History of American Literature Tim Morris

ENGL 3340:003 203 Carlisle

Fall 1995 Thursday 4-5 PM and by appointment


REQUIRED TEXTS: The Heath Anthology of American Literature, second edn., vols. 1 and 2

ATTENDANCE POLICY: Attendance is required. You may, however, miss two meetings without penalty. If you miss a third meeting you will fail the course.

GRADING AND REQUIREMENTS: You will be evaluated on the basis of four protocols. These protocols will be given in class on the following Thursdays: 28 September, 19 October, 9 November and 30 November. The protocols are extremely simple in format. They are closed-book. In each protocol meeting you will be given four sheets of paper. I will give you the names of four authors, drawn from those we’ve studied since the last protocol. You will then simply write on the paper everything that you think is most crucial to know about that author or problem, in the time available (since this is an 80-minute class period, about 20 minutes per author or problem). You will be graded on how much you can say about that author, both on the texts you’ve read and detailed background, and on the critical quality of the information that you can convey, to a maximum of 25 "points" per author/problem (and therefore 100 points per protocol). Every protocol will then have a number grade, and the four protocols will have equal weights; the average of the four will be your semester grade, as follows: average 90-100 A; average 80-89.75 B; average 70-79.75 C; average 60-69.75 D; average below 60 F. Protocols may be made up if missed, but your grade on a makeup protocol will be halved.

THE REASON FOR ALL THIS IS: ENGL 3340 is a required course, for all English majors including those seeking certification to teach English. We include this course among the requirements because we think you should know something about the literature of this country, and also because if you go out to teach school, you may well be called upon to teach American literature. I think it is crucial for you to have a grid, or a grammar, for thinking about American texts and writers. This grid or grammar is emphatically not a matter of me pouring all the information you’ll ever need to know about American lit. into your brain; still less is it a matter of discovering from me the real whole truth about what American literature is, or who the most important American authors are--subjects about which there is a great deal of controversy not just at the moment but permanently.

We read the Heath anthology because it is the most representative and multicultural of current anthologies. And I have tried to choose 42 authors who represent, as fully as possible given the grave limitation of a 15-week semester, the varied traditions and literatures of "America"--itself a problematic concept. If you successfully internalize the problems that these 42 represent, you’ll have a basis for teaching yourself, in your own later coursework and teaching, about the thousands of other writers and kinds of problems that make up "American Literature." The protocols are the best way for you to internalize that kind of grid/grammar. And along the way, backgrounds presented in "real" chronological time, at the rate of one class meeting per decade of literary history, will further enhance your "grid."

DROP POLICY: The drop date is 17 November. Even at that point (and any time before) I will drop you with a W if you request it. I will never drop anyone at any time for any reason simply of my own accord, unless they never attend class even once.


29 August: Introductory meeting

31 August: Early American Literature; languages in America

5 Sept: 1780s. Royall Tyler (1: 1101-1142); Olaudah Equiano (1: 971-1003)

7 Sept: 1790s. Judith Sargent Murray (1: 1003-1021); Hannah Webster Foster (1: 1148-1168)

12 Sept: 1800s. cuentos (1: 1271-1284); African-American folktales (2:193-213)

14 Sept: 1810s. Washington Irving (1: 1284-1326); William Cullen Bryant (1: 2704-2715)

19 Sept: 1820s. Catharine Maria Sedgwick (1:1346-1361); James Fenimore Cooper (1:1326-1346)

21 Sept: 1830s. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1: 1529-1542, 1558-1566, 1581-1610);

Caroline Kirkland (1: 2327-2348)

26 Sept: 1840s. Edgar Allan Poe (1:1371-1382, 1400-1402, 1410-1444, 1449-1457);

Lydia Sigourney (1:2715-2733)

28 Sept: first protocol meeting

3 Oct: 1850s. Herman Melville (1:2445-2471, 2480-2497); George Copway (1: 1482-1498)

5 Oct: 1860s. Harriet Jacobs (1:1751-1779); Emily Dickinson (1: 2869-2952)

10 Oct: 1870s. Walt Whitman (1: 2809-2817, 2821-2824, 2824-2829, 2835-2841, 2860-2869);

Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (2: 92-110)

12 Oct: 1880s. Sarah Orne Jewett (2:110-135); Ambrose Bierce (2: 661-667)

17 Oct: 1890s. Henry James (2: 606-635); Paul Laurence Dunbar (2: 486-501)

19 Oct: second protocol meeting

24 Oct: 1900s. corridos (2: 828-845); Sui-Sin Far (2: 899-916)

26 Oct: 1910s. Charles Alexander Eastman (2: 763-776); Edwin Arlington Robinson (2: 1055-1065)

31 Oct: 1920s. T.S. Eliot (2: 1435-1462); Marianne Moore (2: 1506-1517)

2 Nov: 1930s. Wallace Stevens (2: 1530-1543); William Faulkner (2: 1543-1565)

7 Nov: 1940s. Margaret Walker (2: 1897-1911); Hisaye Yamamoto (2: 2552-2563)

9 Nov: third protocol meeting

14 Nov: 1950s. Elizabeth Bishop (2: 2256-2264); Allen Ginsberg (2:2377-2389)

16 Nov: 1960s. N. Scott Momaday (2: 2721-2731); Frank O’Hara (2: 2329-2334)

21 Nov: 1970s. Adrienne Rich (2: 2530-2539); Audre Lorde (2: 2936-2943)

23 Nov: Thanksgiving

28 Nov: 1980s. Lorna Dee Cervantes (2: 3096-3103); David Henry Hwang (2: 2822-2872)

30 Nov: fourth protocol meeting

5 Dec: final meeting: course grades, course evaluations