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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Juliet D Shields
ENGL 531
Seattle Campus

Early American Literature

Class description

This introductory survey of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century American literature will explore the roles that print culture played in the consolidation of American identity. While some American writers embraced the disinterested pursuit of knowledge, seeking to create a literary sphere divorced from politics and personality, others aimed to develop a distinctive national literature marked both by its style and its subjects. Both of these projects, although seemingly at odds with each other, involved responding either implicitly or explicitly to works by British writers, which dominated the literary market in the American colonies and early republic. As we read a variety of texts—including autobiographies by Benjamin Franklin, Samson Occom, and Olaudah Equiano, novels by Charles Brockden Brown and Susanna Rowson, and poetry by Philip Freneau and Lydia Sigourney-- we will question how eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century American writers understood the relationships between literary and political representation in their formative nation.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Juliet D Shields
Date: 01/30/2014