This course introduces beginning and prospective Americanists to the "New England Way," to the literature emergent from it, and to key critical debates--both classic and contemporary--bearing on the literature, thought and culture of New England. Primary readings will include works by Puritans and New England-born writers of the early Republic (Bradford, Winthrop, Mather, Bradstreet, Taylor, Edwards, Wheatley, Franklin, Dwight, Channing); works of the ante- and post-bellum years (by Emerson, Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau, Stoew, Dickinson, James (Henry), Jewett and James (William)); and finally, works by three twentieth century New England poets (Frost, Bishop, Lowell). Critical readings will include representative selections from Miller, Bercovitch, Bloom, Weber, Keller, Warner, Jehlen, Slotkin, Tompkins, Douglas, Gilmor, Peck, Sollers, Buell, Homans, Howe, Lentricchia, Poirier and others. Brief lectures will
acquaint students with historical and doctrinal issues informing this literature, while student analysis of key critical debates will amplify the primary readings and inform discussion of such topics as: the problem of Puritan aesthetics, the establishment of a feminist poetics; slavery and Christianity; the "calling" and the Franklinean legacy; the definition of the Romance; the post-structural Emerson; the cultural significance of sentimentalism; filiopiety and generational writing; power, nature and the frontier, the status of the lyrical self, the uses of biography, the pitfalls of regional criticism. The ongoing relevance of American Protestantism will be assumed.
Note: For advanced undergraduate majors who have not taken their English 200 requirement, *this* course will be accepted as satisfying that requirement. It is ideal for undergraduate majors concentrating in early American literature.