English | American Literature 1800-1865
L351 | 5126 | Jonathan Elmer

American Literature 1800-1865

1:00p-2:15p TR (30 students) 3 CR. - Satisfies A&H Distribution

This course is designed to give students a broad overview of
literary writing in years between Jefferson’s administration and the
end of the Civil War.  We will read short fiction, novels, and
poetry, but we will also read a fair amount of literary nonfiction –
memoirs, philosophical essays, political tracts.  Our main approach
will be thematic; we will cluster together different kinds of
writing in order to see the continuities and variations in their
representations of the overriding social issues of the time:
slavery, the development of an “American” identity, the relation
between the sexes, the Native American presence.  Our method will
thus be at once historical, linking the writing to ongoing social
changes, and literary, focusing a lot of attention on the means of
representation – the narrative strategies, characterization, and
imagery employed by the authors.

There will be two 8-page papers due, as well as a midterm and final