Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Intro. to American Literature

ENGL 200.601
instructor(s):
W 6:30-9:10

This course surveys American literature from the colonial period through the later 19th century, and focusses on such issues as the meaning of "America" and "American," individual, cultural, and national identities, revolution versus tradition, slavery, and wilderness as the site of adventure and national self-definition. The course begins with selected readings from narratives of early exploration and travel in America and from Puritan poetry and prose. From the revolutionary and early national periods, the readings will include works by Franklin, Brockden Brown, and Irving. Most of the course will be devoted, however, to a study of 19th-century works by Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Hawthorne, Bierce, Twain, Charles Chesnutt, and Kate Chopin. Requirements: attendance and participation; two papers; short take-home mid-term and final exams.