American Literature

Textbook: Adventures in American Literature

The study of American literature will include the chronological study of six separate literary periods, the historical, cultural, and philosophical influences on American literature, as well as the study of different genre or types of literature. The following is a list of those periods and their subdivisions:

American Literary Periods & Subdivisions

Dates are somewhat arbitarary and are not exactly the same in all texts.

Colonial Period (1588-1750)

Neo-Classic Period (1750-1800)

No actual subdivisions, but referred to by these different names:

Romantic Period (1800-1855)

Realism (1855-1915)

Modern Period (1915-1945)

Often thought of as an extension of Realism, but with many literary "experiements," including the "open form" and "stream of consciousness."

Contemporary Period (1945-Present)

Living writers (Future scholars will likely divide these writer into decades.)


Additionally, students will read a modern play, The Crucible, and an American novel, The Great Gatsby.

Students will write essay responses to many literary selections, interpreting the literature using textual citations for their support. The purpose of the course is not only to learn about literature, but also to learn from literature. Essays will be structured to allow students to demonstrate both types of learning.

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