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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2006

E 395M • Early American Novels

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34040 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
PAR 305

Course Description

In our readings of earlier American novels, we will pay attention to religion as a thematic element as well as a structuring principle. For example, while reading early instances of the sentimental, the gothic, and the picaresque, we will conduct a speculative inquiry into how these novelistic genres might express some of the tendencies of conversion morphologies, including Puritan-approved and antinomian varieties. The tradition of the captivity narrative, which often overlaps with conversion narrative, will also play a part in our account. Although the question of religion as such will not command our entire focus, we will attempt to sustain a consistent concern with the interplay between narrative, genre, and conversion. We will begin with a substantial cluster of texts from the end of the eighteenth century and will conclude with resonant selections from mid-nineteenth century.


Brown, W.H., The Power of Sympathy

Foster, The Coquette

Tyler, The Algerine Captive

Brown, C.B., Wieland, Edgar Huntly

Tenney, Female Quixotism

Brackenridge, Modern Chivalry

Sedgwick, A New-England Tale

Child, Hobomok

Melville, Typee

Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Fanny Fern, Ruth Hall

Featured scholarly work:

Cathy Davidson, Revolution and the Word

Jay Fliegelman, Prodigals and Pilgrims

Shirley Samuels, Romances of the Republic


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