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American Literature to 1870

ENGL 082.001

This course will survey the first two and a half centuries of American literary history, with a special emphasis on the political, social, and cultural development of the national character. We will examine the literary treatment of such issues as wilderness; settlement; community; revolution; conquest and expansion, both territorial and economic; the
inclusion and exclusion of racial and/or ethnic minorities--especially blacks and Indians; the conflicts of interest between individuals and institutions; and the debate over the social and cultural meaning of democracy. We will begin by sampling the work of various early explorers and settlers, and then move on to readings from the Colonial and Revolutionary periods (excerpts from Crhvecoeur's Letters from an American Farmer, Jefferson, Paine, Franklin, and The Federalist Papers). But most of our attention will be paid to works written during the period of national growth and expansion: The Journals of Lewis and Clark, Cooper's The Deerslayer, selected essays by Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Thoreau, Douglass's Narrative, selected tales and sketches by Hawthorne, as well as The Scarlet Letter, Moby-Dick, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Leaves of Grass, and a variety of texts from the Civil War period. Two papers, and at least two quizzes. (NOTE: This course may be taken in place of English 200 to fulfill that aspect of the major requirement.)

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