Classic US Texts

Module code: AM1002
Module co-ordinator: Nick Everett

This module will introduce you to the distinctive characteristics of nineteenth-century American literature through a detailed study of individual works that have been designated as 'classics'. We will identify and examine the main themes and techniques of these works, relating them to their literary, cultural, and historical contexts.

Authors and texts are likely to include:

  • Washington Irving: Rip Van Winkle (1820) and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820)
  • Edgar Allan Poe: selected short stories
  • Walt Whitman: Song of Myself (1855)
  • Emily Dickinson: selected poetry
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter (1850)
  • Frederick Douglass: Narrative of Frederick Douglass (1845)
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe: Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852)
  • Mark Twain: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)


  • 10 hours of lectures
  • 10 hours of seminars
  • 180 hours of guided independent study


  • Passage analysis (40%)
  • Essay (60%)