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Nineteenth-Century Literature of the Americas

ENGL 057.401
instructor(s):
TR 10:30-12

This course examines U.S. literature and culture in the context of the history of the United States as it belongs to the Americas. We will complicate the conventional periodization of nineteenth-century U.S. literature and history that makes the Civil War the pivotal event in a narrative that moves from sectional conflict to national consolidation and then to imperialism at the end of the century. Topics we will address include the complicated politics of anti-imperialism, the relationship between notions of manifest destiny and the conflict over slavery, the role of domesticity in promoting and valorizing imperialist imperatives, and the conflicts between colonization and resistance schemes in the Americas. Historical moments informing the course's approach to the literature will include the Latin American independence movements at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, the U.S.-Mexico War, and the Spanish American War. Probable authors we will read include James Fenimore Cooper, Simon Bolivar, William Cullen Bryant, John Rollin Ridge, Juan Manzano, Harriet Jacobs, Herman Melville, Louisa May Alcott, Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Jose Marti, Mark Twain, and Luisa Capetillo.