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Survey of American Literature to 1865, Fall 2005

LIT 2000-01                    T Th 12:30-1:45                    A-321

Kimberly M. Radek,  Instructor  
Office:  A-311, MWF 10:00-11:00 & MW 12:00-1:00 and T 11:00-12:15
Phone: 815-224-0395         E-mail: Kimberly_Radek@ivcc.edu

Note: This class may be cancelled for low enrollment!

There are currently only nine students registered for it!

Texts | Grades | AttendanceLiterature of Conquest | Revolutionary Literature | Romantic Literature

Course Objectives                                 

This course introduces you to representative works of American writers from approximately the Colonial Period to 1865 (or so).  You will read different literary forms, and you should become able to identify motifs, themes, and structural patterns in the literature.  Additionally, you will learn historical, philosophical, religious, and cultural information to help increase your understanding and appreciation of the works. You will need critical reading and writing skills to successfully complete this course, hence the prerequisites of English 1001 and 1002.  By the end of the course, you should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the texts, the authors and literary movements that produced them, and the elements of those texts, such as symbols, themes, and points of view.

Required Texts

Baym, Nina, et al., eds.  The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Sixth Edition. Volumes A and B. New York:   W.W. Norton & Company, 2002.

Brown, Charles Brockden.  Wieland.

Rowson, Susannah. Charlotte: A Tale of Truth.

Recommended Text

Lynch, Rose Marie, and Kimberly M. Radek.  Style Book.  1996.

Grading Scale (%)

 A: 100-90         B: 89-80         C: 79-70         D: 69-60         F: 59-0

Breakdown of Grades (not including reductions for poor attendance, etc.)

Class Participation: 25%   Examination #1 10%
Reaction Papers (3) 15% Examination #2 10%
Researched Reaction Papers (1) 30%  Examination #3 10%

Class Participation: You will be evaluated on your contribution and efforts to the class.  All homework, in-class writings, computer assignments, presentations, and quizzes will be graded and make up part of your class participation grade.  Additionally, preparation for class, participation in class discussion, and tardiness contribute to this category of evaluation.

The Papers: All submitted drafts should be done on a computer.  They must be double-spaced, laser-printed, and follow standard MLA format.  In these papers you will react to a work of literature that we've covered in class, explaining what its message is, how that message relates to you, whether you find it an enjoyable or useful read, and whether you think it is a good or great work of literature.  One reaction paper will be on Brown's Wieland, the others on the assigned readings of your choice.  In the researched reaction paper, you should find out how some other published reader has answered the above prompts and explain whether you agree or disagree with that reader's opinions, using the text itself to make either the proof or refutation of that opinion.  I expect that you will research one of the texts that you've already written a reaction paper on, so that the researched paper adds to your earlier draft. Late papers  will not be accepted without prior authorization and will result in a zero percent "F."   All of these papers should, of course, have clearly stated thesis statements in their first paragraphs.

The due dates of the papers correspond to the topic of the paper.  Your reaction paper for a given subject is due at the beginning of the class period immediately following the conclusion of our in-class study of said subject.  Researched reaction papers are due at the beginning of the class period the week following the conclusion of our in-class study of said subject. For example, following the syllabus, a reaction paper on Christopher Columbus would be due on 27 August 2001 and a researched reaction paper on Columbus would be due on 3 September 2001 (if it weren't Labor Day; since it is, that paper would be due 5 September 2001, actually). All papers are due by the beginning of class on 3 December 2001, which means you may not due reaction papers on any authors appearing after Poe on this syllabus. Likewise, you may not do a research paper on Poe or the authors that follow him.

Papers will be given letter grades that will be converted to percentage points before I compute the final semester grade, and they will be evaluated on audience, content, grammar, organization, presentation, spelling, and style.

The Examinations: You will be tested over the material covered in class lecture, discussions, and assigned readings.  The examinations will include short answer, multiple choice, and passage identification questions, but will be largely based upon essay questions.  These exams will show that you can read these texts critically and analytically, identify common themes and issues in them, and write clearly about them.


Because the class, itself, will determine the quantity and depth of the texts we study, your attendance is extremely important. You cannot learn (or help others learn through insightful discussion) if you are not in class.  You will not receive credit for any work you miss or fail to turn in to me while or because you are out of class. Each student is allowed three absences.  After three absences, the final semester grade will be lowered by one letter grade for each absence.  Thus, seven or more absences will result in a grade of "F" for the semester. If your family, work, or sports schedule will prevent you from attending four (or more) classes, you should probably not be in this section, as your grade will likely suffer.  It is your responsibility to request, by November 8th, that I withdraw you, if you find that you are not going to be able to complete the course.

Note: The only absences I consider excused are IVCC-sponsored trips.  If  you will be attending one of these, your assignments and papers must be turned in to me in advance of the trip.

Expected Student Outcomes

1.  The student will read texts with understanding and appreciation, reacting to and analyzing what he or she has read.

2.  The student will listen actively to lectures and discussions, asking questions for clarification on ideas or issues, if needed.

3.  The student will participate in discussion, offering his or her insights about the literature or asking the class or instructor for clarification on material he or she does not completely understand.

4.  The student will integrate and cite accurately information of other writers, using other writers' opinions, beliefs, and/or observations to support his or her own opinions, beliefs, and/or observations.

5.  The student will synthesize lecture, discussion, and text materials to come to a more solid world view on the impact writing has and has had upon history and the impact history has and has had upon writing.

Desired Attitudes Toward the Course

Students will respect each other's personal beliefs and be committed to helping each other learn more about the course information and themselves.  Students will help each other improve their written and oral communication skills so that each student may be more confident in his or her own unique personal voice and see the authority in his or her own personal experience.  Students will prepare thoroughly for class.


The College's policy on plagiarism applies in this class; I will question you if your work does not appear to be your own.  Keep all notes, outlines, drafts, and finished assignments so that you can demonstrate that writing you have submitted is your own work, should any question of plagiarism arise.

Tentative Class Schedule  
Readings are due for class on the day they are listed
Pages numbers not yet updated for Fall 2005
Deadlines, Readings, and Subjects
Th 8/18 Introduction to Course and Texts
Explanation of Syllabus and Instructor Philosophy
    Baym et al., pages 1-10
T 8/23  Stories of the Beginning of the World: Native American Literature
    Baym et al., pages 52-59

 Literature of Conquest

Th  8/25 Baym et al., pages 11-14: Columbus
Baym et al., pages 15-18: De Las Casas
T 8/30  Baym et al., pages 102-120: Smith
European Immigration to North America

    Baym et al., pages 153-163
Th 9/1 Baym et al., pages 164-187: Bradford
T 9/6 No Class--Faculty Development Day
Th 9/8 Baym et al., pages 164-187: Bradford
T 9/13 Baym et al., pages 205-234: Morton and Winthrop
Th 9/15 Baym et al., pages 234-246: Williams
T 9/20 Baym et al., pages 297-330: Rowlandson (same as in text)
Th 9/22 Baym et al., pages 355-373: Sewall 
T 9/27 Baym et al., pages 373-411: Mather 
Th 9/29 Early American Puritan Poets
Baym et al., pages 246-297 and 330-355:
Bradstreet, Wigglesworth, and Taylor
T 10/4  Byrd
Th 10/6 Baym et al., pages 411-439: Knight and Byrd  
T 10/11  Baym et al., pages 440-491: Edwards
Th 10/13 Examination #1

Revolutionary Literature

T 10/18 Baym et al., pages 491-523: Franklin 
Th 10/20 Baym et al., pages 596-612: Woolman
Baym et al., pages 640-665: Crèvecoeur
T 10/25 Baym et al., pages 675-691: Adams 
Baym et al., pages 824-840: Wheatley
Th 10/27 Baym et al., pages 691-719: Paine and Jefferson
T 11/1 Charlotte: A Tale of Truth, chapters 1-21: Rowson
Th 11/3 Charlotte: A Tale of Truth, chapters 22-33: Rowson
T 11/8 Charlotte: A Tale of Truth
Let me know by 3:15 PM today if you'd like to withdraw from this class.
Th 11/10  Examination #2

Romantic Literature

T 11/15 Baym et al., pages 806-823: Freneau
Baym et al., pages 934-969:  Irving
Th 11/17 Wieland, chapters 1-15: Brown
T 11/22 Wieland, chapters 11-27: Brown
Th 11/24 No Class--Pilgrim Holiday
T 11/29 Baym et al., pages 1069-1126: Emerson
Th 12/1 Baym et al., pages 1220-1305: Hawthorne
Baym et al., pages 1480-1580: Poe
T 12/6 Baym et al., pages 1589-1626: Lincoln and Fuller
Th 12/8 American Romantic Poets
Baym et al., pages 2076-2241: Whitman
Baym et al., pages 2488-2525: Dickinson
Th 12/15 Examination #3

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