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ENGLISH 365F: American Renaissance Literature: The Invention of the American Author

Investigation of the problematic production of an American national literature in the antebellum period. Readings include generically diverse range of texts in which the particular requirements of an ¿American¿ authorship are specifically at issue. Focus upon various theories and problems of authorship as they appear explicitly or implicitly in the fiction, poetry, correspondence, and criticism of the period. These issues include the impact of the democratic-revolutionary legacy upon the development of American literary form; the rise of a literary cultural elite and its importance to the formation of an American public sphere; elite anxieties concerning the marginal status of United States literature in relation to European culture; the consequent marginalization of ¿Americanness¿ as that which resists cultural development; the literary appropriation of ¿commonness¿ as central to the representation of national character; theories of ¿the popular voice¿ and the textual emergence of voices resistant to such theories.
Last offered: Winter 2019 | Units: 3-5
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