American Literature is a survey of American literature from colonial times to the late twentieth century. Once again, we take a generally historical approach to the material, tracing the development of particular themes, ideas, and techniques of writing, and examining the kaleidoscopic interactions of the many strands of the American population and culture. We especially try to dig into issues of theme and symbolic language in the works of the great nineteenth-century masters Melville and Hawthorne.
The course is built around a basic textbook, The United States in Literature, part of the "America Reads" series from Scott, Foresman. It is slightly less thorough than its companion volume England in Literature, which serves as the backbone for English Literature, but I have supplemented its readings quite extensively with outside readings. Please see the required texts and readings pages for particulars. Contact me about this if you are interested.