Classics of American Literature, 1820-1860

English 269.01

After a brief look at the Puritan heritage, English 269 will take up major works by major American authors in the generation leading up to the Civil War -- the time of the Transcendentalist movement. The syllabus will include essays and poems by Emerson, Thoreau's Walden and Civil Disobedience, tales, poems and essays by Poe, tales and a novel (The Blithedale Romance or The Scarlet letter) by Hawthorne, Melville's Moby-Dick and Billy Budd and some stories, and a generous selection of poems by Walt Whitman. Background reading will include a slave narrative by Frederick Douglass or Harriet Jacobs. Three hour exams (no three-hour final exam). One term paper focusing on one or more of the writers in the course.