Literature of the Americas to 1900
In this survey, we will focus on literature written in and about the Americas from the 1490s to the 1770s. Over the course of the semester, we will focus on transnational debates over racial, gender, and religious identity, slavery, revolution, and what it means to be an American. Expanding our definition of what constitutes literature, we will read paintings, travel writing, sermons, and scientific texts in addition to fiction and poetry. Among other works, we will examine Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci and Michel de Montaigne’s descriptions of the New World and its inhabitants, John Smith and Thomas Harriot’s accounts of settlement and colonization, the Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, Crevecoeur’s Letters of an American Farmer, and poems by Phillis Wheatley and Anne Bradstreet.