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VO Survey of American Literary History (Maierhofer)

1.Stunde - 11.03.2014

Structure the exam in two levels. Get somebody hooked: get somebodys attention.

When do we have to hand in the responses: the best would be before we discuss the texts in class. But by the latest 28 of May Wednesday.

Start reading with Cooper and Melville because that are fat books.

Letters from an American Farmer (1782) not on the reading list but ist an important book.

What is American literature?

Utopia =positive, paradiselike. Distopia= the oposite.

Youtube Allen Ginsberg – America

Angry voice about America.

America as Myth opposed to reality.

Walt Whitman: talks about America as the most beautiful poem.

American Literature is connected to the US territory, at least the older books, nowaydays they are also transcultural, national.

While reading look out for hidden objectives.

Cultural manifestations.

Colonial Period – Settlement (1607 – 1783) List of Dates (moodle)

Not learn by heart but understand when, what was written.

1607 Jamestown settled

1620 Pilgrims arrived. (religiously motivated)

1630 Masachusetts Bay Colony founded.

.

1765 Stamp Act.

1776 Declaration of Independence. „common sense“ = Hausverstand, rationality

Structuring principle. Still referred again and again.

Women, slaves when it was written were not seen as those who are independent.

1781 War of Independence.

1783 Benjamin Franklin. Enligthenment.


2. Stunde 12.03.2014

3 Aspects concerning American Literature

1. Aspect: Question of Independence (politically).political aspect of establishing a nation.

2. Aspect: Relatively strong religious aspect. ( comes from the Prespiterians). Idealism.

3. Aspect: Aspect of Geography. (not the beauty or civilisation, but the landscape offers something to the individual person : see Brokeback mountain, etc.) Just in being there, it offers a statement against the cultural restrictions.

4. Question of the old and the new and the story telling.


1607 and 1620 American settlement.

1662 Half-Way Covenant: Protestants -> purifying. -> Puritans (the Puritans even more). Imidiate level of reading the bible, you have a direct line to good. There is no one in between. No one who reads it to you. Protestant church got rid of all the Saints and of the religious power. When the Puritans came to America, they had a very communist kind of understanding.

They wanted no instance inbetween to read them their bible. They didn’t want this hirarchy.

The community is breaking apart in terms of religious strictness. Half way covenant.

Wikipedia:

The
Half-Way Covenant
was a form of partial church membership created by
New England
in 1662. It was promoted in particular by the Reverend
Solomon Stoddard, who felt that the people of the English colonies were drifting away from their original religious purpose. First-generation settlers were beginning to die out, while their children and grandchildren often expressed less religious
piety, and more desire for material wealth.

Why work so hard in the colonies and send all the money back to Europe. Independence.

Film: new native voice. Out of ancient myths they create new ones. Ancient connection to the land and story telling. All the stories begin with the land. „we“ emerge from the earth. Oral tradition. Songs and stories carried on to the next generation. Myths. Story teller: talking of their own subjectivity. Part of the process. Imigration, assimilation, and integration, are topics of the newer stories.

Silko, Orthis,… Authors. Lucy Tapahonso: poet. Navaho language. She borrows from the Navaho creation myth. Uses whole texts for one poem. Orthis: documenting culture and their stories and myths. Uses horse as a symbol: fracture of identity.

World war 2 many Native Americans were sent into war. Experience of war. (Silko: veteran who returns in the story). Young men have been destroyed by the war.

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(Points covered in this film are on the Power Point.)

The Social History oft he Western Subject: Oral Culture.

Change is a main subject of our modern culture. Although things are changing, the oral tradition is still there. Unifying system – something remains through the printed version /static. But it still changes through the oral version and it is still handed on orally.

  • No written laws (constant tradition that there is nothing that is right or wrong).

  • Knowledge is based on what is relevant in the present.

  • No authors. (retelling: questions the story of the „author“)


  • No private self (subjectivity, retelling story – establishing yourself in your tribe, both the community and the individual in this reassassing of the story. Therefore the readers become important within it.


The Social History oft he Western Subject: Renaissance ( 1550-1660)

The Social……New Testament and Old Testament.

Restoration/Enlightenment: Language: content and form are important. American: inclusion and exclusion.

Period of romanticism: American revolution. Nation state. 1776 Independence. 1789 French revolution. Also linked tot he rise oft he middle class.

The question oft he subject: Modernism. Establishment of a middle class that reads.

Western subject within modernism: taking everyday objects out of there normal context. Visual arts very important.

Question oft he self: what kind of I/we is in the texts. Self reflexivity. Question of a psychological and subjective state happens later. Question of representation also happens in the later texts.

Radical experimentation, fragmentation, parody, irony. Early texts use irony and parody differently.

They are not only a statement against white society. They are texts within the American culture and literature and not something seperate.

Ginsberg was a Jew.

Question of Americanness. Inclusion/exlusion. Reclaiming of Americanness through writing and reading. Writing for ones position, for their Americanness


3.Stunde 18.03.2014

Most useful Nachschlagewerke for her course.

Peter Conn, Literature in America An ilustrated History. Cambridge.

Richard Gray. A history of American Literature. Oxford 2004

America is a poerm in our eyes: ist ample geography dazzles the imagination…

  • Utopia and Distopia.

Cite: early English settler. They read the bible as i fit was a manual for their life.

Columbus: a lot of flowers,…. Didnt understand their language. They discovered Tobacco their.“ It causes a drousiness.“

Converting Indians to Christianity“- basis of the colonial thought. To convert and to understand the new, the detection oft he new things.

Comparing, finding similarities tot he European things. Two levels finding likeness but also then finding something very different. –> Also adaption, but on both sides Indians and Europeans. Things were given European names to make them more similar. Mapping oft he new world. Appropriating the new but with the old.

Columbus went tot Carribea.

Not encountering the future or the present but the past. Was a Juxtuposition of…

Bible as a manual.

Level oft he primitive is seen as a recollection oft he natural ( the Indians not wearing much).

His whole life he believed to find the gold and diamands…. To find the Garden of Eden. And also believed the whole time that he was in India. Was convinced that all the rivers came out oft he Garden Eden, those he had discovered.

Natural human being. Indians, as the naiv, natural people. the unfallen state. Adam and Eve before collecting the Apple.

Both the natives and the Europeans changed. Important thought.

(Developed an American Literature.) Columbus was forging a narrative at this time. Was neither old , nor new. Kind of Plurality in his texts. It was both old and new. Meeting the strangers was one aspect oft he American tale.

Aspect of diversity, plurality. A world of borders and change.

Whites were coming seen to come over the sea --- water. Some tribes saw themselves originating from the sun.

Myths: allthough they are invented they use real facts. And therefore they change, and they changed over time. (und die Weißen haben dazu beigetragen)

Westward removal oft he native Americans (on timetable)

Act of language/performance. Text + translation. Still can access native American tetxs. Oral tradition. Although they are writing, they are „translating“ from the oral tot he written form.

Buffallo, horses, tobaco, corn,…. Topic of trickster figure comes up in native american culture. The coyote that tricks othe animals. Spider man as well. Tails of love and war, evolution oft he world -> question of creation. Aspect of endings and beginnings. What tribe do you belong to.

BRule Siuox „Creating Power“ aspect of endings and beginnings again, and creation-- > somethimes linked tot he coming oft he whites.“ Loss and devision“ also come up in the texts. -> Linking of georgraphy with the vitality. World as a sort of place that is unified Eden. That is „Eden“ fort he Indians, not in our terms.

  • See literary history.

Puritans: they than wanted to settle. Had their thought of how to live in the new world. With link to their religion. They thought that in England Henry the VIII with hiss ix wifes that Europe was „bad“.

Aspect oft he Spanish Settlement:

Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca. Idea: finding something. He expected to find streets paved with gold. Reporting about cities with gold. Imagination, they are only there, has never seen them. Where intersted in exploiting.

Stories of captivity. How it was in the captivity, they discribed. (Pocahontas).

Become the voice of native Americans. Two different ways of seeing the world (couldnt convince them that we were also white christians).

Glossary: Apocalypse. Captivity narrative, convenant theology (Half way covenant), election, inner light, Jeremiad, Plain Style, Puritans, Separatist and Non- Seperating Typology, Weaned Affections.

Two Religious groups Puritans and the Quackers coming in search fort he promised land. (Around 16 hundred).

Plain style: the prose was suposed tob e more pure than poetry.

Utopian Literature in America.

Captivity narrative: hardship, illness and death. Zerstören die idealisierten Hoffnungen.

The use of powerful methaphors oft he bible.

Shipwreck:

Puritans: end oft he world, which they believed was on hand. Gemeinschaft war wichtiger als das persönliche Wohl. Saw themselves as „crossing the red sea“ by shipping to America. „promise of a new Christian world“. Saw the Native Americans in two ways, 1. Those who tried to take away theircountry but also allies to help them understand the new world.

Mary Rowlandson: was a captive of an Indian tribe. Classic example of a Jeremiad = stories that Puritans told when they failed. God will punish us now. When we return to our original way of behaviour, God will return to us. Moralisation: every bodies life is a wilderness life. Story of demnation and salvation. It seems everything is lost but then you survive and everything goes out well.

Salem witch trials: they lost faith. Salem story ended by about 17 hundred.

Puritans and Quackers. Ideas clashing against each other. They saw the Puritans as working fort he devil. Had different ideas. 4 Quackers were hanged by Puritans.

Quackers: were more inclusive in their believes, less stern (Stubern). Pacifism. Live soberly and kindly. Therefore more peaceful co-existent with the native Americans.

Constitution: quite radical not durchführbare Ideen at that time, but they have proved themselves till today.

Nation: chosen, exceptional, everytime an American thinks that he thinks the same thoughts as the Puritans did.

Questions:

How did the Puritans and QQuakers respond tot he social and political…

See moodle!!

4.Stunde,

Moving from Colonialism to Enlightenment. Moving away from Religion to what is possible for humans.

Transcendentalism

In the midst of self determination, we are. No longer god to guide us. French Revolution was important. American Revolution: aspect of independence. (1776). establishment of a middleclass, increasing literacy rate. More is being published and written. Puritan period: little amount of things that were written. Now: Literature as such is being established.

Of Plymoth plantation: could be said as a Group autobiography). Published in 1880 20 years after his death. Begins with his comming to Philadelphia. How tob e successful, he writes about. From Rags to Riches.

Quote: Dear son….

References to ancestors. Not important where you come from and who your family is. Power oft he individual, and not listen to others. Trust yourself. Powers within the own self. Wrote how emerged from poverty. The how is something new. He wants tob e instructing. There is a certain selfpurpose there. He is sometimes quite arrogant in the text. Reforcing the aspect of his own! Abilities.

Pointing out on the fact that he did it on his own. Self-promotion!. Self help book. If you cant do it yourself it is your fault, you are not trying hard enough. (Gods out of her, but he uses him here.) ist your fault. (secular aspect that comes in here). Writing also fort he sociatal context ->. Not just about himself. -> also level of education. He becomes in his imagination the prototypical American.

Quote: I have been the more particular.

Looking back from his now established position. Progress aspect. Autobio journey. The person who gives more has little. How Franklin culturally constructs himself. Even as a person with little money he had enough to pay people on the ship. Not the person for mercy he is. He is not pitting himself. It was just a moment in time. He is a hero – the selfmade man. Later again as a hero in other books, the self made man.

Puritans: sign of god for everything. Now secular level: sort of welth is something you are proud of. Welth is something that you deserve because you really worked hard on it.

Self help, self reliance, self reinvention. Franklin doesnt want tob e rich. Is just because he worked so hard and now he deserves it. (moral aspect).

Quote: It was about…

Wants tob e this model perfect person. He devises a method: Age of reason (everythings checked). His virtues, he sets up:

  1. Temperance

  2. Silence

  3. Order

  4. Resolution

  5. Frugality

  6. Industry

  7. Sincerity

  8. Justice

  9. Moderation

  • Tranquility

  • Chastity

  • Humility (certain irony to himself)

    Like manager tips. Ambivalence: He thinks ist important to write down things and refelct on them (Geisteswissenschaften oft als useless seen in comparision to engeneering.)

    Used a week chart: using his virtues. To embody this in the routine oft he day.

    Individual has potential to change himself and help himself. Common sense = Hausverstand.

    Finding quick solutions, not doing things like people did before ( but valuing the traditions). But why should web e enslaved by old traditions. Why not do it new.

    Hard work, reason, common sense i spart of the American dream.

    Others help you: in Eu good, positive, but in America mercy is something bad.

    Self reliance, helping, you do it fort he public but not fort he mercy. Communal aspect. A lot of volunteering. What you can do for public service (American students).

    Franklin: Almanach, he wrote. Like a calendar. Literary style, the content is important. Europeans first said: they have no literary tradition, they just mimic us. But they didnt, wrote in plain style (not that flowery stuff from Europe).


  • Letters from an American Farmer (1782) Michel St.John de Crevecoeur.

    What ist he new American man? Cultural narrative oft he newness, new beginning. Shagging oft he past, establishing something new. What devides oft he others (independence). Becoming ist own nation, not abhängig oft he EU, no colony anymore.

    Born in France, then England, than Canada, then New York State. Was a Torey. Developing the newness oft he american. Writes is from the perspective as a quaker, farmer. One hand: religious aspect, trying to keep pure and being strict about their religion which imploded. Couldnt keep community together. Other hand: believed in equality and pacifism.--> Inlcusion of diversity and different voices in the Americanness.

    Another myth: the Pioneers, explorers. Doesnt know what hes going to find (Fronteersman). The searchers (John Wayne)

    He here is establishing the settler, the farmer. Travel, philosophy, describing different customs (comparing). to European habbits. Experiences,

    Summary: juxtaposing, who is an American, what is an American, to not be special to do something special.

    Culture imbedded in the ideas!/in the abstract.

    Paine believed in the revolution (Crevecour is torn in this terms). He is an American by conviction.

    Published „common sense“. There are no structures there. So he asks for structures. We can construct a government now. He is talking about plain style. Dont be against the tyranny but the tyrant. Started Americas self idenitification. Arrousing opposition = > in terms of common sense.

    Thomas Jefferson: picture with quote.

    Declaration of independence: Stilll used for people who feel excluded from the American dream-„ ist still valid for us“. From 18th century, still valid today. Dont have that in Europe. Even in the 21st century text of inclusion. (4.July 1776)

    James Madison: Notes on the State of Virginia. Establishing a national identity.

    Quote: question oft he land. Simple, independence. Question of arming oneself. Being independent in terms of a tyranny. Which role should government take and have. Abilities and promise of a new government. Land, ownership plays an important role. New Governement: how it deals with the native Americans.

    At this time the husband: the father who was had of household had power over many aspects of life. Women getting disobedient. Women movement grew out oft he antyslavery movement. Women fighting against slavery, that was how it started but they realiced that they even themselves dont have the rights, for exmaple to speak in public.

    Samson Occom: native voice talking about independence, dependence, nation, government. He was not positive about the American Independence Revolution. Wanted to stay native people to stay neutral.

    Lemuel Haynes: (1753-1833). Not only voice in terms of slavery but in terms of political aspects. Position of american africans he discusses.

    Prince Hall (1735 – 1807), tob e a voice oft he African American community,

    Transcendentalism: Ralph Waldo Emmerson (1803- 1882), self reliance, trust thyself. Referred back to nature („Nature“, 1844, quote) romantic aspect (nature) if you associate that with the wild nature. Britain everything is very cultivated. Nature important in terms of asthetics. Next quote: Balance loving….

    America ist he new Rome: establishing something new.


    5.Stunde 25.03.2014

    1629, Seal oft he Massachusetts Bay Company. This was when this Trading Company was set up.

    Im Kreis steht: Come over anf help us.

    His arrow is pointing down so he is not agressive.

    1637 Mary Rowlandson ….sailing out to Massachusetts to make a good marriage.

    William Bradford, Of Plymoutj Plantation: describes of 400 native americans shooting. Put them in a Thal and shooting all oft hem.

    Victory seemed a sweet sacrifice.“ from the bible (Leviticas).

    Set fire to another bunch of native Americans.

    Some oft he natives were are already Christianised, the „prayed“ indians, so he descirbes them in his text.

    Things were going very wrong at plymouth plantation.

    Also the laws of Leviticas: buggery, with animals, sex with animals. He hast o identify the animals. The animals are executed and Thomas Granger is hanged in front oft he animals.

    Bradford: What is going wrong with this Christian community.

    Why has this Utopian idea of a community gone wrong.


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