Summer 2010 - Graduate Course Description
Intructor:
Walsh Dennis
Discipline and Number
HUSL 6340 Section: 55A
Day:
MTR Time: 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Course Title:
American Literature Before 1800

DESCRIPTION OF COURSE:

“For we must Consider that wee shall be as a City upon a Hill,” John Winthrop, 1630
“Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just,” Thomas Jefferson, 1787

The goal of Literature Before 1800 (HUSL 6340.55A)is to explore the richness and variety of literary texts written in and about America from the early 1500s to 1800. In particular, we will concentrate on Colonial and Federalist writers from the North and the South as America realizes itself as much in texts as in works. We will examine a sweep of literary forms-- history, fiction, poetry, sermons, political tracts, diaries, essays and personal narratives-- that were written by divergent voices over a period of more than two and half centuries. Moreover, students will confront the principal myths and historical realities that inform much of the readings about this “brave new world,” America, which was as much an invention of the European and religious imagination as it was a historical, material reality. We will pay particular attention to such large issues as God and nation, democracy and slavery, Nature and man, spiritual and physical journeys, and the complex concept that Americans are a “people of the word.”

REQUIRED TEXTS:

Lauter, Paul, et al. The Heath Anthology of American Literature: Colonial Period to 1800, Vol A, 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. Print.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS/EVALUATION CRITERIA:

Students will be required to write a single lengthy, formal research paper of approximately 20 pages, as well as three shorter papers on assigned topics. Moreover, student attendance and seminar participation are essential. The seminar will cover nearly 20 authors and multiple concepts within a condensed time frame; missing more than one class may disrupt the continuity of the learning process. Additionally, while contemplation is laudable, please be vocal during the seminar: ask questions, voice opinions, criticize the texts!

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