Dr. David W. Newton
Office: TLC 2333
836-6512 (please leave a message with the secretary if I am not in)
Office Hours: Arranged by appointment
UWG Graduate Catalog: An examination of representative literary works from the era of exploration and discovery through the era of the new American republic.
While it is often characterized as an era populated by dour-faced Puritans and sermonic texts, Colonial American literature is instead as an era of dynamic cultural encounters and transitions, which radically altered Europe and the New World. Our reading will reflect the diversity of literary works and cultural perspectives from this 300-year period and will include exploration narratives by women and men, Native American literature, and women novelists from the early republic. Among the topics we will consider: 1) how early exploration narratives shaped the European vision of the Americas and were used to translate the New World to European audiences; 2) the transforming experience of first encounters with the geographical landscape of the Americas and with people from other cultures; 3) the construction of the New World as a constantly evolving fictional text out of which early explorers and colonists struggled to fashion new personal and social identities; 4) the textual and interpretive challenge of reconstructing early Native American oral narratives; 5) the evolution of gender roles during the Colonial and New Republic eras; and 6) the role of language and writing in the era of exploration and in the formation of the new nation.
Students will be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of selected texts from the Colonial and Early American era.
Students will show comprehension and an application of theoretical and critical foundations for the interpretation of literature from the Colonial and Early American era, including an annotated bibliography and/or oral presentation of 10-12 secondary sources.
Students will reveal in both oral and written work a discipline-specific critical facility through convincing and well-supported analysis of course-related material.
Students will display their command of academic English and of the tenets of sound composition by means of thesis-driven analytical prose, including at least 12-15 pages of research-based writing.
Students will be capable of conducting independent and meaningful course-related research and of synthesizing it in the form of a correctly documented research paper.
Relationship of Course to Program Goals
This course prepares students to complete successfully the comprehensive oral examination that is required for all M.A. degree candidates.
This course provides students with literary, historical, and critical contexts related to texts on the department's required reading list.
Oral presentations in the course strengthen students' presentation skills and prepare them further for the oral comprehensive examination which is required for the M.A. degree.
Gaining further knowledge of texts in this area strengthens students' content area knowledge, prepares them for taking nationally recognized standardized examinations, such as the advanced GRE subject examination in English, and further prepares them for careers in teaching, writing, and business or advanced graduate-level study.
Required Texts (Note: Students should purchase these specific editions).
Early American Writing. Guiles Gunn, ed. Penguin.
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Louis P.,Masur, ed. Bedford / St. Martin’s (The Bedford Series in History and Culture).
Charlotte Temple by Susanna Rowson. Cathy Davidson, ed. Oxford UP.
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Written by Himself. Robert Allison, ed. Bedford / St. Martin’s (The Bedford Series in History and Culture).
Edgar Huntley by Charles Brockden Brown. Penguin.
The Way to Rainy Mountain by Scott Momaday. University of New Mexico Press.
A True Relation [of] Virginia by Captain John Smith. Available online at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/jamestown-browse?id=J1007. A copy will be placed on reserve in the Ingram Library).
NOTE: Graduate students will be expected to complete additional reading assignments in secondary critical sources related to the primary works of literature listed above. These will be linked online or available on reserve in the Ingram library.
10% Presentation/Homework Assignments (includes oral presentations and written reports)
10% Annotated Bibliography (10-12 Secondary Sources)
10% Response Essay I
10% Response Essay II
20% Midterm Examination
20% Final Examination
20% Final Research Project (12-15 pages)
NOTE: Your response papers and presentation assignments involve writing-to-learn activities in which you will be using the writing exercise itself to come to terms with the material we have read. Your responses will be used to generate class discussion as well as to help you gain confidence in your abilities to read and write about what you have learned. They will be evaluated in terms of these expectations. The final research project may grow out of the initial work you've done on the response papers. ALL of these written assignments should conform to the standards of college-level, academic writing.
Students will be assigned a letter grade for each assignment ranging from A+ to F based on the following numerical scale. The numerical grade will be used when calculating the final average at the end of the semester. Please note that graduate students can only receive one of the following final grades: A, B, C, or F.
|97-100 = A+||87-89 = B+||77-79 = C+||below 70 = F|
|94-96 = A||84-86 = B||74- 76 = C|
|90-93 = A-||80-83 = B-||70- 73 = C-|
Improving your critical thinking and presentation skills requires commitment and concentrated effort. Therefore, careful preparation and active participation are crucial to your success in this course. I expect you to be present and on time for all class meetings. Readings and other assignments should be completed in advance of each class. You should come prepared to participate actively in our class discussions. Because of the collaborative nature of our work, you should make every effort to be present and prepared when others are depending on you. If you are going to be absent from class, you should let me know, preferably in advance. Late work will not be accepted unless you make arrangements with me in advance and you have a legitimate reason (a serious medical or family emergency) for turning in work after it is due. In the case of excused absences, it is your responsibility to make arrangements with me to complete assignments you have missed immediately upon your return to class. Failure to follow these guidelines will result in a zero or grade reduction for work not submitted on time. You will not be able to make up missed in-class assignments or group work done in class, and you will not receive credit for these assignments.
If you find it unavoidable to miss class, be aware of the following guidelines:
a) No distinctions will be made between excused and unexcused absences.
Four absences are allowed during the course of the semester. Every absence
thereafter will result in a one-third letter grade reduction of your final
grade in the course, regardless of the nature of the absence.
b) Roll will be taken during every class period at the beginning of class. If you arrive late, it is your responsibility to let us know so you are not counted absent.
c) It is your responsibility to keep up with your absences and tardies.
d) You should use your allotted absences wisely. Unplanned or unexpected occurrences are likely, so be prepared to use absences for these events only.
e) Entering class late and leaving class before it is over is distracting for me and others taking the course and will count as an unexcused absence, unless you have a legitimate excuse for doing so.
NOTE: Excessive absences or tardiness from class may result in your administrative withdrawal from this course with a grade of F.
Homework Assignments, Presentations and Classroom Activities
Throughout the course, you will be expected to complete outside reading and homework assignments, written and oral classroom presentations, and other classroom activities. These assignments are designed to reinforce the information presented in reading assignments and lectures. Some of these assignments will be collaborative (group work). Others will give you an opportunity to present information to the class for consideration and discussion. In-class and out-of-class writing assignments are designed to assist you with your reading and to help you generate ideas for your critical essays. We will work on a variety of writing assignments, including brief response papers and collaborative writing activities. These writing assignments will give you an opportunity to offer your own insights into and observations about the material we are reading, as well as raise questions and ideas you may want to develop later. You should keep these assignments in a loose-leaf notebook (or folder). You will not be able to make up assignments that are missed due to unexcused absences. Throughout the course you also will be assigned individual and group reports to be presented to the entire class. These presentations will focus on the reading assignments or topics we are discussing in class. Presentations will be assessed on the basis on organization, clarity, and presentation style. I will provide you with instructions for these assignments as the course progresses.
Annotated Bibliography (Click
In addition to the primary works of literature covered in this course, graduate students should become conversant as well with representative scholarly sources that are significant to the study of Early American and Colonial Literature. I will provide you with a list of sources and guidelines for completing the annotated bibliography later in the course. It will be due on the date listed in the syllabus.
In addition to oral presentations and other brief writing assignments, you will write two response papers (2-3 typewritten pages each). Each paper will address a specific topic related to the assigned readings or topics we are covering in the course. I will give you more specific information about the requirements for each paper later in the course. All papers are due in class on the day specified in the syllabus. Papers turned in late will be lowered one letter grade for each day late (24 hours after the original due date and time). If you have to turn in a paper late, you should contact me in advance and let me know. NOTE: I realize that extenuating circumstances sometimes occur; therefore, you are allowed one excused late response paper, turned in by the next class period without penalty, if you notify me in advance.
Midterm and Final Examinations
Examinations will be based on readings assignments, course lectures, and other materials presented in class. For each examination students will be expected to know the major terms and figures, concepts and theories related to the study of American culture that will be presented in reading assignments and course lectures. Consequently, students should be thoroughly familiar with each reading assignment and be prepared to take notes during class. Examinations cannot be taken late or scheduled at an alternate time unless you have a serious medical emergency or another legitimate reason for doing so. In the event that such circumstances arise, you must let me know in advance to schedule an alternate time to take the examination. Otherwise, late exams will be marked down one letter grade for each day they are taken late. I will provide you with a brief study guide prior to each exam.
Final Research Paper
The final research paper (a minimum of 10 pages of type-written research-based analysis) will represent the culmination of your study in this course. Your paper can focus on any aspect of the literature we have studied in this course, pending my final approval. I will provide you with more specific details about the requirements for the paper in the weeks ahead. The paper is due on the date listed in the syllabus. Papers turned in late will be marked down one letter grade for each day they are late. I will be glad to meet with you outside of class to discuss specific research topics. The project is a formal academic assignment and will be assessed on the basis of structure, content, grammar, writing style, proper paper format, and documentation of sources.
It will be crucial for you to become familiar with how to use this technology for the purposes of this class. I will assist you if this is new to you. However, additional information can be found online at the UWG Technology / Surfing Guide:
Plagiarism & Academic Dishonesty
UWG defines plagiarism as taking personal credit for the words and ideas of others as they are presented in electronic, print, and verbal sources. I expect that students will accurately credit sources in all assignments. An equally dishonest practice is fabricating sources or facts; it is another form of misrepresenting the truth. Plagiarism is grounds for failing the course. Any student caught submitting materials (in part or whole) as their own work from online websites will fail the course automatically and be referred to the Academic Discipline Council.
Conferences and Outside Assistance
I will be glad to meet with you outside of class to discuss your work in this class, the writing assignments or the texts we are studying. If you are having trouble with the material in this class or have questions and/or concerns you would like to discuss, please set up a time a meet with me. You can also schedule an appointment with the university writing center (located on the first floor of the TLC).
NOTE: Please make a xerox copy of all written work you turn in to me, in case it is misplaced or lost. Save your work on a computer disk! I will not give you credit for work you claim to turn in but that I do not have in my possession.
Readings and Assignments
NOTE: Drop/Add for all courses ends on Wednesday, August 21. It is your responsibility to get drop/add notices submitted via BANWEB or turned in (not mailed in) to the Registrar by 5:00 pm. After that day, you must get a withdrawal slip. You will receive a grade of either W or WF for the course. The last day to withdraw with a grade of W/WF is October 10th. After that date you must apply for a hardship withdrawal from the Dean.
NOTE: Readings and assignments are due on the day they are listed in the syllabus. Changes or additions to the readings will likely occur throughout the course. I will announce these in class and post them on the course homepage (http://www.westga.edu/~dnewton)
EAW = Early American Writing
T 8/20-- Course Introduction; Assignments and Requirements.
Background Reading: “Introduction,” EAW xv-xl.
R 8/22-- Early Exploration Narratives and European Responses
Focus Reading: Columbus, 25-31; Vespucci, 32-36.
T 8/27-- Columbus and Vespucci, continued.
Read: Vespucci, Account of His First Voyage to Pier Soderini (1497), (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1497vespucci-america.html); Columbus, selections from the second and third voyages (handout).
Background Reading: Thomas More, EAW 37-41; de Vaca, EAW 42-47; Martyr, EAW 52-54; Montaigne, EAW 55-60; Hariot, EAW 61-64; Raleigh, EAW 65-70; Hakluyt, EAW 74-77; Bacon, EAW 81-85.
R 8/29-- Homer, The Odyssey, Book V (http://www.online-literature.com/homer/odyssey/); Dante, The Inferno, Canto XXVI, lines 77-135 (http://www.bartleby.com/20/); Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IV, lines 1-359 (http://elf.chaoscafe.com/milton/).
T 9/3 -- John Smith, A True Relation [of] Virginia (http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/jamestown-browse?id=J1007).
R 9/5-- Smith, A True Relation, conclusion.
T 9/10-- Response Paper I Due. Puritans in New England
Read: George Herbert, EAW 89-91; John Winthrop, EAW 108-112; William Bradford, EAW 119-36.
R 9/12-- Thomas Morton, EAW 137-46; Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The May-Pole of Merry Mount;” Ann Hutchinson, “EAW 158-69.
T 9/17-- Puritan Poetry: Anne Bradstreet
Read (in EAW): "The Prologue," 176-77; "The Author to Her Book, 178; "Before the Birth of One of Her Children, 178-79; "Contemplations," 179-85; "To My Dear and Loving Husband," 185; "A Letter to Her Husband . . . ," 186; "Here Follow Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House," 187-88.
R 9/19-- Bradstreet, conclusion.
T 9/24-- Rowlandson, A Narrative of the Captivity and Restauration of Mary Rowlandson, EAW 216-30.
R 9/26-- Edward Taylor, Poems, EAW 232-44.
T 10/1-- Taylor, conclusion.
R 10/3-- Midterm Examination
T 10/8-- Jonathan Edwards, “Sarah Pierrpont,” EAW 311-312; from Personal Narrative, EAW 312-20; “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” 320-33.
R 10/10-- Withdrawal W/WF Deadline. Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography.
T 10/12-- Franklin, continued
R 10/17-- Franklin, conclusion; Thomas Paine: from Of the Religion of Deism Compared with the Christian Religion, EAW 490-94.
T 10/22-- Women Writers in the Early Republic. Focus Reading: Susanna Rowson, Charlotte Temple.
Background Reading: Thomas Paine, “An Occasional Letter on the Female Sex,” EAW 485-89; Judith Sargent Murray, “On the Equality of the Sexes,” EAW 548-55.
R 10/24-- Charlotte Temple, conclusion.
T 10/29-- Annotated Bibliography Due. African and African-American Literature
Focus Reading: Phyllis Wheatley, EAW 566-69; Countee Cullen, “Heritage” (online at either http://www.nku.edu/~diesmanj/cullen.html#heritage or http://etext.virginia.edu/harlem/CulHeriF.html).
Background Reading: Woolman, from Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes, EAW 391-96.
R 10/31-- Oloudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Oloudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself.
T 11/5-- Equiano, conclusion.
R 11/7— Hector St. John De Crevecoeur, from Letters from an American
Letter II: “Of the Situation, Feelings, and Pleasures of an American Farmer;” Letter III: “What is an American?” (http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/CREV/home.html).
T 11/12-- Response Paper II Due. Brown, Edgar Huntley, or Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker;
R 11/14-- Edgar Huntley, continued.
T 11/19-- Edgar Huntley, conclusion.
R 11/21-- Native American Literature
Background Reading: “Native American Mythology,” EAW 5-19; “Native American Oratory,” EAW 405-12; Franklin, “Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America,” EAW 358-62.
Focus Reading: Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain.
T 11/26 -- Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain, continued.
R 11/28-- Thanksgiving Holiday, No Classes Held
T 12/3-- Last Day of Class. The Way to Rainy Mountain, conclusion.
M 4/29 -- Last Day to Submit Research Papers (Due in my office by 3 pm)
R 12/12-- Final Examination, 11am - 1 pm