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Introduction to American Literature

ENGL 080.001
TR 3-4:30

In this survey of North American writing from the earliest years of European settlement through the nineteenth century, we will pay special attention to the multifarious encounters of Europeans, Africans, and American Indians. Out of these encounters came historical and fictional narratives, plays, essays, epic and lyric poems, sermons and orations, autobiographies, letters, and public documents that actively shaped as well as recorded the lives of clashing and coexisting populations in the colonial and early national periods. We will read widely in these literary "forms of encounter"--from Nahuatl accounts of the conquest of Mexico to the letters of Columbus and Vespucci to the sea writings of Herman Melville; from Indian captivity narratives to Indian protest literature; from early writings on race by Benjamin Franklin and Olaudah Equiano to classic slave narratives by Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs; from the self-dissecting gaze of Puritan diaries and conversion narratives to the imperial visions of Thomas Jefferson, James Fenimore Cooper, and Emily Dickinson.

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