North American Literature


a) To enable a global survey of North-American literature from its origins until the Second World War.
b) To examine the literary works in its cultural and historical context.
c) To assess the specific characteristics of the American literary production in the period under consideration.
d) To be able to critically explore the authors’ works written and published in the period under consideration.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Isabel Maria Lourenço de Oliveira


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language



Available soon


Ruland, Richard and Bradbury, Malcolm (eds.). 1991. From Puritanism to Post-Modernism. A History of American Literature, N.Y.: Routledge.
Donaldson, Scott (ed.). 1996. The Cambridge Companion to American Literature, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press.
Harding, Brian. 1982. American Literature in Context II. 1830-1865, N.Y.: Methuen.
Hook, Andrew. 1983. American Literature in Context III. 1865-1900, N.Y.: Methuen.
Lee, Brian. 1987. American Fiction. 1865-1940, London and New York: Longman.

Teaching method

40% (Practical) 60% (theoretical)
The critical study of the literary texts will be privileged in the teacher’s lectures together with the study of the context in which the works were produced. This will be accompanied by the study of other kind of bibliographical material, such as studies and essays about the authors and the context in which their works were produced.

Evaluation method

Método de avaliação - Evaluation will include active participation in class, a discussion in class of one of the texts (by one or more students), and a final written test.(100%)

Subject matter

1.General introduction to the course: a survey of American literature since colonial times until the Second World War.
2.The Land and the Puritan legacy
•John Smith, A Description of New England (selection)
•John Winthrop, A Model of Christian Charity
• Anne Bradstreet (selection of poems)
3.The search for a national and literary identity
3.1. The American Enlightenment
•Benjamin Franklin, Information to Those Who Would Remove to America
3.2. The Transcendentalist influence
•Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance”
•Henry David Thoreau, “On Civil Disobedience”
3.3Individual voices
•Herman Melville, “Bartebly, the Scrivener”
•Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Minister’s Black Veil”
•Edgar Allan Poe, “The Black Cat”
•Walt Whitman (selection of poems)
•Emily Dickinson (selection of poems)
4.The transition into the 20th century
•Mark Twain, “The War Prayer”
•Stephen Crane, The Open Boat
5.The search for answers in the period between the two World Wars.
•F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby