EG 71-72 (ENG 215-216)
American Literature Survey

  Fall 2006 Course Outline 
Spring 2007 Course Outline

"We Americans have yet to really learn our antecedents . . . . Thus far, impress'd by New England writers and
  schoolmasters, we tacitly abandon ourselves to the notion that our United States have been fashion'd from
                        the British Isles only . . . which is a very great mistake."
Walt Whitman, 1883

"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."
David Lowenthal, 1985

Discovery, Encounter, and Settlement
(Prehistory to AD 1620)

The American Dream
    The American dream will be the focus of our discussions this semester,
        as well as American Exceptionalism
These fundamental ideas/myths have been parallel themes in American life from the beginning. In their most extreme form, they can lead to Triumphalism.

NativeWeb: Resources for Indigenous Cultures around the World
    This important site, maintained by Native Americans, focuses primarily on the indigenous peoples of North America, Meso America, and South America, including their literature and history. Includes many excellent links.

Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga
The World of the Vikings

    More than 1000 years ago, the Vikings became the first Europeans to discover, explore, and settle in the New World: North America in the Western hemisphere. They were also the first Europeans to encounter native Americans whom they referred to by the derogatory term "skraelings." These two sites provide provide archeological evidence, as well as historical context, to support the Vikings' claim.

Heath Guide to American Literature, Volumes A & B (formerly Vol. 1) Web Sites
    This site is as as ESSENTIAL SOURCE for links related to all the readings in this semester's text. Sadly, it also includes too many dead links, but don't give up!
As a backup, use This Heath Site  that duplicates the links in the above site.

The Iroquois Confederacy is the oldest participatory democracy on earth, dating from 31 August 1142.
    This site contains the full text of the Gayanashagowa, the Constitution of the Iroquois Nations


Discovers, Explorers, Clerics, and Conquers:

Discovers' Web: Primary Sources
    On this important page are links to the original texts (in translation) written by the discovers, explorers, clerics, conquers, and first settlers themselves. There are also links to secondary sources written by others about those discovers, explorers, clerics, conquers, and first settlers.

Christopher Columbus

The Requerimiento
    (as in Requirement or Demand) composed in 1510 to be read, in Spanish, to all Native Americans.

Hernando Cortés

Bernal Díaz del Castillo (c1492-1581) was a conquistadore who traveled with Cortés (in 1519-21) among others. His The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico (first printed in 1632, but written in Guatemala in his old age) is considered the truest account of the fall of the Mexican empire. Another Site in Spanish is to be preferred for its illustrations.

Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca Site 2

Bartolomé de Las Casas

Francisco Vásquez de Coronado

Hernando de Soto
    de Soto's story is told by A Gentleman of Elvas

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (Juana Ramírez de Asbaje)

The Virgin of Guadalupe  
    A powerful presence throughout Mexico and, increasingly, in the United States, the Virgin of Guadalupe combines Native American and European features. She is a mestizo (or mestiza?) and has become associated with civil rights as well as traditional values.

Samuel de Champlain

Captain John Smith


The Puritans and Others: Native Americans and African Americans

Outline of American Literature
    Maintained by the US Department of State (of all people!), this page lists key sites on American Literature.

Early American and Colonial Literature to 1700
    Part of the Internet School Library Media Center, this page provides links to many general AmLit sites as well as to specific authors, like Bradford, Winthrop, Bradstreet, Rowlandson, and the Mathers.

American Political History On-Line
    Outstanding metasite with thousands of links. An invaluable adjunct to the study of AmLit.


John Winthrop

William Bradford
    and another site (this time with links to Bradford's Journal): Here

Thomas Morton
    the anti-Puritan and intellectual heathen

Anne Hutchinson

Anne Bradstreet

Thomas Shepard

Mary Rowlandson


The Revolutionary Period

American Revolution Timeline
    Click on internal links for brief essays

Phillis Wheatley

J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur

Tom Paine

Benjamin Franklin
    "If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten,
either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing."

Thomas Jefferson

Philip Freneau

Royall Tyler


The Early Republic, American-ness, and Westward Expansion

Tales of the Early Republic
    Excellent background for this unit

Washington Irving

James Fenimore Cooper

Catharine Maria Sedgwick
Sedgwick attempts to counter the stereotypes and prejudices she found in Cooper's depiction of women, Native Americans, and mixed-blood peoples. See her novel Hope Leslie.

Edgar Allan Poe

Caroline Kirkland


Transcendentalism, Slavery, and American Exceptionalism

Nationalism and Sectionalism in the US: 1815-1850

Transcendentalism and Transcendentalists

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Henry David Thoreau

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Abolitionism in America
Antislavery Literature
Proslavery Literature

Frederick Douglass

Harriet Ann Jacobs

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Caroline Lee Hentz


A Divided Nation and the Civil War

Civil War and Reconstruction

Herman Melville
    Additional Melville information and criticism Here

William Cullen Bryant and Here

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Walt Whitman

Emily Dickinson



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