American Literature I   [Archived Catalog]
2017-2018 Academic Catalog

ENG 271 - American Literature I

Studying literature exposes students to a wide range of cultural and historical contexts, while at the same time sharpening analytical skills-skills that ultimately enable students to read and write at a level beyond basic competency and to think creatively. This course surveys literary texts from the early colonial period through the Civil War with a focus on American authors and the philosophies represented in their texts. Exploring American literature specifically enables us to understand how America, as a nation, came to form a uniquely American identity and how that identity influences the way that Americans view themselves in a larger cultural context. Issues we will consider include the ideas of captivity, equality, spirituality, and freedom in American thought and culture; the cult of domesticity and its connection to sentimentality; the dialectics of race and gender; and the aesthetics and ideologies of transcendentalism and the gothic. Previously taught authors include John Winthorp, Anne Bradstreet, Mary Rowlandson, Benjamin Franklin, Phyllis Wheatley,  Washington Irving, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Jacobs, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson and many others.

Credit Hours: 3

Term Offered: Fall, Spring