American Beginnings

HNR 340 - American Beginnings

MySlice Info:

Term: Spring 2018
Class #: 32599
Section: M001
Credits: 3

Roylance, Patricia

Counts toward:
HNR Hum, Global Non-Eurocentric, Public Presentation

Course Time(s):
MW 03:45pm-05:05pm


Course Description:

When, where, and with what does “American literature” begin? At stake in this question are our basic assumptions about what Americanness is, as well as our basic assumptions about what literature is. Who gets to be called an “American” and what counts as “literature”? Should Native American oral stories be part of the canon of American literature? How about the letters from Spanish and French explorers describing the Americas to their royal backers? How about William Shakespeare's The Tempest, which takes place on an island obviously inspired by the New World? This class will read a variety of early American writings, including traditionally revered accounts of the founding and early days of the British settlements at Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, and Jamestown. But we will also draw from a more expansively defined “early America,” potentially encompassing Native America, the colonial Americas (Spanish, French, British, and Dutch), and the writers in Europe who were responding to the idea of the New World (new to them, at least).