English R1B

Reading and Composition: The Afterworlds of the American Revolution, 1776-1819

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2013 Trocchio, Rachel
Note new time: TTh 3:30-5 Note new room: 305 Wheeler

Book List

Allen, Ethan: The Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen; Brown, Charles Brockden: Edgar Huntly; Brown, Charles Brockden: Wieland; Brown, William Hill: The Power of Sympathy; Burroughs, Stephen: Memoirs of the Notorious Stephen Burroughs of New Hampshire; Crevecoeur, J. Hector St. John: Letters from an American Farmer; Davidson, Cathy N.: Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America; Rowson, Susanna: Charlotte Temple


In 1776, as Jefferson declared, the American Colonies could no longer tolerate the yoke of English rule, and must “throw off such Government” and “dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another.” The Revolution that followed achieved American independence and the founding of the New Republic; it also saw the rise of the novel. We will be concerned with this form of literature as it grappled with the war and its effects, paying considerable attention to the Gothic fantasies let loose in the work of Charles Brockden Brown. So that we are equipped to explore the full significance of his neurotic cast – which includes sleepwalkers and ventriloquists, among many others – we will begin with a cursory survey of the ideological debates surrounding the Revolution, then move to two famous “sympathy novels” that disclose the flammable emotive atmosphere of the Early Republic. From there we will proceed to Brown, in whose novels this atmosphere quite literally bursts into flames, and conclude with two forms that we may (or may not) see as affiliated with the novel: short stories and autobiography. As the second course in the R&C sequence, the aim is to use these Revolutionary ‘afterworlds’ as grounding for the continued development of your critical writing. Your essays for this class will be not only argumentative but incorporative, meaning that they will make use of research as well as the close reading practice that we will hone throughout the semester.

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