This survey lecture is indispensable for understanding the development of American literature within changing historical contexts. The first part will carry you from its indigenous and colonial beginnings through its development in the 18th and early 19th centuries all the way to the Civil War. As a consequence of exploring the meanings of the terms "America" and "literature" and their relevance for the definition of an American literary 'canon,' special emphasis will be put on the impact of ethnicity, gender, and social relations on American writing. The survey lecture forms the backbone of your studies of American Literature; It is highly recommended that you attend the course. Most texts discussed in the lecture will be taken from the Heath Anthology of American Literature, ed. Paul Lauter (Fifth edition, vols. A and B, ISBN 0-618-54239-6; or a used earlier edition) whose purchase is recommended to students who want to specialize in American Studies. Some texts will be available as a Reader.
Please note that this lecture forms part of various literature modules (Grundlagen I, Grundlagen II, Vertiefung I).