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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.
G. R. Lomer, ed. The Student’s Course in Literature.

A College Curriculum in Literature: American Literature

By Gerhard Richard Lomer (1882–1970)

(Read Lectures on the World’s Best Literature: American Literature)

118. The Literary Inheritance of America

This introductory course is planned to show the student the great English literary influences that were at work on American literature before it became independent, and to introduce the reader to the chief religious writers whose influence was felt throughout the English-speaking world on both sides of the Atlantic.

Reading:After a consideration of the English Bible (Old and New Testament) and Shakespeare, the student will devote some attention to Milton, the great poet of Puritanism, and to Bunyan, the herald of a simpler and more evangelical theology.

119. Early American Literature

This course traces the beginnings of Colonial literature in America and shows how there gradually emerged a literature that was American in inspiration and style. The early colonists, the divines, poets, and political writers will be briefly considered, and the way prepared by a study of the Revolutionary writers for a further study of the great names in American literature.

Reading:Early American Literature,”; Edwards; Woolman; Franklin; Jefferson; Barlow; Brown.

120. The Knickerbocker School

The student is introduced in this course to the great American writers who centre in New York and who are important in the distinctive development of American prose and poetry.

Reading:The work required in this course consists of a careful study of the lecture on “The Early New Yorkers,” and of the reading recommended contained in it.

121. The New England School

This course will acquaint the student with the personalities and ideas of the remarkable group of writers who belong to the neighborhood of Boston and who are responsible for a sort of Renaissance in American letters. The student will come in contact with New England Transcendentalism, with a new view of nature, and with one of the greatest of American philosophers—Emerson. He will also, study the foremost of American poets, besides reading extensively among the minor writers.

Reading:The work required in this course consists of a careful study of the lecture on “The New England Group,” and of the reading recommended listed there.

122. The Literature of the South and West

It is natural that in so large a country as the United States there should be a certain development of regional literature. This course introduces the student to the chief writers of the South, among whom Poe is notable for his pioneer work in short-story writing, and of the great West, with its picturesque figures of plain and mountain and coast.

Reading:“The South and West,”; Washington; Henry; Jefferson; Madison; Simms; Poe; Clay; Hayne; Timrod; Johnston; Cable; Harris; Allen; Page; Murfree (pseud. Craddock); King; Smith; Lincoln; Harte; Mark Twain; Miller; Eggleston; Hay; Field; Riley; Fuller; Garland.

123. Readings in American Poetry

The purpose of this course is four-fold: to consider some of the major poets who escape or defy classification into well-defined groups; second, to familiarize the student with the numerous minor poets who have been somewhat overshadowed by the greater American poets; third, to call his attention to new tendencies in poetry; and lastly to have him read some of the verse that has been inspired by various phases of the war.

Reading:Barlow; Dana, Sr.; Willis; Poe; Holland; Whitman; Brownell; Read; Stoddard; Boker; Taylor; Timrod; Hayne; Jackson; Stedman; Spofford; Winter; Thaxter; Howells; Hay; Harte; Sill; Miller; Lanier; Gilder; Riley; Field; van Dyke; Thomas; Bunner; Woodberry; Cawein; Robinson; Moody; War poems.

124. The American Novel and Short Story

This course has the two-fold purpose of introducing the student to the chief masters of narrative art in America, first in the novel and then in the short story. The chronological method will be followed as a basis for the development of critical ideas with regard to subject-matter and form and a clearer conception of the relationship and difference between these two forms of narrative art.

Reading:Brown; Paulding; Irving; Cooper; Slosson; Hawthorne; Simms; Poe; Stowe; Judd; Melville; Dana, Jr.; Johnston; Hale; Stoddard; Cooke; Wallace; Winthrop; Mitchell; Dodge; Alcott; Stockton; Spofford; Smith; James; Cable; Ward; Hawthorne; Hardy; Woolson; Harris; Burnett; Jewett; Janvier; Allen; Murfree; Crawford; Bunner; Stuart; Frederic; Fuller; Wharton; Thanet; Garland; Wister; Freeman; Wharton; O. Henry; Dunne; Tarkington; Norris; Churchill; London.

125. American Scientists and Naturalists

The contribution which America has made to the literature of science is extensive and interesting. For the sake of comparison and background the student will begin the course by a glance at the writings of some of the greatest modern English scientists, and will then proceed to a more detailed study of the American writers on science, travel, and exploration.

Reading:(English) Darwin; Wallace; Spencer; Tyndall; Huxley. (American) Audubon; Agassiz; Prime; Norton; Stillman; Muir; Burroughs; Hearn.

126. American Oratory

There is both a historical interest and a personal appeal about oratory, especially in America where so much of the best public speaking has been intimately connected with the development of the life of the nation. In this course the attention of the student is called to some of the outstanding examples of the best in American oratory.

Reading:Washington; Henry; Hamilton; Calhoun; Clay; Webster; Everett; Choate; Lincoln; Sumner; Ingersoll; Roosevelt.

127. American Philosophy and Theology

This course familiarizes the student with some of the early religious writers of America, proceeds with a careful study of New England Transcendentalists, and concludes with a consideration of the more important preachers, teachers, and philosophers of modern times in America.

Reading:Edwards,; Franklin; Emerson; Fuller; Beecher; Brooks; James.

128. American History and Economics

Among the most notable historians of the modern world are the Americans. This course introduces the student to the most important writers on history and economics and helps to give him a background for much of the prose and poetry that this continent has produced. He will also find here abundant material on selected phases of European history.

Reading:Franklin; Woolman; Paine; Jefferson; A. Adams; Madison; J. Q. Adams; Channing; Prescott; Palfrey; Bancroft; Hildreth; Fuller; Greeley; Motley; Grant; Parton; Parkman; Schurz; Tyler; H. Adams; Hay; Mahan; Snider; von Holst; Fiske; Rhodes; McMaster; Page; King; Roosevelt.

129. American Humor

This course introduces the student to the writings of the two great American writers whose work has been predominantly humorous in character. The student will thus be enabled to form his own conception of the characteristics of American humorists in addition to filling out his knowledge of the scope of his country’s literature.

Reading:Mark Twain; Artemus Ward (Charles Farrar Browne). For the sake of comparative study the reader’s attention is also called to Haliburton and Leacock.

130. American Essays

The essay has been intimately associated with the development of periodical literature. In America, particularly, it has been a favorite form of expression. This course is planned to introduce the student to an unusually large number of writers who deserve his attention in a study of the development of prose form in America. It is suggested that, in connection with the extensive reading required in this course, the student proceed slowly and take the time to do some writing himself as subjects may suggest themselves in his reading.

Reading:Franklin; Wirt; Bushnell; Emerson; Phillips; Beecher; Dwight; Weiss; Whipple; R. G. White; Mitchell; Wasson; Higginson; Curtis; Warner; Godkin; A. D. White; Mulford; Eliot; Brooks; Alden; Winter; Eggleston; George; James; Mabie; Matthews; van Dyke; Wilson.

131. Contemporary Writers

The contribution which the contemporary writers of America are making to modern literature cannot be neglected by any student who wishes to be familiar with the achievement of his own country or who wishes to understand the general movement of modern world literature.

Reading:Muir; Winter; Burroughs; Howells; William James; Henry James; Riley; O. Henry; Eliot; Roosevelt; Wilson; Tarkington; Dunne.