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EN242Frederick Douglass

American Literature Survey

MWF 12:40-1:40 p.m.

Instructor: Ursula McTaggart

This course will introduce you to the basic literary themes and trends in American literature. It is not exhaustive, and it can only offer us glimpses into the lives of those who have historically been left out of such surveys: Native Americans, African-Americans, and women. Nevertheless, we will attempt to trace both the traditional narrative of American literature and a variety of counter-narratives. How did the notion of “America” originally arise, and how did natives, settlers, and immigrants begin to define who belonged and who didn’t belong? What relationships did people in the Americas develop with the land and with one another? What literary forms did they choose to express these relationships? Readings will include Cotton Mather’s tellings of the Puritan witch trials, Frederick Douglass’s slave narrative, Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, and William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.

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