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First American Lit Lecture

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Alan Ackerman

Hey, I'll work on the quality of my notes for you, that's why I signed up for accessibility services again, I found my notes sucked way less last year when I knew someone else will be reading them.Anyhow, enjoy! :) Introduction: • What is america, what is the unity of all these writers? • Whitman on the fullest poetical nature of American. • Groups of types of stories becoming a culture, what sort of stories have americans been telling themselves over the past 400 years. How are these critiqued in conversation amongst americans. The New World • God's country, rhetoric of people sailing to the new world • Forging a society based on individual freedom? • Newness of the new world dependent on perspective, natives • not a "virgin island" • different values languages and world views meeting one another, important narrative • John Smith at Jamestown, his introduction to Powhatan's tribe, his interpretation of the events in which he is saved • story of the charity of Pocahontas in contrast to the barberous people • affected by ethnocentrism • association of america with a young woman, sexualized, associated with the landscape • carnal affection • adam and eve like couple from american story telling • rejection of the native culture and chose an identity of romantic love, not who you are based on descent, choosing who you will be and who you will love • how does this story shape our reality and become universalized • natives also ethnocentric, Powhatan also playing power politics, should not be romanticized • difficulty of language emphasized in native stories of first encounters • different narratives show some settlers as asking, others as taking • significance of the taking of the land and the informing of fertility of land to the natives • need to sell the new world to europeans in story, as a "New Eden"**, abundance • Americas have never ceased to be a land of idealism • Material and Spiritual American dream • How was the new world perceived in europe? Shakespeare and The Tempest, stories of the Bermudas, despite the setting being Mediterranean, just after the colony established at Jamestown, Shakespeare appears to have read an account of the colony • story of survival in new worlds, unspoiled worlds invaded by europeans, virgin land • land to be fertilized and raped • desire to not write in the european english, but whitmans desire to write in a new language in american english • counterforce against the ideal of america as
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