Survey of American Literature: Beginnings to 1865

English 3300
John Evelev
Tate 111

This course begins with the question of "where does American literature begin?," comparing Native folklore, European first contact narratives and "contact zone" narratives where Native and European cultures begin to mix. From there, we will explore the range of literary expression in US culture, including the conventional literary genres of fiction and poetry, but also the many different genres (including captivity narrative, sermon, spiritual autobiography, slave narrative, political broadside, and official political documents) that characterizes early American literature.  Far from dry and irrelevant, these texts reflect many of the political and social issues that we Americans are still debating and the course will actively trace out the parallels and comparisons between the past and the present.  Required work: multiple short papers, 3 short answer exams, participation in shared class note-taking assignment.