• Adequate knowledge of the major historical events from colonial times to the end of the 19th century
• Familiarization with important writings by major authors of the early American literary canon
• Good understanding of the influence of Puritanism and Transcendentalism, on the American mindset
• Good understanding of the main principles of Romanticism, Realism and Naturalism
Course Content (Syllabus)
Lit7-270 American Literature I: From Colonial Times to Industrialization
Instructor: Zoe Detsi
Tel. 2310 997448
Office hours: Wed. 09.00-11.00, Fri. 09.00-11.00
This is a survey course which examines American literature and culture from colonial times to the end of the 19th century. The aim of the course is to introduce students to the historical, socio-political, and cultural context which determined the transition of America from colonized to independent nation promoting the ideas of republicanism and the notion of a rapidly developing economy. Students will read and discuss a wide range of genres including journals, essays, autobiographical accounts, pamphlets, literary texts.
Text: The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 9th edition, vols. A, B, C.
Imagining America: Toward the Construction of National Identity
• John Smith The General History of Virginia, New England and the Summer
Isles The Fourth Book. [Smith’s Farewell to Virginia] From A Description of New England
First Settlement- Pilgrims and Puritans: 17th Century
• William Bradford From Of Plymouth Plantation:
Book I, chapter IX. Of Their Voyage and How They Passed the
Sea; and Of Their Safe Arrival at Cape Cod
Book II, chapter XI. The Remainder of Anno 1620.
(The Mayflower Compact, The Starving Time, Indian Relations)
• Mary Rowlandson, A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary
Rowlandson (Beginning to the Seventh Remove)
• Benjamin Franklin, Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America
The Age of Rationalism and Revolution: 18th century
• Thomas Paine From Common Sense
From III: Thoughts on the Present State of American
• Thomas Jefferson From The Declaration of Independence
From Notes On the State of Virginia
From Query XIV. Laws [Slavery]
• J. Hector St. Jean De Crevecoeur Letters from an American Farmer
Letter iii. What is an American
• Judith Sargent Murray On The Equality of the Sexes
Early American Literature: the 19th century
• Ralph Waldo Emerson Nature (Introduction and Chapter 1)
• Ralph Waldo Emerson The American Scholar
• Walt Whitman The Song of Myself (1-5)
• Henry David Thoreau Resistance to Civil Government
Dark Romanticism/ Realism
• Edgar A. Poe The Fall of the House of Usher
• Nathaniel Hawthorne My Kinsman, Major Molineaux
• Herman Melville Bartleby, the Scrivener
America and Racial Prejudice
• William Apess An Indian’s Looking-Glass for the White
• Frederick Douglass What to the Slave is the Fourth of July
American women writers – first wave of Feminism
• Charlotte Perkins Gilman The Yellow Wallpaper
• Kate Chopin, The Storm
American Civil War
• Ambrose Bierce An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
• Jack London The Law of Life
American Literature, Culture, Colonization, Puritanism, Revolution, Romanticism, Transcendentalism, Realism, Naturalism
Additional bibliography for study
Barbour, Brian M. American Transcendentalism; an Anthology of Criticism.
Bell, Michael Davitt. The Problem of American Realism: Studies in the Cultural
History of an Idea
Elder, Marjorie J. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Transcendental Symbolist.
Hayes, Kevin J. The Cambridge Introduction to Herman Melville.
Hill, Mary Armfield. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: The Making of A Radical Feminist, 1860-1896.
Hindus, Milton. Walt Whitman: the critical heritage.
Karpinski, Joanne B. Critical Essays on Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
Parrington, Vernon Louis. The Romantic Revolution in America, 1800-1860.
Person, Leland S. The Cambridge Introduction to Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Pizer, Donald. Realism and Naturalism in 19th century American Literature
Reesman, Jeanne Campbell. Jack London's Racial Lives: a critical biography.
Schneider, Richard J. Henry David Thoreau.
Showalter, Elaine. Sister’s Choice: Tradition and Change in American Women’s Writing.
Wagenknecht, Edward. Ralph Waldo Emerson: portrait of a balanced soul.