Early American Literatures:
30,000 B.C. to 1800 A.D.
Spring 2002

 

English 5320-501 Office Hrs.: T/TH 2-3:30; MWF & evening by apt.
Instructor: Dr. Roemer Office: 405 CH; Phone 273-2729
M, 6-9 p.m.; 201 CH If you leave a message, please include your name and phone #.

Course Objectives

-- Primary Goal: to examine the diversity of early American literatures (EAL). This is a (primary) "readings" course, though in class discussions we will examine the implications of using a variety of critical approaches. The major concepts of diversity analyzed include genre, culture, gender, geographical area, and historical era.
-- Secondary Goals: to enhance each student's research paper writing; to examine how the study of EAL relates to the development of the American literary canon.

By the end of the course students who have done the readings, participated in the classes, and successfully completed the group presentations, the examinations, and the paper should have basic understandings of the diversity of pre-1800 American literatures and of the relationships between genre, culture, gender, region, and historical era and canon formation and also be able to integrate convincing textual analyses and with relevant ongoing critical discussion in a research paper.


Required Readings (Please use the editions available in the bookstore.)

Selections from The Heath Anthology of American Literature, FOURTH EDITION, Vol. 1. Lauter, et al., eds.
Hannah Foster, The Coquette
Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland. Kent State UP.
Handouts: see specific assignments listed below (HO)
(If you do not already have a copy - MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers )

Tentative Lecture/Discussion Topics, Assignments, Dates

The pace of the course varies between close examinations of individual texts and brief overviews of many texts. I hope this approach will create a course that has both intensity and breadth. (The page numbers refer to the Heath Anthology. )

Course Introduction & The Evolution of EAL Courses, Anthologies, and Scholarship

Reading: www.uta.edu/english/mal/e/roemer; Colonial Period (1-17); Lance (HO); browsing EAL, AL, ALH, AQ
Dates: 1/14, [21 is MLK Day], 28

The First American Literatures: Native American Oral Literatures

Readings: 18-104
Dates: 1/ [14,28]; 2/4,11

 

The "Discovery" of "America": Definitions, Utopian Visions, and Cultural Encounters

Readings: Yuchi, Creation of the Whites (64-65), Handsome Lake, How America Was Discovered (780-81), Columbus (107-08), de Vaca (119-32), Smith (242-56), Winthrop (223-34)
Dates: 2/[11], 18

Public and Private Forms of Historical Expression

Public Histories

Readings: [Zuni, Talk Concerning the Beginning (24-38)], Morton (281-93), Bradford (311-34), de Vellagr· (146-64), Virgin of Guadalupe (165-73), de Otermin [Hopi, Pueblo Revolt ] (182-94), Mather (495- 97,502-04), Byrd (598-618),
Dates: 9/18, 25

Private Histories: Letters, Diaries, Journals, & Life Stories

Readings: North: Bradstreet (398-401), Rowlandson (425-56, esp. opening and closing), Sewell (484-89), Knight (529-50)
Middle: Ashbridge (652-63), Woolman, (664-78)
Occom (1078-84), Equiano (1116-49)
Date: 9/[18], 25

First Take-Home Exam Distributed 2/25; due: 3/4

American Revolutions

A Private Revolution: Edward Taylor

Reading: Taylor (456-84)
Date: 3/4

A Private - Public Revolution: Jonathan Edwards

Reading: Edwards (620-22; 631-52)
Date: 3/4

A Private & Public Synthesis: Male and Female Versions

Readings: Franklin (782-84,794-801, 805-67), Murray (1149-64)
Date: 3/11

Spring Break:3/18-24

Paper Prospectus Due: 3/25

Public Manifestos

Readings: Paine (934-42); Jefferson (971-74), Hall (1106-15), CrÈvecoeur (898-933), Tecumseh (HO), Seattle (1418-22)
Date: 3/25

Second Take-Home Exam Distributed on 3/25; due: 4/1

Euro-American Literary Genres

The Role of the Poet (See also Native American and Taylor.)
Read all of Bradstreet, Wheatley; for the rest, read as much as you like.

Readings: Bay Psalm Book (411-22), Wigglesworth (402-11), Bradstreet, (382-98), Cook (697-714), Wheatley (1205-21), Freneau (1175-90), Barlow (1237-39; 1245-54). Dwight (1191-1204)
Date: 4/1

Dramatic Manners, Satiric Barbs

Reading: Tyler's The Contrast (1257-1300); Murray, Epilogue (1164-66)
Date: 4/1

The "American"? "Novel"?

Readings: Rowson, Charlotte Temple (1326-39), Foster, The Coquette ; Brown, Wieland
Dates: 4/8, 15

[The will probably be no class on 4/22; devote this week to your paper.]

Brief Oral Presentations on Research Papers: 4/29

Papers Due: Friday 5/3, by 5 p.m. either in my mailbox or in my hand.

Papers Returned: 5/6

Group Presentations, Exams, Papers, Grades

Group Presentations

At the beginning or end of almost every session I will divide the class into small groups. Each group will be assigned a question or issue related to the next week's session when groups will initiate the discussion of their "assigned" questions or issue.

Take Home Examinations

The two take-home exams will consist of essay questions calling for application, interpretation, and evaluation rather than regurgitation. I will distribute and discuss each exam question in detail during the class preceding the due date of the exam. I will be concerned with the logic of your claims and with your ability to support the claims with relevant material from the readings.

Prospectus & Research Paper: 3750 - 5000 wds., double-spaced, MLA format. Due: Friday, 5/3, by 5 p.m. Except for documented emergencies, I do not accept late papers.

This paper will offer you the opportunity to do intensive independent study about a relatively narrow topic of interest to you and will help you to develop your ability to analyze texts and to use bibliographic and critical studies. The paper is not intended to be a bibliographic essay; I expect you to develop and articulate an argument that will be clarified and supported with textual analyses and well-integrated allusions to relevant critical studies. The prospectus (due 3/25)must include the following sections: statements/ descriptions of (1) the claim/thesis including the scope of the paper; (2) the significance of the claim/thesis; (3) the critical approach(es); (4) tentative organization; and (5) highly selected critical source list. See the handout describing research resources for EAL and one way to approach this paper. Note that the Heath Anthology Web site (<college.hmco.com/english>) offers brief primary and secondary source lists. Library Support: Noel Anderson is the Librarian for the English Department (phone: 817-272-3000, ext. 4984; e-mail: anderson@library.uta.edu ). You can find online databases for English among the Arts and Humanities databases at <http//www.uta.edu/library/mavinfo/arts.html> . Librarians at the second-floor reference desk can also be also extremely helpful.

Grades, Etc. Etc.

Approximate Weights: First Exam (25%); Second Exam (25%); Prospectus/Research Paper (50%). Warnings : (1) Plagiarism will be handled according to University disciplinary procedures. (2) If you plan to withdraw, you must follow Graduate School and Departmental procedures. Except in emergencies, graduate students cannot drop with a W after mid-semester. (3) Under normal circumstances, I do not accept late work. Encouragement: (1) I am very willing to accommodate students with disabilities. These students should identify themselves at the beginning of the semester and provide me with authorized documentation from the appropriate University office. (2) Class participation (especially in the assigned group presentations) and improvement can be important factors in elevating the semester grade.

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