LITR 4328 American Renaissance
lecture notes



final exam discussion



schedule for research



use websites for more information than you can remember or make up



10.6 confuses all principles of morality


9.2 Methodist camp meeting, 2nd Great Awakening

9.4 learn to read New Testament, broke up

9.7 Covey a professor of religion



purposes of civil disobedience

Declaration of Independence

U.S. Constitution

Article 6, 3

Bill of Rights, first amendment


Unitarianism > Transcendentalism






Are essays literature? > rhetoric, figurative speech, narrative, anecdote


Thoreau, Resistance to Civil Government

1 present Mexican war

2 government = machinery; cf. 24 plant

4 not no govt, but a better govt

5 majority as power, not right

> conscience? (Romantic individualism)

6 corporation no conscience, but what if conscientious men? [context of separation of church and state]

7 men as machines [cf. Mr. Gore]

7 conscience = resistance

8 slaveís govt does not equal my govt

9 slavery + Mexican war + 10

10 War on Mexico + 11

11 not politicians but merchants and farmers

11 comparison to Washington and Franklin

12 vote = feeble wish

13 donít have to fight, but canít support wrong

13 by their money, furnished a substitute

15 if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law

17 if God on oneís side, no need for majority

18 refusal to pay taxes > abolish slavery

19 Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison

19 minority powerful when it clogs

20 voluntary simplicity x property as compromise

20 rich man sold to institution that makes him rich

21 live within yourself, not have many affairs [voluntary simplicity]

21 riches and honors as subjects of shame

22 "Know all men by these presents, that I, Henry Thoreau, do not wish to be regarded as a member of any society which I have not joined."

23 As they could not reach me, they had resolved to punish my body; just as boys, if they cannot come at some person against whom they have a spite, will abuse his dog. [state as organization of violence]

24 I am not responsible for the successful working of the machinery of society. I am not the son of the engineer.

24 higher law

24 If a plant cannot live according to nature, it dies; and so a man.; cf. paragraph 2: government as machine

28 like traveling in a far country

28 romance images

30 cf RVW

30 alienation from society

31 huckleberry party [define]

31 freedom in nature x prison state

33 quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion

38 lower, higher, highest point of view

42 higher; romance journey

44 individual as a higher and independent authority



Emerson, Thoreau

Add that both lived in Concord + map

Voluntary simplicity, counter-Dream

Counter-evolutionary imperatives

Review Woolman


2 iconoclast definition

3 I would not do again what I have done once (invented pencil) [x-industrial model of replication, mass production, high profit]

4 making every day some new acquaintance with Nature, though as yet never speaking of zoology or botany . . . incurious of technical and textual science [cf. Whitman and astronomer] [cf. Emerson, Nature, 19, 20]

5 refuse all the accustomed paths and keep his solitary freedom at the cost of disappointing the natural expectations of his family and friends

5 probity definition

6 a much more comprehensive calling, the art of living well.  [voluntary simplicity]

6 never idle or self-indulgent; few wants   [voluntary simplicity]

7 drift into the profession of land-surveyor

9 practice define as way of living

9 He interrogated every custom, and wished to settle all his practice on an ideal foundation   Transcendentalism

9 [negative catalog]

9 no temptations to fight against,óno appetites, no passions, no taste for elegant trifles.

10 as if he did not feel himself except in opposition

11 company of young people, huckleberry party [cf. Resistance] huckleberry = berry plant kin to blueberry

11 cf. classic and popular literature

12 refs to Walden and Resistance

13 of no consequence if every one present held the opposite opinion.

14 No truer American

14 The men were all imitating each other, and on a small mould. Why can they not live as far apart as possible, and each be a man by himself?

15 abolition of slavery, abolition of tariffs, almost for abolition of government [negative catalog]

16 wonderful fitness of body and mind

17 The Betrothed 1825

17 He had always a new resource.

18 only man of leisure

18 anecdote

21 extolling his own town and neighborhood as the most favored center for natural observation

22 the best place for each is where he stands

23 paths of his own

25 homage solely to the truth itself

26 every circumstance touching the Indian

27 likeness of law throughout Nature [Transcendentalism]

29 paltering = insincere talk

29 dangerous frankness

30 instead of engineering for all America, he was the captain of a huckleberry party

30 Emersonís exasperation

31 cities = refinements and artifices

33-41 aphorisms

43 a short life exhausted the capabilities of this world





1.1-2 family values under siege

1.4 early, primitive Christians

1.6 paranoia, conspiracy? cf. Salem Witch Trials

1.10 the great importance of Family Religion

1.11 you are fallen creatures--contrast Romanticism

1.11 deep sense of God's free grace


2.1 a fallen world

2.2 egalitarian?

2.4 worldliness

2.9 new-birth cf. Emerson

2.10 feeling, sweet

2.10 natural state as hell

2.10 millennium, judgment day


3.3 Apostolic generation

3.5 partaker of the Divine Nature cf. Emerson

3.5 had he continued holy

3.5 partaker of the devil's nature

3.13 cf. Puritan covenant

3.18 x-worldliness, worldy status

3.21 life hidden; cf. Romantic inside





Classic, popular, and representative literature

open floor

1 military companies, adventurers

caught in middle, dark intrigues, jealousy [mestizo, Hispanic / Latino]

3 Texan war for independence,

many noble hearts

also many bad men

[frontier as stateless society, no protections, only strong and week, with hopes that strong are good]

4 first city of Texas . . . also the receptacle of the scum of society

my countrymen ran to me for protection against the assaults or exactions [demands for payment] of those adventurers

Were not the victims my own countrymen, friends and associates?

foreigners x countrymen

5 smuggling [border]

6 elected mayor

6 Republic re-allocates city property

13 Seguin is with us. [cf. Seguin]

16 reports about my pretended treason

16 some Americans were murdering Curbier

17 hiding from rancho to rancho

20 before leaving my country, perhaps forever, family council

21 ungrateful Americans

21I resolved to seek a refuge amongst my enemies

22 my services paid by persecutions


4. More explicitly, a generation or two ago Texas school curricula for a majority-white student population would not likely have included Seguin but instead would have elevated Anglo-Texians like Stephen F. Austin or Sam Houston. How has the narrative or characterization of Texas changed with its population? How prepared are teachers to tell a story that includes Anglos, Mexicans, Indians, and African Americans? What about the moral trade-offs involved in such stories?


dangers of defensiveness, retrenchment


lower grade-levels: teach critical thinking or "it's all great?"


border studies


Gloria Anzaldua


LITR 4338 American Minority Literature



4a. What challenges to teaching representative literature? (e.g. defensiveness, keep head down, fear of being called racist or sexist)


problem of teaching history, then reading literature within it


Students can take one step with you, but not usually two (per class)