Course Info and Syllabi


English 343-001

Survey of American Literature to 1860

Spring 2014


Prof. Philip F. Gura                                                         

Greenlaw 426                                                                               962-4033



Text: Nina Baym et al., The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 8th ed.  (Package 1).

  Course Description and Requirements: This is a chronological survey of American literature, broadly conceived, from the period of English settlement through the poetry of Dickinson and Whitman. Students are expected to familiarize themselves not only with the texts but also with the development of the varieties of American literature over time (including biographical information about authors). Some of this material will be covered in class, but I may take some of the exam questions from the introductory section to each movement/writer in the Anthology.

 There will be three-in-class examinations (January 24th, February 28th, April 7th), and a final examination. Attendance and class participation are expected. After your third unexcused absence, I will start deducting from your final grade.

Plagiarism: The Honor Code is in effect in this class and all others at the University. I am committed to treating Honor Code violations seriously and urge all students to become familiar with its terms ( If you have questions, it is your responsibility to ask me about the code’s application. All exams and other written work must be submitted with a statement that you have complied with the requirements of the Honor Code.



Jan. 8, 10:  Introduction. Definitions and terms. Period of Contact and Exploration. Overview, Vol. A, Contact, pp. 34-54; Colonization: The Chesapeake. Volume A: 81-99.


Jan. 13, 15, 17: Colonization: Puritan New England. Volume A: pp. 13-18; 71-81; 121-186.




Jan. 22, Exam in class January 24th: New England Puritanism: Anne Bradstreet and Mary Rowlandson. Volume A: pp. 207-237; 256-288.


Jan. 27, 29, 31: To the Eighteenth Century: Cotton Mather and Benjamin Franklin. Volume A:, 327-361, 480-542.


Feb. 3, 5, 7: Edwards, Volume A: pp. 396- 441.


Feb. 10, 12, 14:  The Eighteenth Century: Crevecoeur and Equiano. Volume A: pp., 604-624, 687-721.


Feb. 17, 19, 21: Early Romanticism (Irving, Cooper, Bryant. Volume Volume B: pp. 3-21, 25-85, 121-128.


Feb. 24, 26, 28: Romantics: Poe, and Emerson and the Transcendentalists. Volume B: pp. 629-680, 211-285, 295-325,740-777. In class exam, February 28th.


March 3, 5, 7:  Henry David Thoreau. Volume B: pp. 961-1033, 1136-1155.




March 17, 19, 21: Nathaniel Hawthorne. Volume B: pp. 369-372, 386-393, 409-429.


March 24, 26, 28: Continue Hawthorne, and Herman Melville. Volume B: pp. 1424-1439, 1483-1509, 1587-1643.


March 31, April 2, 4: Continue Melville. Other Versions of the American Self (Douglass and Apess). Volume B: pp. 1170-1250. 129-159.


April 7: In-class Exam; 9, 11: Whitman, Volume B: pp. 1310-1386. 1395-1402.


April 14, 16, NO CLASS APRIL 18: Finish Whitman; Dickinson (selections announced in class).


April 21, 23, 25: Dickinson


English 347: The American Novel

Spring 2014

Prof. Philip F. Gura                                                                             Greenlaw 426



             Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland

            Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance

            Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin

            Elizabeth Stoddard, The Morgesons

            Herman Melville Moby-Dick

            William Faulkner, Light in August

            Harold Frederic, The Damnation of Theron Ware


This course is meant to introduce you to the variety of the American novel, from the late eighteenth through the early twentieth century. We will begin with Hawthorne’s account of a Transcendentalist utopia, The Blithedale Romance (1852); then we will move back to one of the earliest American novels, Brown’s Wieland (1798), to see how he handled similar psychological themes. Then we will move on to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), instrumental in galvanizing opposition to slavery. After that, we read  Moby-Dick (1851), Melville’s masterpiece and then will turn to Elizabeth Stoddard’s newly recovered psychological novel, The Morgesons (1862). We will end with William Faulkner’s modernist experiment, Light in August (1932). On your own, you also will read Harold Frederic’s scathing realist portrait of a fallen minister, The Damnation of Theron Ware (1896).

 In no way is the course meant to be inclusive. If anything, it is minimal, with the titles chosen to suggest the different ways that authors have thought about the project of fiction, and about how fiction related to the United States of America at different points in time. In lecture I will try to suggest more about the great range of novels which we simply do not have time to sample and as well to provide some cultural and historical background to each of the works. The reading assignments at times will be lengthy, so when you have spare time, read ahead.

 There will be in-class tests January 24th, February 24th, March 24. There also will be a final at the assigned time. You also may expect occasional pop quizzes, to make sure that you keep up with the reading assignments. Attendance and class participation is expected. After your third unexcused absence, I will start deducting from your final grade. Your approximate final grade will be based on the three exams (25% each) and the final (25%), which will not be cumulative. In your final grade I also will consider attendance, participation, and your performance on the quizzes.

 Please note that Frederic’s Damnation of Theron Ware will not be discussed in class. You are to read it during the semester and will write on it in the final exam.

 Honor Code: Students are required to familiarize themselves with the Student Honor Code regarding plagiarism. Refer to



 January 8, 10: Introduction to course, Hawthorne’s Blithedale Romance

 January 13, 15, 17: Hawthorne’s Blithedale

 No class Jan. 20th. MLK Holiday.

 Jan. 22: Complete Blithedale. In class test Jan. 24th.

 Jan. 27, 29, 31: Intro to Brown and to Wieland

 February 3, 5, 7: Wieland.

 February 10, 12, 14: Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin..

 February 17, 19, 21: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

 February 24: In-class test; Feb. 26, 28: Melville, Moby-Dick

 March 3, 5, 7: Moby-Dick.

 Week of March 10th: NO CLASS: FALL BREAK

 March 17, 19, 21: Complete Moby-Dick.

 March 24: In-class test; March , 26, 28: Stoddard, The Morgesons

 March 31, April 2, 4: November 12, 14:  The Morgesons

 April 7, 9, 11: Faulkner, Light in August

 April 14, 16, Faulkner, Light in August.

 No Class April 18th.

 April 21, 23, 24:  Faulkner, Light in August