English R1A

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

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2014 Trocchio, Rachel
MWF 1-2 222 Wheeler

Book List

Allen, Ethan: The Narrative of Colonel of Ethan Allen; Brown, Charles Brockden: Edgar Huntly; Brown, Charles Brockden: Wieland; Rowson, Susanna: Charlotte Temple; de Crèvecoeur, J. Hector St. John: Letters from an American Farmer

Other Readings and Media

Selections by Jefferson, Paine, Oliver, and Irving will be distributed via bSpace.


In 1776, as Jefferson declared, the American colonies could no longer tolerate the yoke of English rule, and had to "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 first course in the R&C sequence, the aim is to use these Revolutionary ‘afterworlds’ as context for your own critical writing, rigorously based in the close reading practice we will develop throughout the semester.

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