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Early American Literature, 1492-1800
ENGL 368
Spring 2012
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: AMST 368

This course considers a wide variety of texts, from the first European representations of the "New World" to the rise of a new national literature that self-consciously attempts to represent the aspirations, tensions, and unresolved contradictions of the newly formed "United States" 300 years after first contact. Beginning with the premise that experience is discursive--that how we represent the world shapes what we experience as the world--we will give close attention to the language, metaphors, and literary conventions used by European explorers and colonists in their first encounters with the Americas. Early readings will include several genres, such as captivity narratives (Cabeza de Vaca, Rowlandson, Equiano), public histories (Bradford), and spiritual memoirs (Bunyan, Taylor) that provide a historical context and conceptual frame for understanding the range of expressive possibilities available to the writers of the early national era. In the second half of the course, we will consider how these writers adapted, expanded, and contested earlier forms in their efforts to create imaginative literature that expressed (sometimes unintentionally) the preoccupations of the new nation. We will read a comic drama (Tyler), several seduction novels (Brown, Foster, Rowson), and a gothic novel (Brockden Brown). All works that contribute to and help constitute contemporary debates about national identity, individual agency, and various threats (real or imagined) to the new nation.

Essential Capabilities: Interpretation
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)(ENGL)(ENGL-Amer Lit)(ENGL-TLF Conc)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on APR-17-2014
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