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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Humanities Department
Course Prefix and Number: ENGL 241
Course Title: American Literature I
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: Survey of major American writers from Colonial to Realist figures. Prerequisite: ENGL 112. G.E.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): ENGL 112.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered Fall.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Shorter editions in one volume are economical, especially for students who have taken or will take ENGL 242.

Supplementary texts might include a novel or two or a text such as text 4.

The American Tradition in Literature
By Ed. George Perkins and others (McGraw-Hill)
The Norton Anthology of American Literature
By Ed. Nina Baym and others (Norton)
Ed. George McMichael
By Anthology of American Literature (Macmillan)
Backgrounds of American Literary Thought
By Rod W. Horton and Herbert W. Edwards (Appleton-Century-Crofts)
Category/Comments - Supplementary text
Course Objectives
  • To understand and appreciate significant writers and ideological undergirdings of a variety of American literature from its Native American and pre-Colonial beginnings through most of the nineteenth century.
  • To evaluate the major genres of American literature through an intensive course of readings, discussions and written exercises.
    Measurable Learning
  • Demonstrate increased knowledge and comprehension of the ideas, art forms, themes and values found in the American literary heritage.
  • Process, synthesize and produce critical analysis of poetry, prose and fiction suitable to a sophomore survey.
  • Demonstrate progressively advanced ability to evaluate cultural and literary contexts of the works surveyed.
    Topical Outline: Departmental policy requires students write a minimum of 4,500 words of graded writing for the course.
  • Introduction to course: essential literary terms and movements named and briefly defined
  • Colonial literature: the earliest American authors from 1580 to 1670
  • Puritanism: major and minor authors; characters, themes, values, and lasting significance
  • Reason and Revolution: major and minor authors; the revolutionary spirit and enlightenment of eighteenth-century authors
  • Nature and Society: Native American Heritage and authors; characters, themes, values, and lasting significance
  • Transcendentalism and Romanticism: major and minor authors through the mid-nineteenth century, chronological order
  • Realists and Regionalists: major and minor authors of the turn of the century; characters, themes values and lasting significance
    Culminating Experience Statement:

    Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
    During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 30

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Danny Campbell Date: April 2, 2008
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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