E 372L • The American Renaissance
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
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.
Attendance and participation 30%
Paper 1 (5-6 pages) 20%
Paper 2 (5-6 pages) 20%
Paper 3 (6-8 pages) 30%
Papers will be graded on a portfolio basis to afford opportunity for revisions. Attendance is mandatory; weekly brief focused response writings, to be supplemented by reading quizzes, will be a regular feature of the course. Also, you may be asked to deliver one or two informal presentations to the class.
Thomas Gray, Confessions of Nat Turner
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance and other Essays
Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin
Henry David Thoreau, Walden