When F.O. Matthiessen introduced the term 'American Renaissance' in 1941, he used it to define a period in 19th century American literature and culture which was marked by enormous artistic creativity and a nascent American self-confidence in the arts and letters and beyond. Matthiessen's notion of this specifically American Renaissance was rather narrow, comprising merely the years between 1850 and 1855 and including great works of only five authors, all of them white and male: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville and Walt Whitman. In recent decades, several critics have expanded on Matthiessen's concept and identified the American Renaissance as a much broader phenomenon which took its cue not only from Romanticism and Transcendentalism, but also from such movements as abolitionism, early feminism and others. In this seminar, we will look at a number of texts written by Matthiessen's favorites, but also by authors who were added to the movement later, e.g. Edgar Allan Poe, Margaret Fuller, Frederick Douglass and others. The genres will range from fiction to poetry, philosophical treatises, journalism and other forms of literary non-fiction. Students are introduced to a number of major 19th century authors and their works; they are invited to question the validity of concepts taken from literary history and to approach literary texts as part of a larger network of cultural discourses that attempt to shape a specifically American identity. Students wishing to attend must buy the Norton Critical Edition of Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and read it for the first session. There will be a short quiz to test your knowledge of this text.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter and Other Writings. Ed. Leland S. Person. Norton Critical Editions. New York, London: 2005. Edgar Allan Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and Related Tales. Ed. J. Gerald Kennedy. Oxford World's Classics. Oxford, 1998. Please stick to these editions. All other texts, e.g. Emerson's -The American Scholar-, Thoreau's -Walking- or Melville's -The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids- will be collected in a reader that will be available in the Wiso-Pool copy shop in early October. Bemerkung A C H T U N G: Die erste Sitzung kann erst in der zweiten Semesterwoche stattfinden, am 23.10.14!!! Voraussetzungen Successful completion of an undergraduate research paper. Leistungsnachweis Graduate research paper (20-25 standard pages), active and regular participation. BA and MA students may also take a final oral exam instead of a research paper (please check your Prüfungsordnung for details) FB 02 Institut für Anglistik / Amerikanistik Successful completion of an undergraduate research paper. Graduate research paper (20-25 standard pages), active and regular participation. BA and MA students may also take a final oral exam instead of a research paper (please check your Prüfungsordnung for details) Uni Kassel WiSe 2014/15 Anglistik/Englisch Dr. Heiler Lars