ENGL-152-01 Literature of the Atlantic Empire
Fall for 2009-2010
Literature of the Atlantic Empire: From Colonies to Republic
In this course, we will examine some British, Native American, Anglo-American, African-British, and American literature that grew out of the collision of cultures in the Americas in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, particularly, though not exclusively, in the Chesapeake and Caribbean regions. In these fictional and non-fictional narratives and poems, we will be interested in several interrelated concerns: the construction of ideas of civilization and savagery; the working out of the dynamics of slavery and freedom (understood historically and economically, but also as figures for psychological and spiritual processes); and the articulation of selfhood and subjectivity in a colonial context. In addition, we will pay attention to the question of whether there are significant and growing differences between Old World and New World identities. Among the works we will read are Oroonoko; Robinson Crusoe; Byrd’s Secret History; Equiano’s Interesting Narrative of the Life; Franklin’s Autogiography; Foster’s The Coquette; Brown’s Wieland; and James Fenimore Cooper’s The Prairie. There will be several shorter papers, two longer papers, and a final exam.
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