This course will provide a survey of American literature between the colonial period and the Civil War. We will read in a wide variety of genres – poetry, sermons, autobiography, essays, songs, letters, journalism, and political tracts – paying close attention to how writers used the conventions of these genres to meet their particular personal, aesthetic, and political goals. Writers will include but not be limited to: Smith, Bradford, Bradstreet, Rowlandson, Edwards, Franklin, Occum, Equiano, Jefferson, Wheatley, Irving, Schoolcraft, Emerson, Thoreau, Douglass, Hawthorne, Poe, Melville, Whitman, and Dickinson. Along the way, we will focus on issues such as colonization, slavery, women’s rights, nature, magic, and individualism. Course assignments will include 8 weekly writing assignments, and revisions of 2 of these. Students will post their writing in a discussion forum on Canvas, which will allow other students to read and respond to it.
I have taught this course a number of ways over the last 5 years. This summer, instead of having the course culminate in a longer paper (and revision), I am going to evenly distribute the writing and allow students to choose which 2 papers they would like to revise.