American Literature Syllabi

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American Literature Syllabi

American Literature Syllabi

American Literature Syllabi

American Literature Syllabi

Creating a syllabus for an American literature course involves selecting a diverse range of texts that represent different periods, genres, and voices in American literary history. Below is a sample syllabus for an American literature course. Keep in mind that the specific texts and themes can be adjusted based on the course’s level, duration, and goals.

Course Title: Introduction to American Literature

Course Description:

This course provides an overview of American literary history, exploring key works that have shaped the nation’s cultural and literary identity. Students will engage with texts from various genres and periods, gaining insights into the development of American literature and its reflection of societal changes.

Week 1-2: Early American Voices:

Texts:
Anne Bradstreet: Selected Poetry
Jonathan Edwards: Sermons

Themes:
Puritanism and early religious writing
Exploration of American identity in the colonial era

Week 3-4: Revolutionary America

Texts:

Thomas Paine: “Common Sense”
Phillis Wheatley: Selected Poetry

Themes:

Literature and political discourse during the Revolutionary War
The role of women and enslaved individuals in early American literature

Week 5-6: Romanticism and Transcendentalism

Texts:

Washington Irving: “Rip Van Winkle”
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Selected Essays

Themes:

Exploration of nature and individualism. The influence of European Romanticism on American literature

Week 7-8: The American Renaissance

Texts:

Nathaniel Hawthorne: “The Scarlet Letter”
Herman Melville: “Bartleby, the Scrivener”

Themes:
Examination of morality and society
Dark Romanticism and the complexities of human nature

Week 9-10: Realism and Regionalism

Texts:

Mark Twain: “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
Sarah Orne Jewett: “The Country of the Pointed Firs”

Themes:
Representation of everyday life and regional diversity
Critique of societal norms in the post-Civil War era

Week 11-12: The Harlem Renaissance

Texts:

Langston Hughes: Selected Poetry
Zora Neale Hurston: “Their Eyes Were Watching God”

Themes:

African American literary contributions in the 1920s
Exploration of racial and gender identity

Week 13-14: Modernism and Beyond

Texts:

T.S. Eliot: “The Waste Land”
J.D. Salinger: “The Catcher in the Rye”

Themes:

Experimentation with form and language in modernist literature
Reflection of post-World War II societal changes

Week 15: Contemporary Voices

Texts:

Toni Morrison: “Beloved”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: “Americanah”

Themes:
Diverse perspectives in contemporary American literature
Themes of race, identity, and globalization

Assessment:

Participation and class discussions
Critical essays on selected texts
Midterm and final exams
Group projects on specific literary movements or themes

Note:

This syllabus is a sample and can be adapted based on the course’s specific objectives, duration, and the instructor’s preferences. It is recommended to include a variety of texts, including short stories, poetry, novels, and essays, to offer students a comprehensive understanding of American literary history. 0 0 0. American Literature Syllabi.

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