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Indiana University


Course Introduction

Required Materials

Course Overview

Completing Lessons



Model Paragraphs of Definition

Model Quotation Interpretations

Model Essays

Writing Evaluation Rubric

Your Course Grade



Course Introduction

English 31L offers wide-ranging, diverse selections from the rich literary heritage of the United States, which began even before the United States became a nation. This course examines American literature from its Native American beginnings through the Civil War era.

In earliest oral tradition and later written records and works of literature, you will observe America’s ongoing evolution from wild, uncharted territory to a vast, developing country with its own sense of unique identity. Along the way, you will hear the voices of authors witnessing and reporting the scene—one of promise, challenge, and triumph in an emerging nation the likes of which the world had never before seen.

You will encounter these American voices in many literary forms: myths, narratives, autobiographies, speeches, letters, essays, journals, short stories, poetry, and a novel. All combine to render a rich, compelling, and colorful panorama of a maturing young nation unique in spirit and character.