I’ve taken over 19th Century American Literature this semester for a colleague (Effie), who usually teaches the course. Week 1 was just a general discussion about the time period; students were asked to respond to the prompt, “What do you imagine life was like in 19th century America?” It was much lovelier than a powerpoint or Prezi; just the 19 or so of us sitting around imagining what life might have been like; such a return to sympathy, this. I cannot abide the new Blackboard and have rather cast off technology this term. Let us return to books of paper and the smoke of chalk dust, pupils. Let us live life, deliberately, in the woods.
I gave them Rip Van Winkle and excerpts from Edgar Huntly and sent them off on their way. I hope they did/do not fall asleep in their assignment: and not wake up after November to find us all living in some Randroid plot.
Tomorrow we will need to discuss, then, the American Gothic. Luckily, old Cyrus Patell from NYU has a three-part lecture on it. I think we’ll watch at least a snippet from Part II.
And end with Benjamin West’s Penn’s Treaty with the Indians, that is set under the Elm; where PA was founded; where Waldegrave (wood’s grave) is found murdered in the first chapter.