American Literature before 1900

What follows is a list of the primary texts upon which you will be tested. The purpose of the list is to reduce the amount of material on which you will be asked direct questions to a representative and practical size. It is not to limit the depth and breadth of your reading. Obviously, reading other primary texts, historical studies, and secondary criticism is one of the best ways of preparing to deal effectively with the texts listed here.

  • Anne Bradstreet,
    "The Prologue"
    "Author to Her Book"
    "The Flesh and the Spirit"
    "To My Dear and Loving Husband"
    "Upon the Burning of Our House, July 10, 1666"
  • Edward Taylor,
    "Meditation Eight"
    "The Joy of the Church Fellowship Rightly Attended"
    "The Preface to God's Determination"
    "Upon a Spider Catching a Fly"
    "Huswifery"
  • Jonathan Edwards,
    "Personal Narrative"
    "A Divine and Supernatural Light"
    "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"
  • Benjamin Franklin,
    "The Way to Wealth"
    The Autobiography, Parts I and II
  • Phillis Wheatley,
    "On Being Brought from Africa to America"
    "To the University of Cambridge, in New England"
    "To Maecenas"
    "To S.M., a Young African Painter, on Seeing His Works"
  • David Walker,
    "David Walker's Appeal in Four: Together with a Preamble. to the Coloured Citizens of the World"
  • Washington Irving,
    "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
    "Rip Van Winkle"
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe,
    Uncle Tom's Cabin
  • Edgar Allan Poe,
    "Ligeia"
    "The Fall of the House of Usher"
    "The Cask of Amontillado"
    "The Black Cat"
    "The Tell-Tale Heart"
    "The Purloined Letter"
    "To Helen"
    "Ulalume"
    "Annabel Lee"
    "The Raven"
    "The Philosophy of Composition"
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson,
    "Nature"
    "The American Scholar"
    "Self-Reliance"
    "The Poet"
  • Henry David Thoreau,
    Walden
    "Resistance to Civil Government"
  • Frederick Douglass,
    The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
    "The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro"
  • Harriet Jacobs,
    Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne,
    The Scarlet Letter
    "Young Goodman Brown"
    "The Minister's Black Veil"
  • Herman Melville,
    Moby Dick
    "Benito Cereno"
    "Bartleby the Scrivener"
  • Walt Whitman,
    Song of Myself
    "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking"
    "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed"
    "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"
  • Emily Dickinson,
    "Because I Could Not Stop for Death—"
    "Wild Nights—Wild Nights!"
    "I Felt a Funeral, in my Brain"
    "A Bird came down the Walk—"
    "After great pain, a formal feeling comes—"
    "Much Madness is divinest Sense—"
    "I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—"
    "I Started Early—Took my Dog—"
    "I dwell in Possibility—"
    "My Life had stood--a Loaded Gun—"
  • Mark Twain,
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Charles Chesnutt,
    The Marrow of Tradition
  • William Dean Howells,
    The Rise of Silas Lapham
  • Henry James,
    Daisy Miller
    Portrait of a Lady
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman,
    "The Yellow Wallpaper"
  • Stephen Crane,
    The Red Badge of Courage
    "The Open Boat"
    "The Blue Hotel"
    "In the Desert"
    "I Saw a Man Pursuing the Horizon"
    "A Man Said to the Universe"
    "Do Not Weep, Maiden, For War Is Kind"
  • Paul Laurence Dunbar,
    "An Ante-Bellum Sermon"
    "When Malindy Sings"
    "We Wear the Mask"
    "Sympathy"
    "The Poet"
  • Frank Norris,
    McTeague
  • Kate Chopin,
    The Awakening
  • Theodore Dreiser,
    Sister Carrie
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