Summer 2014 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
Literature Before 1800 is an exploration of the texts -- histories, sermons, essays, narratives, political tracts, poetry, and fictions -- written by British colonists who left the "old" world for the "new" in the 17th and 18th centuries. We will dive deeply into Puritan and Federalist thought, exploring such issues as God and Nature; Native Americans and "civilized" colonials; myth and witches; ideology and democracy; Scottish Common Sense and the Virtuous Republic; and the wilderness, without and within. Authors will include William Bradford, John Winthrop, Cotton Mather, Anne Bradstreet, Edward Taylor,Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Judith Sargent Murray and Susanna Rowson. By seminar's end, students will have an increased awareness of the early American experience and a stronger appreciation of the concept that Americans were a "people of the word," reading, interpreting and writing texts about choseness and exceptionalism.
Baym, Nina. General ed., The Norton Anthology of American Literature: Beginnings to 1820, vol. A, 8th ed. New York: Norton & Co., 2012.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Three formal papers required: the first two will be relative brief at four pages each and one longer paper of 12 pages due at course's conclusion. The papers will be graded on quality of research, depth and comprehension of subject matter, and the gracefulness of presentation. The two brief,formal papers will be valued at 15 percent each, while the longer paper will be valued at 70 percent of the final grade.
Attendance is essential, particularly given the compressed schedule we must adhere to. Missing a single class is the equivalent of missing three sessions in a full semester.
Please be vocal in class: express your opinions, share your insights, challenge the texts...and the instructor.