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

Spring 2008

E 372L • The American Renaissance

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35265 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
BEN 1.104
Kevorkian, M

Course Description

In the 1830s, Ralph Waldo Emerson began issuing his proclamation that "the need was never greater of new revelation than now." Emerson called upon his audiences to declare themselves "newborn bard[s] of the Holy Ghost" -- to produce American scriptures for the nineteenth century. In the body of antebellum texts that has come to be known as the "American Renaissance," authors including Fuller, Hawthorne, Melville, Stowe, Thoreau, and Douglass variously answered a call to prophecy -- whether Emerson's or their own. Predominantly focusing on what might more properly be called a "New England Renaissance," our course will nevertheless attend to prophetic voices, and American needs for prophecy, arising both inside and outside of Concord.

Grading Policy

Two short (5-6 page) papers and one slightly longer (6-8 page) term paper will make up the bulk of the final grade. Papers will be graded on a "portfolio" basis to afford opportunity for revisions.

Attendance is mandatory; repeated unexcused absences will affect your grade. Weekly brief focused response writings, to be supplemented by reading quizzes, will be a regular feature of the course, to be used as catalysts for discussion and the development of paper topics. Also, you may be asked to take a turn in facilitating class discussion.

attendance and participation 30 %
paper 1 20 %
paper 2 20 %
paper 3 30 %

Papers are due in class no later than the date listed on the syllabus. Late papers will be penalized at a rate of one letter grade per class meeting. Plagiarism = Failure. For guidelines, see


Self-Reliance and other Essays, Ralph Waldo Emerson; also, please see
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass
Woman in the Nineteenth Century, Margaret Fuller
The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
Moby-Dick, Herman Melville
Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
Walden, Henry David Thoreau
Supplementary readings will be handed out in class during the semester.


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