, which means that students will be expected to participate on a daily basis, by participating in small group and whole class discussions, being attentive to discussions, asking questions, recording responses on the board, and reading aloud passages from our texts.
Student Learning Goals
In this writing-intensive course, students will write frequently, both formally and informally. We will use writing as a means of exploring important questions about the development of American literature. Students will write multiple drafts of assignments; through conferences with the professor and peer editing sessions, students will receive and incorporate constructive criticism to improve their written work. By the end of the semester, students will understand the historical and cultural contexts in which pre-1865 American literature has been produced by diverse groups of people, as well as the various genres in which Americans have expressed themselves. By the end of the semester, students will be able to write clearly, coherently, and insightfully about pre-1865 American literature.
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:
In-class and on-line writing 10%
Class discussion 10%
Oral presentation/Written report 10%
Mid-term examination 15%
Final examination 20%
Two short essays (2-3 pages), each worth 10% 20%
5-6 page essay (an expansion of a short essay) 15%
You may choose to visit the University Writing Center (located in 101 McIver Building) for additional assistance with your writing. For more information, call 334-3125.
Office Hours and Conferences
At the beginning of the semester, I will schedule brief (10 minute) introductory conferences in my office so that we will have a chance to meet and speak individually. You are also 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.
English majors should subscribe to the departmental email list to receive information about the major. 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 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.
I expect students to attend class and arrive on time. Since we will frequently use class time for discussion, your presence is important to the success of the class as a whole. Students will be allowed to make up missed work from excused absences only. Grounds for excused absence include such events as illness or death in the family. 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. Seven or more absences, regardless of excuse, will result in a failing grade. It is your responsibility to determine what you have missed.
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 written work, and return your work in a timely fashion.
Please note that this syllabus is subject to change. In the event of inclement weather, you should be guided by the UNCG adverse weather policy.
T Jan. 15 Course Introduction
Th Jan. 17 Exploration and Settlement of the New World: "Colonial Period to 1700," 1-17; Columbus, 107-08; Journal 108-16; Handsome Lake 780-81; Whitman, "Prayer of Columbus" 2949-51
T Jan. 22 de Vaca, 119-20; Relation 120-31; Smith, 242-44; Generall Historie 245-50; Description 251-53
Th Jan. 24 Bradford, 311-21; from Of Plymouth Plantation 313-34; Report: The New England Primer
T Jan. 29 Winthrop, 294-96; from "A Model of Christian Charity" 296-304; Williams, 335-36; skim Key 337-53; read "To the Town of Providence" 353-54; Report: Winthrop on different kinds of liberty
Th Jan 31 Bradstreet, 282-83; "The Prologue" 384-85; "The Author to Her Book" 390; "The Flesh and the Spirit" 391-93; "Before the Birth of One of her Children" 394; "To My Dear and Loving Husband" 394-95; "Upon the Burning of Our House" 397-98
T Feb. 5 Rowlandson, 425-27; Narrative 428-56; Report: captivity narratives
Th Feb. 7 Mather, 495-97; from Wonders 497-502: Reports: Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman 1-45; Reis, "Gender and the Meaning of Confession," in Spellbound 53-71; and Reis, Damned Women, "Popular and Ministerial Visions of Satan" 55-92
T Feb. 12 "Eighteenth Century," 553-71; The Great Awakening: Edwards, 620-22; "Personal Narrative" 631-41; Sinners 641-52; Report: The Great Awakening: when, where, and what was it?
Th Feb. 14 The American Revolution: "The Age of Revolution," 777-79; Franklin, 782-84; Autobiography 805-67
T Feb. 19 Paine, 934-36; The Crisis 942-47; Report: Paine's Common Sense; Draft Workshop for Paper 1: Bring a typed draft to class
Th Feb. 21 Jefferson, 968-70; Autobiography 970-74; Notes 975-93; Abigail and John Adams, correspondence 957-61; John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, correspondence 965-68; Report: "The Anti-Republican Implications of Coverture," from Linda Kerber's Women of the Republic
T Feb. 26 Freneau, 1175-76; "To Sir Toby" 1181-83; Wheatley, 1203-05; "On Being Brought" 1212; "On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield 1770" 1210-11; "To the Right Honorable" 1208-09; letter to Samson Occom 1220-21; Paper 1 due in class
Th Feb. 28 Crevecoeur, 898-99; Letters, 899-918
T Mar. 5 Native American Voices: Occom, 1078-79; "Narrative" 1079-84; Apess, 1397-98; An Indian's Looking Glass 1398-1403; Report: Cherokee Memorials
Th Mar. 7 Midterm Examination
T Mar. 19 Early Romantic Writers: Irving 2071-72; "Rip Van Winkle" 2081-92; "Legend" 2093-2112; Report: Irving's The Sketchbook
Th Mar. 21 The Culture of Reform: "Race, Slavery, and the Invention of the 'South,'" 1774-75; David Walker, 1775-76; Appeal 1777-86; Douglass, 1814-16; Narrative 1817-43; Report: Slavery laws
T Mar. 26 Douglass, Narrative 1843-80; Report: Douglass, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"
Th Mar. 28 Stowe, 2475-78; from Uncle Tom's Cabin 2478-2490; Report: Critical reception of UTC
T Apr. 2 Stowe, from Uncle Tom's Cabin 2490-2517; Report: Uncle Tom's Cabin and popular culture
Th Apr. 4 Emerson, 1512-15; "Self-Reliance" 1555-72; Fuller, 1626-28; from Woman in the Nineteenth Century 1631-53; Reports: The self-culture movement; Emerson's Nature; Elizabeth Cady Stanton and "The Declaration of Sentiments"
T Apr. 9 Thoreau, 1669-72; "Resistance to Civil Government" 1672-86; Report: "Economy," from Thoreau's Walden
Th. Apr. 11 Romantic Poetry: Bryant, 2811-13; "Thanatopsis" 2813-15; "The Yellow Violet" 2815-26; "The Waterfowl" 2816-17; Longfellow, 2822-23; "Chaucer" 2828; Draft Workshop for Paper 2: Bring a typed draft to class
T Apr. 16 Osgood, 2829-31; "The Maiden's Mistake" 2833; "Little Children" 2840-41; Sigourney, 1497-99; "The Indian's Welcome to the Pilgrim Fathers" 1507-08; "Indian Names" 1508-09; "To a Shred of Linen" 1510-12; Three Romantic poets respond to science: Poe, "SonnetTo Science" 2457; Dickinson #185 "Faith is a Fine Invention" (handout); "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" 2934; Report: Emerson's "The Poet"
Th Apr. 18 Whitman, 2846-49; "Preface" 2849-63; "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" 2941-48; "So Long!" 2953-55; Reports: free verse; Whitman's Song of Myself ; Paper 2 due in class
T Apr. 23 Dickinson 2969-74; letters 3015-19; N.B.: Dickinson did not title her poems; I'm giving you first lines merely for ease of identification. "Success is counted sweetest" 2975-76; "These are the days when Birds come back" 2976; "I like a look of Agony" 2977; "I'm Nobody! Who are you?" 2979; "The Soul selects her own Society" 2981; "Some keep the Sabbath going to Church" 2984; "A Bird came down the Walk" 2984-85; "After great pain, a formal feeling comes" 2985; "Much Madness is divinest Sense" 2987; "This is my letter to the World" 2987; "This was a PoetIt is That" 2988-89; "I heard a Fly Buzzwhen I died" 2989; "The Brainis wider than the Sky" 2994; "I dwell in Possibility" 2996; "One need not be a Chamberto be Haunted" 2997; "Publicationis the Auction" 2998; "Because I could not stop for Death" 2998-99; "The Bustle in a House" 3003; "Volcanoes be in Sicily" 3007; "To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee" 3008; Report: Dickinson's fascicles
Th Apr. 25 Fiction of the American Renaissance: Poe, 2387-89; "The Tell-Tale Heart" 2420-23; "The Black Cat" 2423-29; "The Fall of the House of Usher" 2400-2413; Report: mysterious circumstances of Poe's death and the theories it has spawned
T Apr. 30 Hawthorne, 2170-73; "Young Goodman Brown" 2186-2195; "The Minister's Black Veil" 2195-2203; and, "Rappaccini's Daughter" 2215-2234
Th May 2 Melville, 2550-54; "Benito Cereno" 2598-2655
Final Paper due in my office: Wednesday, May 8 by 1:00 p.m.
Examination: Tuesday, May 14, 12:00