Summer 2011 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Walsh, Dennis
Discipline and Number
HUSL 6345 Section 55A
TR Time 5:30 PM - 10:00 PM
Course Title
Early American Literature

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

Early American Literature explores 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 in texts as much 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 mind as it was a historical reality. We will pay particular attention to such large issues as God and nation, democracy and slavery, Nature and man, spiritual and physical journeys, rhetorical construction of identity, and the complex concept that Americans are a people of the word.

Required Texts:

Lauter, Paul. Heath Anthology of American Literature: Beginnings to 1800. vol A. 6th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Pubs., 2009.

(syllabus to posted at later date)

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Research and writing are integral to successful graduate studies; accordingly, students will be required to write a series of three formal short papers (two-three pages each) on assigned topics and one lengthy formal paper (approximately 16 pages) on a topic of the student’s choosing. All papers will be evaluated for research, reflection, conceptual realization, organization, grammatical and syntactical correctness and overall gracefulness. Quality research is essential.
The lengthy formal paper will be valued at 80 percent of final grade. The three short papers will be valued at 20 percent of the final grade.

Attendance is essential,particularly in such an abbreviated time period. Please notify the instructor should you be unable to attend a class. More than one unexcused absence is likely to have a negative impact on your final grade.

Please participate: ask questions, offer opinions, challenge the texts (and the instructor)!

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