Acknowledgments I owe a debt of gratitude to several individuals who helped with the preparation of this manual. Professors George Perkins and Barbara Perkins read carefully through the manuscript and made many useful recommendations and comments. Their readings certainly resulted in an improved manual. My colleagues at St. John’s University were, as usual, dependable and helpful. Professors Joseph Marotta and Claire O’Donoghue steered me to many of the websites listed in Appendix B and helped with their insights into several authors. My brother, Dr. Charles Kitts, was especially helpful in supplying information on the historical perspectives and chronology for the 1990s.
The staff at McGraw-Hill was supportive and accommodating, particularly Sarah Touborg and Alexis Walker. It is always a pleasure to work with both.
I am especially grateful for the support of my wife Cynthia and children Dylan and Holly, who were especially patient in the final stages of completion.
Finally, I must thank my students at St. John’s, who continue to be stimulating, imaginative, and tolerant of my pedagogical experimentation.
Changes in the Ninth Edition With the changes and improvements in the tenth edition of The American Tradition in Literature, Professors George Perkins and Barbara Perkins offer a broad and flexible text that can serve many syllabi and approaches. The following changes to this new edition are especially noteworthy:
• Expanded Canon. Both volumes are improved with the inclusion of several authors new to the text. Volume I now features additional women’s voices like Caroline Stansbury Kirkland, Fanny Fern, Alice Cary, and Rose Terry Cooke. The additions to Volume II include Mary Austin, Frank Norris, Ellen Glasgow, Susan Glaspell, Claude McKay, Caroline Gordon, Mary Oliver, Jay Wright, Simon Ortiz, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Nash Candelaria, Annie Proulx, Don DeLillo, Charles Johnson, Leslie Marmon Silko, Barbara Kingsolver, and Jhumpa Lahiri. The emphasis in the additions is on expanding the range of voices represented in the text, thereby offering a more diverse depiction of the American experience.
• The Globalization of American Literature. This section, new to the ninth edition, is one of the important features of The American Tradition. The section reflects a major historical shift in American literature: contributions from foreign-born or first-generation American authors. By placing authors like Isaac Bashevis Singer, Czeslaw Milosz, Bharati Mukherjee, and Isabel Allende in one section, enduring questions are dramatized and emphasized: What is an American? What is American literature? New to this section is author Jhumpa Lahiri, who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2000.
• Fully Revised Introductions, Headnotes, Footnotes, and Bibliographies. All have been updated to meet the needs of today’s students. Especially effective are the introductions to the sections, which provide students a historical and literary context for the readings which follow.
• Black and White Illustrations. New illustrations supplement ones from the ninth edition and the colored plates introduced in the eighth edition. Both the plates and the illustrations enhance the reading experience and contribute to classroom discussions.
• Timelines in the text. New to the tenth edition are the timelines that appear throughout the volumes. They are handy supplements that help place authors and their works in a historical and cultural context.
With the revisions in the tenth edition, which represent changing critical attitudes and new scholarship, The American Tradition in Literature continues to combine the best of the traditional with the best of the innovative.
User’s Guide to this Manual
In this manual I have attempted to provide some insights and ideas on how to present the various texts included in The American Tradition in an undergraduate survey course. At the risk of inconsistency or unpredictability, I have presented material in various ways: sometimes a brief essay, sometimes an outline, and sometimes simply questions. I used whatever seemed to feel right at the time of writing. I hope the various methods of presentation will prove more stimulating than cumbersome. Page references refer to Volumes I and II, not the concise edition. I hope this does not cause too much inconvenience for too many.
A few sections of the format of this manual call for brief explanations:
Historical Perspectives – Chronologies These timelines are intended to provide a historical overview to correspond with the readings in the various sections. The chronologies begin with the approximate dates of Asian migration to North America (50,000 - 12,000 B.C.) and extend through June 2002. I have found it more and more necessary to place readings in a historical context, and even a brief review of important events of the time has been effective – although I must admit that my “brief reviews” sometimes take longer than I anticipate. The chronologies are probably too extensive to copy for students, so in Appendix C I offer abbreviated timelines that you may feel free to copy and distribute.
The information in the chronologies was, for the most part, derived from two texts:
Brinkley, Alan. The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People.
Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1997.
Davidson, James West, et al. Nation of Nations: A Concise Narrative of the American
Republic. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1996.
Annotated Bibliography The lists are hardly exhaustive, nor do they necessarily recommend the most important scholarship on a particular author or literary movement. I tried to assemble a brief list of works that you might feel comfortable recommending to students; works that, with few exceptions, are widely available with accessible readability for undergraduate survey students. In the annotation, I tried not only to give a sense of the work’s approach and direction, but also to provide a piece of information that might perhaps fit into your presentation.
Videos I use videos in the classroom regularly, but rarely do I have time to show the entire tape. I have found, however, that excerpts have enlivened class discussions and motivated students to read texts closely as we compare film versions or film discussions to the text. For students interested in seeing the video in its entirety, I place the cassette on reserve in our media reference library. I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of students who have taken advantage of this option.
Like the bibliography, my video list is hardly exhaustive. Some of the films I have not seen. However, based on summaries or recommendations, I think each is worth a trial run. For each tape, I have included the information available to me, as well as the distributor. Below are the addresses, websites, and phone numbers, of distributors cited:
Ambrose Video PublishingMystic Fire Video
1290 Avenue of the Americas P.O. Box 422
Suite 2245 New York, NY 10012-0008
New York, NY 10104
(800) 526-8088 (800) 292-9001
fax (212) 265-4663 www.mysticfire.com
149 Ninth Street, 420 Penobscot Building
San Francisco, CA 94103 Detroit, MI 48226
(415) 621-6196 (313) 961-1340
www.newsreel.org Filmic ArchivesPBS Home Video/ PBS Video
Films for the Humanities & Sciences Teacher’s Discovery
P.O. Box 2053 English Division
Princeton, NJ 08543-2053 2741 Paldan Drive
Auburn Hills, MI 48326
www.films.com (800) 583-6454
Insight Media Teacher’s Video Company
2162 Broadway P. O. Box 4455-02EN04
New York, NY 10024-0621 Scottsdale, AZ 85261
(800) 233-9910 (800) 262-8837
(212) 721-6316 www.teachersvideo.com
P. O. Box 612
Trumbull, CT 06611
Audio Whenever possible, I try to play audio cassettes of poets reading their works. For inquiries about any of the listed tapes, contact HarperAudio/Caedmon, A Division of HarperCollins, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022-5299, (212) 207-7528.
Sample Examination Questions At the end of each section, I provide sample examination questions. I divide the questions into three categories:
The five-minute quiz: There is nothing more frustrating to a literature instructor than discussing a work thatwhich fewer than half the students in class have read. I find that almost all students will keep up with the reading if they believe they might be quizzed on the material. I do not give a quiz every class, but students are aware that a quiz is always a possibility. Many students have told me gratefully that these quizzes have motivated them to read, when they might otherwise have skipped a reading. The quizzes may not be scholarly and may not be the most pedagogically sound way to motivate, but they are effective. If you make them a part of a student’syour grade (mine account for about 10 percent), students will read and, therefore, be far more responsive in class. I tend to quiz on fiction and drama, and only very rarely on poetry. My questions are simple, generated from the plot. No critical interpretation or analysis is necessary. Usually I ask five or six questions each quiz. Questions are designed to elicit the briefest of responses, so that the quiz consumes only about five minutes, and marking and recording grades, for a class of fifty, about fifteen minutes.
Full-period, short-answer questions: I find this kind of test very effective. All questions are derived from class discussions and require responses of approximately three or four sentences each. I ask between twenty and to twenty-five questions each exam, which students have approximately ninety minutes to complete. This type of exam also leads to an attentive and more responsive class atmosphere. With this kind of examination, however, it is important to assign essays throughout the course to give students an opportunity to think analytically and creatively.
Essay questions or writing topics: These questions may be used in class for testing purposes or for home assignment. I use these questions for home assignment to balance the full-period, short-answer examinations.
Appendix A — Websites
I recommend ten websites each with many links. Most are concerned primarily with American literature and the level of quality is high. I comfortably recommend these to students.
Appendix B — Student Papers
Feel free to copy and distribute these three student papers, one on Anne Bradstreet, one on Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape, and another on Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use.”
Suggested Course Outlines
by George Perkins and Barbara Perkins In devising course outlines, most instructors will want to select carefully from the riches supplied in the individual volumes of The American Tradition in Literature. Among many approaches, we suggest and provide lists for the following:
MULTICULTURALISM: THE AMERICAN KALEIDOSCOPE
THE INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY
THE PEOPLE AND THE LAND
SYSTEMS OF BELIEF/ IDEAS OF ORDER
Although we have provided authors and titles as they will be found in the two volumes of the complete edition, instructors will find that with very little adjustment the lists can be applied to the shorter, one-volume edition. In following any of these threads, instructors will need to adapt actual day-by-day assignments to the number of class meetings and the abilities of their students.
MAJOR AUTHORS These are the authors central to discussions of the American literary tradition as we approach the twenty-first century. They supply the benchmarks against which the margins of American literature are discussed, and they form the backbone of much longer canonical lists, including the generous, expanded canon provided by the many other names that accompany them in the current edition of The American Tradition in Literature. Instructors exploring this center will want to assign complete selections as far as possible, removing authors or titles to fit the time available, the abilities and prior knowledge of the students, and the teaching strategies employed.
William Bradford Ralph Waldo Emerson
John Winthrop Henry David Thoreau
Anne Bradstreet Edgar Allen Poe
Edward Taylor Nathaniel Hawthorne
Cotton Mather Herman Melville
Jonathan Edwards Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
John Woolman John Greenleaf Whittier
Benjamin Franklin Oliver Wendell Holmes
Thomas Paine Harriet Beecher Stowe
Philip Freneau Frederick Douglass
Washington Irving James Russell Lowell
James Fenimore Cooper Walt Whitman
William Cullen Bryant
Reflecting the literary richness of times closer to our own, the list for Volume 2 is longer than for Volume 1. Instructors may need to eliminate authors or cut selections.
Walt Whitman Arthur Miller