American Literature OpenCourseWare: A Free Bachelor Level American Literature Course by MIT

Published Feb 07, 2009

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Explore American history from a literary perspective in this free online OpenCourseWare from MIT. Students who take 'American Literature' learn about the unique character and development of American literature through authors like William Bradford and Toni Morrison. This undergraduate-level course is well suited to individuals interested in studying English, Literature, History or American Studies.

American Literature: Course Specifics

Degree Level Free Audio Video Downloads
Undergraduate Yes No No Yes

Lectures/Notes Study Materials Tests/Quizzes
Yes Yes No

American Literature: Course Description

Although America is often described as a 'melting pot' of diverse ethnicities, a distinct literary tradition has risen from America's cultural history. Students who take MIT's 'American Literature' OpenCourseWare explore this literary tradition and its development alongside American history. The course readings are framed by major historical periods, from the early settlements and the beginnings of American independence to the widespread influence of modern African American literature. All readings for the class are drawn from the Norton Anthology of American literature. Texts from the anthology that are covered in the course include William Bradford's Of Plymouth Plantation, Henry David Thoreau's Walden, or Life in the Woods, Walt Whitman's preface to Leaves of Grass, Edith Wharton's The Other Two, a variety of selections from Langston Hughes and Jazz by Toni Morrison. This lecture-based course is taught by Professor Wyn Kelley.

Sample essay assignments and a list of suggested readings are available on the course website. If you'd like to learn more, visit the history of the American literary tradition course page.

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