ENGLISH 470 - Colonial and Revolutionary American Literature
Section: 001 Colonial and Revolutionary North American Literature
Term: FA 2014
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course will introduce you to the key transformations and texts produced in North America and the Caribbean from the era of European contact, or conquest, through the U.S. War of Independence. We will look at the Spanish and English and Anglo-African narratives that emerged in the plantation zone from Virginia to Surinam; writing and material culture in New England, especially during King Philip’s War (c.1676) and the Salem witch trials (c.1692); colonial elite self-fashioning within an imperial Atlantic world; revolutionary political thought and artistic anxiety. We will move at a brisk pace through the first half of the term, covering ground quickly; during this time you will write a brief paper, a 1-page response to a piece of criticism, and then take a midterm. Much of the second half of the term you will be working — alone, in small groups, and in consultation with me — on a 12-15pp research paper. We will explore the Clements Library, and its extensive collection of early Americana, as well as virtual archives (like the “Early American Imprints” collection) so that you can find a topic that compels you, learn about archival research, read scholarship and historiography associated with your topic, and write (and revise) an original analytical paper. For seniors, I see this as one of the capstone experiences of your concentration. For graduate students, especially Americanists seeking a longer historical view or Early Modern specialists curious about the wider Atlantic and imperial world, this course will provide an excellent introduction to the material, and help you expand your teaching repertoire.

(Probable) Course Texts:

  • A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, Thomas Harriot (1588)
  • A True and Exact History of Barbados, Richard Ligon (1657)
  • The Narrative of the Captivity, Mary Rowlandson (1682)
  • Oroonoko, or, The Royal Slave, Aphra Behn (1688)
  • Unchained Voices: An Anthology of Black Authors in the English-Speaking World of the 18th Century, ed. Vincent Carretta
  • The Autobiography, Benjamin Franklin (1771-1790)
  • A Short Narrative of My Life, Samson Occom (1768)
  • The Coquette, or, The History of Eliza Wharton, Hannah Webster Foster (1797)
  • Wieland, or, The Transformation, Charles Brockden Brown (1798)

ENGLISH 470 - Colonial and Revolutionary American Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

IMPORTANT UPDATE 5/13/14: The required edition of the Heath Anthology of American Literature Volume A Beginnings to 1800 is now the 7th edition, not the 6th edition. Make sure that you buy the right one. The required books are listed below. All other required readings will be posted on CTools as pdf files.
ISBN: 9780195042399
The coquette, Author: Hannah Webster Foster ; edited with an introduction by Cathy N. Davidson., Publisher: Oxford University Press 1986
ISBN: 9781603846202
A true and exact history of the island of Barbados, Author: Richard Ligon ; edited, with an introduction, by Karen Ordahl Kupperman., Publisher: Hackett Pub. Co. 2011
ISBN: 9780393312058
Oroonoko or the Royal Slave, Author: Aphra Behn ; with an Introduction by Lore Metzger., Publisher: W.W. Norton [Repr.] 1997
ISBN: 0872208532
Edgar Huntly ; or, Memoirs of a sleep-walker : with related texts, Author: Charles Brockden Brown ; edited, with an introduction and notes, by Philip Barnard and Stephen Shapiro., Publisher: Hackett 2006
ISBN: 1133310222
The heath anthology of American literature. beginnings to 1800, Author: Paul Lauter, Richard Yarborough, John Alberti, [et. al.,...]., Publisher: Wadsworth Cengage Learning 7e ed. 2013
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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