Welcome to the Department of English at Rutgers University

01  MW4  CAC  14475  MCGILL  MU-204

This course will introduce students to some of the major American texts of the pre-Civil War period and to the critical debates that have shaped our understanding of them.  We will study the contrary pulls of cosmopolitanism and literary nationalism; the relation of Native Americans to national identity; the emergence of experimental forms of autobiography; individualism, mass-culture, and the mass subject; print culture and the development of short fiction; slavery, anti-slavery, and cultural authority; sentimentality, sensationalism and the novel; democracy and poetry.

Authors will include:  Washington Irving, William Cullen Bryant, Lydia Maria Child, Lydia Sigourney, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Fanny Fern, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Jacobs, Dion Boucicault, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman.

Students will complete a series of short exercises in close reading and the use of print and digital resources; they will also write two short papers and a final exam.


why english wide


 Undergraduate Students


Graduate Program in English


Statue of "Willie the Silent"