Classic US Texts

Module code: AM1002

This module is intended to introduce you to some of the distinctive characteristics of American literature by the detailed study of works that emerged from the turbulent period leading up to the Civil War in 1861, the period of the so-called American Renaissance, when American literature came of age.

You'll identify the text's main themes and techniques and examine how each text, or group of texts, relates to the literary, historical and cultural context of 19th century America. You'll be concerned with key themes, such as religion, democracy, individualism, race and gender, which feature in a number of texts on the module. This will raise questions about the different ways these themes are treated in different forms (poetry, fiction, autobiography) and by different authors.


  • 10 hours of lectures
  • 10 hours of seminars
  • 2 hours of practical classes and workshops
  • 128 hours of guided independent study


  • Passage analysis, 500 words (30%)
  • Essay, 1,500 words (70%)