English 130A

American Literature: Before 1800

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2017 Donegan, Kathleen
MWF 12-1 140 Barrows

Book List

Bradford, W.: Of Plymouth Plantation; Brown, C. B.: Weiland, or The Transformation; Crevecoeur, H.: Letters from an American Farmer; Equiano, O.: An Interesting Narrative; Foster, H.: The Coquette; Franklin, B.: The Autobiography and Other Writings; Jefferson, T.: Notes on the State of Virginia; Rowlandson, M.: The Sovereignty and Goodness of God; Williams, R.: A Key into the Language of America


This course surveys the literatures of early America, from the tracts that envisioned the impact of British colonization to the novels that measured the after-shock of the American Revolution.  Throughout, we will consider colonial America as a place of encounter – a place where diversity was a given, negotiation was a necessity, and transformation was inescapable. We will read broadly in the many genres of writing produced in the colonial and early national era, keeping our eyes trained both to literary form and to the world beyond the page.  Our topics will include contact and settlement, “translations” of Native American culture, religious and social formations, captivity narratives, natural history, print culture, the Atlantic slave trade, the writing of revolution, and the contested ideals of the new republic.  Throughout, we will pay special attention to how writing operated to forge new models of the self that could withstand and absorb the tumult of colonial life.

This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.

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