The first thematic series published for American literature, THE WADSWORTH THEMES IN AMERICAN LITERATURE SERIES is currently comprised of 21 themes spanning the time period normally covered in the two-semester American literature survey course--1492 to the present. Each carefully edited booklet centers on a core issue of the period with attention given to the development of key themes. Each thematic booklet offers an introductory contextual essay, a variety of literary perspectives, headnotes and footnotes, along with a variety of visual elements. Shirley Samuels--a Professor of English and American Studies who also chairs the History of Art and Visual Studies Department at Cornell--has established herself as a major voice in the field of nineteenth-century American literature and culture. In the second sequence of booklets, Samuels looks at the early days of the American republic, a period stretching from 1800-1865, taking us through the Civil War. This was a period of huge expansion as well as consolidation. The question of identity arose on different fronts, and we see the beginnings of the women's movement in the nineteenth century. Racial questions came into focus during this era, too, and the groundwork for the Civil War is unhappily laid. A range of inspiring and heart-rending texts from a time of bloodshed, hatred, and immense idealism concludes the thematic sequence.
Jay Parini is a poet, novelist, and biographer. He is Axinn Professor of English at Middlebury College in Vermont. Among his books are THE LAST STATION (Holt, 1990), BENJAMIN'S CROSSING (Holt, 1997), THE ART OF SUBTRACTION: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS (Braziller, 2005), and WHY POETRY MATTERS (Yale, 2008). He has written biographies of John Steinbeck, Robert Frost, and William Faulkner. He has edited numerous books, including THE OXFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN LITERATURE (Oxford, 2004) and THE WADSWORTH ANTHOLOGY OF POETRY (Wadsworth, 2006).
Shirley Samuels is currently Chair of the Department of the History of Art at Cornell as well as Professor of English and American Studies. Her books include FACING AMERICA: ICONOGRAPHY AND THE CIVIL WAR (Oxford University Press, 2004); COMPANION TO AMERICAN FICTION, 1780-1865 (editor) (Blackwell, 2004); ROMANCES OF THE REPUBLIC: WOMEN, THE FAMILY, AND VIOLENCE IN THE LITERATURE OF THE EARLY AMERICAN NATION (Oxford University Press, 1996); and THE CULTURE OF SENTIMENT: RACE, GENDER, AND SENTIMENTALITY (editor) (Oxford University Press, 1992).
Eliza Leslie (1787-1858). From The Behaviour Book. Chapter XX. Conduct to Literary Women. Catherine Beecher (1800-1878). From The American Woman's Home. Chapter XV. Domestic Manners. George Henry Evans (1805-1856). The Working Men's Declaration of Independence. T. S. Arthur (1809-1885). From Ten Nights in a Bar Room and What I Saw There. Night the First. Fanny Fern (Sarah Willis Parton) (1811-1872). A Law More Nice than Just. The Working-Girls of New York. Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902). Declaration of Sentiments. Ik Marvel [pseudonym for Donald Grant Mitchell] (1822-1908). From Reveries of a Bachelor. First Reverie: Smoke, Flame, and Ashes. Lucy Larcom (1824-1893). Weaving. Adah Isaacs Menken (ca. 1835-1868). Judith.