ENG 255 : American Literature Precolonial to 1865

This course surveys a variety of authors and genres of writing from pre-colonial times through the Civil War. Readings are drawn from works by Native Americans, Spanish, French, and English explorers; Puritans, Revolutionary War leaders, African Americans, Gothic writers, Transcendentalists and abolitionists, and early feminists. Topics for discussion and writing include ways in which both an author's culture as well as historical circumstances, informed the author's work, the work of other authors, and our understanding of who we are as multicultural Americans. Prerequisite: ENG 102 or permission of instructor. Three class hours a week. Gen. Ed. Competencies Met: Human Expression and Multicultural and Social Perspectives.
  1. Further their critical thinking and writing skills about literature gained in ENG 102.
  2. Recognize ways in which changing beliefs and attitudes about race, gender, religion, ethnicity, social class, disability, sexual orientation, and linguistic background influence who and gets published – no longer canonical writers only.
  3. Challenge their own assumptions or expectations about what American literature is and who its authors are.
  4. Identify various literary styles and genres, some European in origin and some specifically American.
  5. Articulate major values, beliefs, and traditions of different cultures as reflected in the literature.
  6. Recognize and demonstrate the social and historical circumstances that shaped the values, beliefs, and traditions of different cultures as reflected in the literature.
  7. Understand and illustrate that writers of different cultures are influenced by each other.
  8. Recognize that literature is a means of creating identification of self and society.
9. Evaluate the extent to which American literature informs his or her own sense of self.