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Topics in Early American Literature

ENGL 282.301
MW 3-4:30

This course will concern itself with poetry's relation to the rhythms and tempos of American life, from the upheavals of war and independence in the late eighteenth century to the stirrings of modernism in the late nineteenth century; from the hold of agrarianism to the accelerations of commerce and industry; from the complacencies of intellectual movements to the urgencies of social reform; from the regimentation of civic and domestic life to the whirl of expansion and urbanization. The practical emphasis will be on poetic texts in a variety of genres and modes. We will devote considerable attention to two major poets: Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. We will also read widely in other major and minor poets: Freneau, Wheatley, Bryant, Sigourney, Emerson, Poe, Longfellow, Fuller, Thoreau, Whittier, Harper, Melville, Dunbar, and Robinson. And, from time to time, we may pause in our study of the poems to consider some relevant writings on poetics from the period.

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