ENGL431 - American Literature: 1810 to 1865, the American Renaissance
Syllabus:
Section(s):
0101 - Edlie Wong

Prerequisite: Two English courses in literature; or permission of ARHU-English department.

Nationalism, Sentimentalism, Transcendentalism. Writers such as Douglass, Stowe, Melville.

This discussion based, writing-intensive class surveys the literature of the “American Renaissance.” It focuses on the writers, activists, and thinkers regarded as most central to the development of American literary expression and cultural thought. Their writings chronicle the tumultuous era of American nation building in the wake of the Revolution as sectional strife over the expansion of domestic slavery led to the Civil War. We will read a diverse range of literary genres, from the slave narrative to the memoir, poetry, novels, short stories, and essays. In our readings, we will ask, among other things, how these writers changed peoples’ ideas about themselves, sent people to war, and built or broke down ideas about “America,” race, gender, and class. Writers studied may include Benjamin Franklin, Edgar Allan Poe, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, William Wells Brown, Harriet Beecher Stowe, George Lippard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Catharine Maria Sedgewick, and Henry David Thoreau.