Module Identifier EN11020  
Academic Year 2004/2005  
Co-ordinator Dr Matthew R Jarvis  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Miss Cristina Bellodi, Mr Clive Meachen, Ms Cristina Bellodi, Mrs Carol M Marshall, Dr Helena Grice, Mr John Wrighton, Dr Luke A Thurston, Dr Matthew C Francis  
Course delivery Lecture   20 x 1 hour lectures  
  Seminars / Tutorials   10 x 1 hour seminars  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment A writing portfolio of approximately 4000 words, which will demonstrate active critical engagement with the core texts across the module and the issues raised in both lectures and seminars.100%

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module students will be able to:

1. an analytical approach to the literary texts set for study and a critical attitude towards published scholarship on the subject of those texts;

2. an ability to analyse the forces at work in forming a literary canon and in calling it into question;

3. an ability to conduct elementary research and to develop writing skills through conducting different sorts of assignments;

4. an ability to develop small group work within seminars and to make individual and group presentations.

Brief description

This module introduces students both to a range of American literature from the colonial period to the end of the nineteenth century and to the skills needed to analyse and critique American literature in its historical context. It focuses on the role of literature in dramatizing and debating the myths and realities of American experience. Simultaneously it investigates the relationship between literature and society, while also paying attention to literary genre. For students taking American Studies, it will develop the skills and knowledge required for the interdisciplinary study of American culture at Part II.



1. Module introduction / Native American oral literature
2. Creating Puritan New England

3. Learning Skills: Using library and electronic resources for American Studies research 4. Creating an `American' literature: Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe

5. The American Renaissance: an introduction
6. Transcendentalism: Key Issues

7. Three key figures: Emerson, Thoreau, and Fuller
8. Essay Writing: Good practice in written assignments for American Studies

9. The American Romance
10. Nathaniel Hawthorne

11. Herman Melville's fiction
12. Personal skills and development

13. The literature of slavery and abolition
14. Democratic vistas: The poetry of Walt Whitman

15. Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn I
16. Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn II

17. Emily Dickinson's poetry
18. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper

19. Course conclusion: American literature at the end of the nineteenth century
20. Module Panel


Note: unless specified, all page references are to the fourth edition of The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Volume 1.


Cultures in Contact: Native Americans and Europeans

Reading: `Iroquois or Confederacy of the Five Nations' (Iroquois) (Heath, pp. 56-59); Handsome Lake (Seneca), `How America Was Discovered' (Heath, pp. 780-81); John Winthrop, `A Modell of Christian Charity' (Heath, pp. 296-304); Mary Rowlandson, A Narrative of the Captivity and Restauration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson (Heath, pp. 428-56)

Myths, Tales, and Legends of the Antebellum Period

Reading: Washington Irving, `Rip Van Winkle' and `The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' (Heath, pp. 2081-2093 and 2093-2112); Edgar Allan Poe, `Ligeia' and `The Fall of the House of Usher' (Heath, pp. 2390-2400 and 2400-2413)

Emerson and Fuller

Reading: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (Heath, pp. 1516-543); Margaret Fuller, from `Woman in the Nineteenth Century' (Heath, pp. 1631-653)

Thoreau and Hawthorne

Reading: Henry David Thoreau, `Resistance to Civil Government' (Heath, pp. 1672-686); Nathaniel Hawthorne, `Young Goodman Brown' and `Rappaccini's Daughter' (Heath, pp. 2186-195 and 2215-234)

Herman Melville

Reading: Herman Melville, 'Benito Cereno' (Heath, pp. 2598-655)

The Literature of Slavery and Abolition

Reading: Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (Heath, pp. 1817-880); Frances Harper, `The Slave Mother', `The Tennessee Hero', `Free Labor', `An Appeal to the American People', `The Colored People in America' (Heath, pp. 1930-936)

Walt Whitman

Reading: Walt Whitman, `Song of Myself' (Heath, pp. 2863-914)

`The Rest Is Just Cheating'

Reading: Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Women at the End of the Nineteenth Century

Reading: Poems by Emily Dickinson (Heath, pp. 2974-008); Charlotte Perkins Gilman, `The Yellow Wallpaper' (Heath, Volume 2, pp. 725-736)

Reading Lists

** Should Be Purchased
Charlotte Perkins Gilman The Yellow Wallpaper Virago (or in Heath Anthology Volume II: set text for EN11120)
Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Penguin
Paul Lauter & Richard Yarborough, et al., (eds.) (2001) The Heath Anthology of American Literature: Volume 1, Colonial Period-1865 4th edition: Houghton Mifflin (Academic) 0618109196


This module is at CQFW Level 4