A Cultural History of American Literature I

Exploration and Settlement, Invasion and Interculturality:
American Literature and Culture from the Sixteenth Century to the Revolution

(Prof. Dr. F. Kelleter)

Please note that this is only the default version of the syllabus. During Prof. Kelleter's sabbatical in the winter term 2010/11, this lecture is taught by Prof. Dr. Nicole Waller. To download the actual syllabus for the winter term 2010/11, including dates and modified reading assignments, click here.
Please bring this syllabus to the first session!

You may also download a set of study questions (PDF file) for this lecture course.

Handouts and slides for Prof. Waller's lecture of the current semester will be posted on Stud.IP! By clicking on the individual sessions below, you may access handouts for Prof. Kelleter's lecture of the winter term 07/08.

Session 1

European New World Writing (Columbus, Las Casas, Montaigne, Shakespeare)

Reading: Christopher Columbus, Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the First Voyage, Letter to Ferdinand and Isabella Regarding the Fourth Voyage (selections in Norton); Bartolomé de Las Casas, The Very Brief Relation of the Devastation of the Indies (selections in Norton); Michel de Montaigne, selections from "Of Cannibals"; William Shakespeare, selections from The Tempest; from The Enduring Vision, chapter 2: "The Rise of the Atlantic World, 1400-1625" (722-51).
Suggested: Wayne Franklin, "Literature to 1700" (Introduction in Norton); Thomas More, selections from Thomas More, Utopia; Bernal Díaz del Castillo, The True History of the Conquest of New Spain (selections in Norton 6 or in the reader).

Session 2

Sensual Worlds, Imperial Worlds: Thomas Harriot, John Smith, and the Culture of Colonial Virginia

Reading: Sir Walter Raleigh, selections from The Discovery of Guiana; Harriot, A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (selections in Norton); Smith, The General History of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles (selections in Norton); Francis Bacon, from Novum Organum: Aphorisms 84, 85, 92.
Suggested: Smith, selections from A True Relation of Virginia and A Map of Virginia.

Session 3

Studying New England Puritanism: Why and How?

Reading: from The Enduring Vision, chapter 3: subchapter "The New England Way" (761-74) or "Puritanism in New England" (661-73); John Winthrop, "A Model of Christian Charity" and The Journal of John Winthrop (selections in Norton).
Suggested: John Cotton, "God[']s Promise to His Plantations".

Session 4

The Promised Land as Wilderness: William Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation (1630/46)

Reading: Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation (selections in Norton).

Session 5

Two Early Colonial Genres: The Puritan Sermon and the Spiritual Autobiography

Reading: Thomas Hooker, from The Application of Redemption: "IX. The Heart Must Be Broken", Thomas Shepard, selections from The Autobiography of Thomas Shepard.

Session 6

Heretics and Dissenters: Thomas Morton, Anne Hutchinson, Roger Williams

Reading: Morton, New English Canaan (selections in Norton); selections from "The Examination of Mrs. Ann Hutchinson at the Court at Newtown"; Williams, A Key into the Language of America (selections in Norton).
Suggested: re-read passages about Williams and Hutchinson in Winthrop's Journal.

Session 7

Puritan Poetry (1): Anne Bradstreet

Reading: Bradstreet, "The Prologue," "To My Dear and Loving Husband," "A Letter to Her Husband, Absent upon Public Employment," "Another [Letter to Her Husband, Absent upon Public Employment]," "Contemplations".

Session 8

Puritan Poetry (2): Anne Bradstreet (continued) and Edward Taylor

Reading: Bradstreet, "Before the Birth of One of Her Children," "In Memory of My
Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet, Who Deceased August, 1665, Being a Year and a Half Old," "In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Anne Bradstreet, Who Deceased June 20, 1669, Being Three Years and Seven Months Old," "On My Dear Grandchild Simon Bradstreet, Who Died on 16 November, 1669, Being But a Month, and One Day Old," "To My Dear Children"; Taylor, "Upon Wedlock, and Death of Children," "Huswifery."
Suggested: Taylor, Sermon VI from Treatise Concerning the Lord's Supper (selections in Norton 6 or in the reader).

Session 9

Indian Affairs (1): John Eliot and the Tragedy of the Puritan Mission

Reading: Eliot, "Dialog. I" from Indian Dialogues.

Session 10

Indian Affairs (2): Mary Rowlandson and the Indian Captivity Narrative

Reading: Rowlandson, A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson [= The Sovereignty and Goodness of God, together with the Faithfulness of His Promises Displayed].

Session 11

The End of Puritan Orthodoxy: From Cotton Mather and the Salem Witchcraft Trials to the Great Awakening

Reading: Mather, The Wonders of the Invisible World (selections in Norton), from Magnalia Christi Americana: title page, "General Introduction, §1", "Nehemias Americanus: The Life of John Winthrop, Esq., Governor of the Massachusetts Colony."
Suggested: Samuel Danforth, "A Brief Recognition of New England's Errand into the Wilderness"; from Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana: "Galeacius Secundus: The Life of William Bradford, Esq., Governor of Plymouth Colony."

Session 12

Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening

Reading: Edwards, Personal Narrative, A Divine and Supernatural Light, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"; from Frank Kelleter, Amerikanische Aufklärung, chapter 5.4 "Kommunikationsstrukturen der evangelikalen Öffentlichkeit" (289-305).
Suggested: from Kelleter, Amerikanische Aufklärung, chapter 5.4 "Kommunikationsstrukturen der evangelikalen Öffentlichkeit" (305-310).

Session 13

Bourgeois Turns: Charles Chauncy and Benjamin Franklin

Reading: Chauncy, selections from Enthusiasm Described and Caution'd Against; Franklin, The Autobiography: Part One.
Suggested: from Kelleter, Amerikanische Aufklärung, chapter 6.1 "Positionen in der Auseinandersetzung um die Erweckungsbewegung" (312-333).

Session 14

The First American Classic? Benjamin Franklin's The Autobiography (1771-90)

Reading: Franklin, The Autobiography.

Most texts are included in the Norton Anthology of American Literature (Seventh Edition, Volume A). Texts not included in Norton7 can be bought as a course reader at the copy-store "Klartext."
If you cannot attend this lecture course because of a scheduling conflict with other mandatory courses, please see us in advance and we will organize screenings of the lecture course for you, and provide you with material for independent study. Please understand that we can provide this service only if you contact us before the first week of classes!
For all organizational matters, please contact Birte Otten.