Teaching the Literatures of Early America

Overview

In this era of shifting geopolitical boundaries, numerous books and articles question what "American" literature is, what "the literary" is, and how what is called early American literature can best be taught. This fifteenth volume of the MLA series Options for Teaching examines these issues and offers approaches and methods to help teachers and their students reconceptualize early American literatures as a complex body of multifaceted works rather than as merely an offshoot of ...

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Overview

In this era of shifting geopolitical boundaries, numerous books and articles question what "American" literature is, what "the literary" is, and how what is called early American literature can best be taught. This fifteenth volume of the MLA series Options for Teaching examines these issues and offers approaches and methods to help teachers and their students reconceptualize early American literatures as a complex body of multifaceted works rather than as merely an offshoot of British culture or a putatively American past.

Part 1 consists of both multidisciplinary approaches and more narrowly framed investigations. Some essays discuss the rewards of teaching early American materials from groups not considered dominant--Native Americans, African Americans, women, French and Spanish colonials. Others treat English and Anglo-American writings, including those of the Puritans, the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, and American Enlightenment thinkers. Four essays on genre studies focus on early poetry, fiction, drama, autobiography, and captivity narratives.

In part 2, five teachers describe courses they have taught and give detailed syllabi. Completing the book is a bibliographic essay that reviews existing literature in the areas covered and provides a quick survey of secondary materials.

Designed for teachers at the undergraduate and graduate levels, Teaching the Literatures of Early America shows the rigorous, invigorating, and innovative ways in which scholars and teachers have been addressing the richness and variety of early materials.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book will cause instructors to inventory their presentist attitudes and assumptions about the colonial period and 'American literature.' The myriad of approaches outlined in the volume will improve the teaching ability of the instructor willing to invest the extra time in course preparation and, if needed, reorganization. Indisputably, the collection will enhance the learning experiences of those students whose notions of early American literature are rooted in literature detailing the contributions of Christopher Columbus and the Pilgrims to early American society." --Vernetta Johnson, University of South Florida

"This book will cause instructors to inventory their presentist attitudes and assumptions about the colonial period and 'American literature.' The myriad of approaches outlined in the volume will improve the teaching ability of the instructor willing to invest the extra time in course preparation and, if needed, reorganization. Indisputably, the collection will enhance the learning experiences of those students whose notions of early American literature are rooted in literature detailing the contributions of Christopher Columbus and the Pilgrims to early American society." --Vernetta Johnson, University of South Florida

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780873523585
  • Publisher: Modern Language Association of America
  • Publication date: 1/1/1999
  • Series: Options for Teaching Series
  • Pages: 414
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author


Carla Mulford, associate professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, was the founding president of the Society of Early Americanists and the editor of colonial materials for the canon-shifting Heath Anthology of American Literature (1st ed., 1990). Her publications include over twenty-five essays, as well as John Leacock's First Book of the American Chronicles of the Times, 1774-1775 (1987); Only for the Eye of a Friend: The Poems of Annis Boudinot Stockton (1995); a Penguin Classics edition of W. H. Brown's The Power of Sympathy and H. W. Foster's The Coquette (1996); and American Women Prose Writers to 1820, with Angela Vietto and Amy E. Winans (1998).
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction 1
Part I Issues, Themes, Methods
Beyond the Boundaries of the Americas
The Old Wisdom: Introducing Native American Materials 11
Diversity and Difference in African American Writings 27
Early Women's Texts 48
Figuring Multicultural Practice in Early American Literature Classrooms 63
Resisting Colonialism 75
Spanish and French Colonial Writings
Colonial Spanish Writings 97
Early French North American Writings 112
British Colonial and Postcolonial Writings
The Literature of England's Staple Colonies 129
The Literature of Colonial English Puritanism 143
The American Enlightenment and Endless Emancipation 155
Federalism and Conflict 170
Genre Studies
Early Anglo-American Poetry: Genre, Voice, Art, and Representation 187
Early American Prose Fiction and the Anxieties of Affluence 200
Early American Drama and Theater 213
American Self-Fashioning and the Problems of Autobiography 229
Captivity Narratives 243
Part II Selected Courses
The Early American Literature Survey 259
Gender, Genre, and Culture: A Two-Quarter Graduate Seminar 272
Common Ground on Different Borders: A Comparative Study of Chicano/a and Puritan Writers 297
From "The Melting Pot" to Multiculturalism 309
New Worlds, 1450-1750: A Historian's Perspective on the Study of Colonial America 321
Part III Resources
Resources for Early American Studies: A Selective Guide 338
Notes on Contributors 387
Index 393
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