Reading List 5: American Literature to 1865

Faculty Committee:  Jeannine DeLombard, Mark Maslan, Christopher Newfield

It is assumed that students taking the first qualifying examination in American Literature to 1865 will be familiar not only with the following primary texts but also with the principal critical and interpretive issues concerning these texts and the period as a whole.  Students are thus encouraged to read widely in the relevant secondary literature.  Figures and selections marked with an asterisk (*) indicate that the relevant material can be found in The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 9th edition, Volumes A & B. 

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Christopher Columbus*
Bartolome de las Casas*
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca* 

Colonial Period
John Smith*
Thomas Morton*
John Winthrop*
William Bradford*
Anne Bradstreet*
Michael Wigglesworth*
Edward Taylor*
Mary Rowlandson, Sovereignty and Goodness of God (1st or 2nd Bedford edition)
Cotton Mather*
William Byrd*
Jonathan Edwards, “Personal Narrative”*; “A Divine and Supernatural Light”*; “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”* 
Sarah Kemble Knight, Journal of Madam Knight (Early Americas Digital Archive)
Samson Occom, “A Short Narrative of My Life”*

Early Republic
Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography
Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer
John and Abigail Adams*
Thomas Paine*
Thomas Jefferson* 
The Federalist Papers* 
Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African.  Written by Himself  (Penguin edition, Vincent Carretta, ed., 2003)
Philip Freneau*
Phyllis Wheatley*
Royall Tyler, The Contrast*
Hannah Foster, The Coquette*
Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland

Antebellum Period through Civil War 
Washington Irving* 
James Fenimore Cooper, The Pioneers
Ralph Waldo Emerson*
Edgar Allan Poe*
William Apess, “An Indian’s Looking Glass for the White Man”* & A Son of the Forest
(University of Pittsburgh through Internet Archive)
Elias Boudinot* 
Margaret Fuller*
Nathaniel Hawthorne*
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Henry David Thoreau, Walden*
Frederick Douglass*
Walt Whitman*
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Emily Dickinson*
Abraham Lincoln*
Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills*