American Literature Before 1800


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The degree candidate is responsible for having read all of the following works:

Abigail Adams. Selections from Travel Diaries and Letters

John Adams. Selections from The Autobiography, Selected Letters

Elizabeth Ashbridge. Selections from Some Account of the Fore Part of the Life of Elizabeth Ashbridge

William Bradford. Of Plymouth Plantation

Anne Bradstreet. Selected Poems, to include “The Author to Her Book,” “To My Dear and Loving Husband,” “Upon the Burning of Her House, July 10, 1666”

Charles Brockden Brown. At Least One of the Following Novels: Wieland, Edgar Huntly, Ormond, Arthur Mervyn

William Byrd. History of the Dividing Line betwixt Virginia and North Carolina, Selections from The Secret Diary of William Byrd

Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca. La Relaciòn [The Report]. Familiarity with Other Colonial Latin American Works: The Second Letter of Hernán Cortés; Bartolomé de Las Casas’s Very Brief Relation of the Devastation of the Indies; Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala’s New Chronicle and Good Government; Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz’s Primer Sueño/ First Dream

Samuel Champlain. Voyages. Familiarity with Other Works from New France like The Jesuit Relations

Christopher Columbus. Journal of the First Voyage, “Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the First Voyage,” “Letter to Ferdinand and Isabella Regarding the Fourth Voyage”

J. Hector St. Jean de Crevecoeur. Letters from an American Farmer

Jonathan Edwards. “A Divine and Supernatural Light,” “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”

Olaudah Equiano. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa the African

Hannah Webster Foster. The Coquette

Benjamin Franklin. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, “Remarks concerning the Savages of North America,” and “The Way to Wealth”

Jupiter Hammon. “A Dialogue, Intitled, The Kind Master and the Dutiful Servant,” “An Address to Miss Phillis Wheatly,” “A Poem for Children with Thoughts on Death,” “An Evening Thought”

Thomas Jefferson. Excerpts from The Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson, Excerpts from Noteson the State of Virginia, Original and Final Drafts of “The Declaration of Independence”

Sarah Kemble Knight. The Journal of Madam Knight

Cotton Mather. Wonders of the Invisible World and from Magnalia Christi Americana: “Galeacius Secundus: The Life of William Bradford” and “Nehemias Americanus: The Life of John Winthrop”

Thomas Morton. Excerpts from New English Canaan

Judith Sargent Murray. “On the Equality of the Sexes"

Samson Occom. “A Short Narrative of My Life”

Thomas Paine. The Age of Reason, Common Sense

Publius [Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay]. Excerpts from The Federalist Papers

Mary White Rowlandson. Narrative of the Captivity and Restauration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson

Susanna Rowson. Charlotte Temple

Samuel Sewall. Excerpts from The Diary of Samuel Sewall

John Smith. Excerpts from The General History of Virginia

Royall Tyler. The Contrast

Phillis Wheatley. Selected Letters and Poems, to include “On Being Brought from Africa to America”

Roger Williams. A Key into the Language of America

A Selection of Native American Oral Narratives, including Handsome Lake’s “How America Was Discovered”

A candidate may also submit a list of readings to supplement, but not replace, the readings from the core list above. The supplementary list should be submitted for approval with the declaration of intent to take the comprehensive examination form.

Rev. 1 August 2014

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