The process of American westward expansion was accompanied by a sizeable body of fictional texts which are today regarded as classics of American literature. Interestingly, most writers were critical of the political process of territorial acquisition and some of them offered views of cultural encounters that differed markedly from the legitimatory ideology displayed in the political rhetoric of their time. We will discuss novels representing continental encounters with Native Americans and Mexicans, as well as imaginary and autobiographically based maritime travels by Poe and Melville – which invite us to regard America's transoceanic ventures as being part of the nation's consolidation as one of the leading imperial powers of the world, even before the 'imperial' period of American history officially began. These different literary positionings will invite class discussion on the creative and critical potential of literature as a cultural discourse.
Students will have to purchase a Reader (Copy&Paste), as well as the following texts:
- Charles Brockden Brown (1799). Edgar Huntly; or Memoirs of a Sleep-walker. Penguin. ISBN 0140390626
- James Fenimore Cooper (1826). The Last of the Mohicans. Modern Library. ISBN-10: 0375757643
- Edgar Allan Poe (1837). The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. OUP. ISBN-10: 9780199540471 (or Penguin)
- Herman Melville (1846). Typee, or A Peep at Polynesian Life. Modern Library. ISBN-10: 0375757457
- John Rollin Ridge (1854). The Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta. Penguin. ISBN-10: 9780143132653
Please sign up via Stud.IP. All students have to participate in a QUIZ (Lektürekontrolle) on the first 100 pages of Charles Brockden Brown's novel Edgar Huntly in the first session. Please read and bring along the text. If you pass the quiz you're enrolled in the class regardless of Stud.IP registration.
für BATS (Modul: Anglophone Literaturen in historischen transkulturellen Kontexten)