English 260 On-Line
Early American Literature and its Contexts

Required Texts and Information:

The Heath Anthology of American Literature: Vols A & B

Dr. Charles Bradshaw’s Website for Early American Lit: Research Links and Research Assignments and Presentation Questions

Office Hrs: 131M Humanities M,W,F 4-5; By appointment.

Office #: 731-588-7327

Email: cbradshaw@utm.edu

Course Objectives:

In the most general terms, this course should help you --Understand regional, colloquial, cultural and national diversity in language and literature. --Realize the complex connections American literature shares with other countries and cultures. --Know a wide range of literature from many periods and genres through class reading, discussion and writing. --Develop reading strategies to improve comprehension. More specifically, this course should familiarize the class with a range of American literature written before the Civil War. Within this historical framework, we will work toward understanding some of the social, political, philosophical and cultural influences in early America and how they shaped and were shaped by writing. This interaction between culture and literature, text and context, is the aim of our inquiry and should guide your thoughts as you read, write, and discuss.

Requirements and Policies:


Requirements and Policies:

Reading Discussion Questions and Discussion Summary (3)            15%

Reading Discussion Responses  (12)                                                 20%

1 Midterm                                                                                          15 %
2 Papers (750 words)                                                                         30%
Final Exam                                                                                         20%
Total                                                                                                 100%


A 90% and above
B 80%
C 70%
D 60%
F 59% and below

READING DISCUSSION QUESTIONS AND DISCUSSION SUMMARY will be an ongoing process throughout the semester. If you look at the syllabus schedule and the Research Assignments and Presentation Questions, you'll notice that the course is divided into six sections that correspond roughly with a period or movement in early American literature. You will need to be responsible for choosing one question from three (3) of the six sections, researching the answer to that question (you can use the Paul Meek Library and/or the Research Links I've provided, or other scholarly sources) and then posing that question to the class on the Blackboard Discussion site. Students will then be required to respond to that question with their own thoughts based on the readings they have done for the class. After one week, you will need to formally summarize the responses for me and write a definitive answer to the question you initially posed. I will expect your response to be backed up by at least two sources (one of which may be the text, the other which must be scholarly) and also by references to replies made to your discussion question. This response should be 500-750 words and should contain a works cited page. You'll need to submit it to the Blackboard Drop Box within two weeks of your initial posting of the question. I will assign you the three questions.

READING DISCUSSION RESPONSES are your written responses on the discussion board to the questions (mentioned in the above paragraph) that are posed by your classmates. You will be required to write at least one response per week. You may write more, but you are only required to write one. Many weeks there will be more than one question to respond to, and I would encourage you to respond to as many as you like or provide follow-up responses to as many as you like, but I will only give you credit for your first response each week. I will not count your responses for the first or second weeks of class, or the week of Spring Break, so those will be voluntary. I would like your responses to be intelligent and collegiate. If the discussion becomes too conversational or not collegiate enough, I will contact the offending student and make him/her reply again to get credit. Discussion boards are wonderful things, but I do not want the conversations that take place on the board to degenerate into email and Internet lingo! Please no short-hand terminology (e.g. "R U dun w/ th reedings 4 tmrow? lol") Also, realize that what you post on the discussion board is public and will be read by others who may or may not share your views or beliefs. If you have an opinion to share, do it, but support your opinion by referring to the readings as proof of your opinion, not something you heard on talk radio or MSNBC! And do it as if you are in front of a group of people, face to face, not anonymously!

should ensure that you are keeping up on the reading in the class. Since this represents a significant portion of your grade, please keep up on the reading!

PAPERS are formal essays that focus on a specific issue or theme that comes from your reading and/or class discussion. I will provide you with two or three topics to choose from for each paper. In all your papers I look specifically at the relationship between language and meaning. That is, you will need to account for the way an author uses language to convey a certain theme or meaning—more on this as deadlines approach.

The FINAL EXAM must be taken to pass the class. Please don't ask for any exceptions. The final will be comprehensive and will require you to be familiar with the readings for the whole semester.

PLAGIARISM and other forms of cheating or dishonesty will result in failure of the assignment and may result in failure of the class and expulsion from the university. The promise of a university education assumes that all material and information is openly and honestly acquired and confidently shared. Any attempt to gain an unethical advantage over other students is dishonest and undermines the very values a liberal education desires to instill.

SPECIAL NEEDS requiring special consideration or attention from me should be addressed as quickly as possible. The student should also register with the PACE office during the first two weeks of class.


All of the readings listed (unless otherwise indicated) come from The Heath Anthology of American Literature Vols. A & B. The schedule below breaks these readings up into managable parts and is meant as a guide to keep you current with the class. Please try to have the readings completed by the day listed on the syllabus so that you may stay current with the discussion. I realize many of you have awkward schedules, but if you get behind on the readings, it is best to make sure you are current with the schedule before you try to "catch-up" on the past readings you missed.


2.1-5 75 Questions: Berry, Burkhart, Burton, Ellis, Espey, A. Frazier

M    Columbus, from Journal of the 1st Voyage to America, from

        Narrative of the 3rd Voyage; Alvar Nunez Cabaza de Vaca,

        from Relation of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca.

W    Thomas Harriott, from A Briefe and True Report of the New        

        Found Land of Virginia; John Smith from A Description of          

        New England.

F      William Bradford, from Of Plymouth Plantation Book I Chs.                I, IX, Book II Chs. XIX, XXVIII, XXXII

2.8-12 Questions: W. Frazier, Goff, Gwaltney, Haydel, Helton, Holmes

M    William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, cont’d; Thomas

         Morton, from New English Canaan Chs. XIV-XVI.

The Puritans

W    John Winthrop, from A Model of Christian Charity; Roger

        Williams, from A Key into the Language of America Chapter

        XXII, “To the Town of Providence”

F      from The New England Primer: “Alphabet,” “The Dutiful

        Child’s Promises,” “Verses,” “The Death of John Rogers,”

        Michael Wigglesworth from “The Day of Doom” Verses 1-24


2.15-19 Questions: Jordan, King, McClora, Merriweather, Perry, Pollock

M    Ann Bradstreet “The Prologue [To Her Book],” “The Author

        to Her Book,” “To My Dear and Loving Husband,” Upon the

        Burning of Our House July 10th, 1666”; Edward Taylor

        “Huswifery,” from God’s Determinations--“The Preface,”

       “The Souls Groan to Christ for Succour,” “Christ’s Reply,”

        “The Joy of Church Fellowship Rightly Attended”

W    Mary Rowlandson from A Narrative of the Captivity and

        Restauration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson

F      Mary Rowlandson cont’d; Cotton Mather from The Wonders

        of the Invisible World, “The Devil Attacks the People of   

        God,” “The Trial of Martha Carrier at the Court of Oyer and  


Enlightenment, Revolution, and Citizenship

2.22-27 Questions: Ray, Ross, Anders, Skelton, Stricklin, Thomas, Tuten

M    John Locke from Essay Concerning Human Understanding

       Chapter 1; Thomas Paine from The Age of Reason Ch. 1;

       Jonathan Edwards “Personal Narrative”

W    Jonathan Edwards “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”;

       Benjamin Franklin from  The Autobiography “Part One,”

        “Part Two,”

F      Benjamin Franklin Cont’d.

Heath Anthology Page #s Volume A and B, 5th edition.

120-31; 141-51


239-46; 264-67
236-33, 334-37, 338-43
309-17; 362-66
434-37, Web Link
396, 402, 406, 409; 472-79
635; 643-44; 656-65
666-76; 828-85

3.1-5 Questions: Berry, Burkhart, Burton, Ellis, Espey, A. Frazier

M    Paper #1 Due 9:00PM, J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur from              Letters from an American Farmer “Letter I, III, IX, XII”;

       Thomas Paine from Common Sense; The Federalist “No. 10”  

W    Midterm Prep/Questions; Thomas Jefferson from Notes on

        the State of Virginia “Queries XI, XVIII,” “Letter to

        Benjamin Banneker,” D. of I. from Autobiography of Thomas

        Jefferson; Phyllis Wheatley “On Being Brought from Africa

        to America,” “To His Excellency General Washington”

F      Midterm must be taken before 3.10; Susanna Rowson from

        Charlotte Temple Chs. I, IV, VII, IX, XI, XII, XIV.

Romanticism, The Individual, Imagination, and Fiction

3.8-12 Questions: W. Frazier, Goff, Gwaltney, Haydel, Helton, Holmes

M    Ralph Waldo Emerson from Nature “Introduction,” Chs. I-IV.

W    Emerson cont’d. “The Poet”; Henry David Thoreau

        “Resistance to Civil Government”

F      Thoreau from Walden


3.24-28 Questions: Jordan, King, McClora, Merriweather, Perry, Pollock

M    Thoreau from Walden cont’d.

W    Nathaniel Hawthorne “Young Goodman Brown,” “The

        Minister’s Black Veil”

F      Hawthorne “The Birth-mark,” “Rappaccini’s Daughter”

3.29-4.2 Questions: Ray, Ross, Anders, Skelton, Stricklin, Thomas, Tuten

M    Edgar Allen Poe and Death? “The Fall of the House of

        Usher,” “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar”

W    Poe and Alchohol “The Black Cat,” “The Cask of Amontillado"(http://www.literature.org/authors/poe-edgar-allan/amontillado.html)

F      Herman Melville “The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus

        of Maids”

4.5-9 Questions: Berry, Burkhart, Burton, Ellis, Espey, A. Frazier

M    Melville Benito Cereno

W    Melville Benito Cereno

F      Good Friday

4.12-16 Questions: W. Frazier, Goff, Gwaltney, Haydel, Helton, Holmes

M    Frederick Douglass from Narrative of the Life of Frederick

        Douglass, an American Slave

W    Douglass cont’d.

F      Harriet Jacobs from  Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Chs.

        I, VI, X.

4.19-23 Questions: Jordan, King, McClora, Merriweather, Perry, Pollock

M    Harriet Beecher Stowe from Uncle Tom’s Cabin Chs. I, VII,

       XL, XLI

W    Elizabeth Cady Stanton “Declaration of Sentiments”;

        Sojourner Truth “Speech at the Akron, Ohio Women’s Rights

        Meeting”; Fanny Fern “The Working-Girls of New York”

Poetry and Perspective

F      Walt Whitman “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer”;

        William Cullen Bryant “Thanatopsis,” “To a Waterfowl,”

        “To Cole, the Painter, Departing for Europe”; Henry Wadsworth

        Longfellow “A Psalm of Life,” “The Warning,” “The Jewish

        Cemetery at Newport”; Paper #2 Due 9:00 PM.

4.26-4.30 Questions: Ray, Ross, Anders, Skelton, Stricklin, Thomas, Tuten

M    Abraham Lincoln “The Gettysburg Address,” Walt Whitman

       “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”

W    Whitman “Song of Myself”

F      Emily Dickinson poem #s (Johnson Edition—designated by

        “J. 49” or “J. 498” etc. after the poem)

        49, 67, 241, 249,  258, 324, 435, 465, 520, 632, 1129


M    Dickinson cont’d; FINAL EXAM QUESTIONS



R 5.6-W 5.12  FINAL EXAMS; FINAL EXAM Must be taken

        by 5.10 11:59PM.

922-25, 928-33, 934-56, 959-64, 1034-38
999-1003, 1009-1010, 1015, 1057-60; 1247, 1252
1638-52; 1738-52
2472-85, 2515-2520
2495-2501, Web Link
2549-2561, 2583-88
2113-15; 2096, 2107-08
3007; 2888-2890, 2891, 2892; 2898-2902
2078; 3013-20