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American Literature, Volume I (Penguin Academics Series), 2nd Edition

By William E. Cain, Alice McDermott, Lance E Newman, Hilary E. Wyss

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Aug 7, 2013


As part of the Penguin Academics series, American Literature Volume 1, offers a wide range of selections (with minimal editorial apparatus) at an affordable price.


This new edition of American Literature presents an exciting opportunity for readers. Many of the pieces will be familiar to readers of American literature, but we have also taken steps to include selections that are not as well known and just as compelling.  Making this new edition even more attractive are six thematic clusters of excerpts from documents illustrating key trends in American social and literary history; a richer selection of images; and a new page design to enhance the reading experience.

Table of Contents

Part One: Exploration and Colonization (1492-1700)

To The Reader


David Cusick (Tuscarora) (c.1780-c.1831)

        A Tale of the Foundation of the Great Island, Now North America


Thin Leather/Comalk Hawkih (Akimel O’odham, or Pima) (Dates TK). Translated by Edward H. Wood (Akimel O’odham, or Pima) and written down by J. William Lloyd

        The Story of the Creation


        Context and Response: King James Bible (1611), Genesis 1-3


Christopher Columbus (1451-1506),

        Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the First Voyage

        From Letter to Ferdinand and Isabella Regarding the Fourth Voyage


Gallery 1: Spanish Narratives of Exploration and Colonization

Bartolome de las Casas (1484-1566), From The Devastation of the Indies: Hispaniola

Bernal Díaz del Castillo (1492-1585), From The Truthful History of the Conquest of New Spain

Nahuatl Elegies (1523), Epic Description of the Besieged City” and “Flowers and Songs of Sorrow”

Isabel de Guevara, “Letter to Princess Juana, from Paraguay, 1556”

Catalina de Erauso (1585-1650), From Memoir of a Basque Lieutenant Nun

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (1648-1695), “Prologue to the Reader”



John Smith (1580-1631)

        From The Generall Historie


        Context and Responses: Woodcuts by Theodor de Bry from A Briefe and True Report of the New Found

            Land of Virginia


        from the Letter of John Rolfe to Sir Thomas Dale, 1614


William Bradford (1590-1657)

        From Of Plymouth Plantation


        Context and Response: from Thomas Morton, New English Canaan


John Winthrop (1588-1672)

        A Modell of Christian Charity

        from Journal


        Context and Response: from Massachusetts General Court (1637), Examination of Mrs. Anne Hutchinson

            at the Court at Newton


Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)

        The Prologue

        The Author to her Book

        In Honor of that High and Mighty Princess Queen Elizabeth of Happy Memory

        Before the Birth of One of Her Children

        To My Dear and Loving Husband

        In Memory of the Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet, Who Deceased August 1665, Being a Year and a

            Half Old

        In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Anne Bradstreet, Who Deceased June 20, 1669, Being Three Years

            and Seven Months Old

        Here Follows Some Verses Upon the Burning of Our House

        To My Dear Children


        Context and Response: Edward Taylor (c. 1642-1729), Huswifery


Gallery 2: Vernacular Writing and the Individual

Richard Frethorne, Letters to his parents, Virginia 1623

Confessions of Praying Indians

Samuel Sewell (1652-1730), from Diary

William Byrd (1674-1744), from Secret Diary

Rebekah Chamblit (ca.1706-1733), The Declaration, Dying Warning and Advice

Eliza Lucas Pinckney (1723–1793), Letters


Mary Rowlandson (1637-1711)

         A True History of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson


        Context and Response: Ransom letters


Cotton Mather (1663-1728)

        from Wonders of the Invisible World


        Context and Response: Tituba Trial Transcript



Part Two: Enlightenment and Revolution (1700-1830)

To the Reader


Sarah Kemble Knight (1666-1727), 
        Private Journal of a Journey from Boston to New York


Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)

        Personal Narrative

        Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

        The Way to Wealth

        Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America

        From The Autobiography


Samson Occom (1723-1792)

        A Short Narrative of My Life

        Petition for the Montaukett People


        Context and Response: Selected letters, Eleazar Wheelock


J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur (1735-1813)

        From Letters from an American Farmer


Gallery 3: Declarations of Independence

Signatures on Declaration of Independence

Thomas Paine (1737-1809), From Common Sense and The American Crisis, No. 1

John Adams (1735-1826) and Abigail Adams (1744-1818), “Remember the Ladies”

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), The Declaration of Independence

Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806), Letter to Thomas Jefferson

Prince Hall (1735-1807), Petition, January 13, 1777


Phillip Freneau (1752-1832)

        On the Emigration to America and Peopling the Western Country

        The Indian Burying Ground

        On the Religion of Nature


Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784)

        On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield, 1770

        To Maecenas 

        On Being Brought from Africa to America

        To S.M., a Young African Painter, on Seeing His Works

        To His Excellency General Washington

        To the Right Honorable William, Earl of Dartmouth

        To the University of Cambridge in New England

        Letter to Samson Occom


Context and Response: Thomas Jefferson, from Query XIV, Notes on the State of Virginia


John Marrant (1755-1791)

        A Narrative of the Lord’s Wonderful Dealings with John Marrant, a Black


Washington Irving (1783-1859)

        Rip Van Winkle


        Context and Response: James Kirke Paulding (1779-1860), from National Literature


David Walker (1785–1830)

        From Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World


Lydia Howard Huntley Sigourney (1791-1865)

        The African Mother at Her Daughter’s Grave

        The Deaf, Dumb and Blind Girl of the American Asylum at Hartford, Connecticut

        To a Shred of Linen

        Indian Names

        Science and Religion



William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)


        The Prairies


Gallery 4: Indian Removal and Resistance

Cherokee Alphabet

Handsome Lake (1735-1815), How the White Race Came to America and Why the Gaiwiio Became a Necessity

David Brown (1802? - 1829), from Address of Dewi Brown, A Cherokee Indian

Memorial of the Cherokee Citizens, December 18, 1829

Andrew Jackson, Message to Congress, December 7, 1830

Clark Mills, Statue of Andrew Jackson         

William Apess (1798-1839), An Indian’s Looking-Glass for the White Man (1833)

Jane Johnston Schoolcraft (1800-1841), Invocation




Part Three: Literature in a Divided Nation (1830-1865)

To the Reader


Lydia Maria Child (1802–1880)

        Chocorua’s Curse

        Slavery’s Pleasant Homes


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)


        The American Scholar


        Concord Hymn

        The Rhodora


        Context and Responses: George Ripley (1802-1880) and Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882),



Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

        Young Goodman Brown

        The Minister's Black Veil

        The Birth-Mark


        Context and Response: Herman Melville (1819-1891), Hawthorne and His Mosses


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

        A Psalm of Life

        The Village Blacksmith

        The Slave’s Dream

        The Arsenal at Springfield

        The Jewish Cemetery at Newport


John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

        The Hunters of Men

        Toussaint L’Ouverture

        The Yankee Girl


        The Ship-Builders


Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

        The Raven

        Annabel Lee

        The Fall of the House of Usher


        The Philosophy of Composition


Margaret Fuller (1810-1850)

        The Great Lawsuit. Man versus Men. Woman versus Women.


        Context and Response: Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902), The Declaration of Sentiments


Gallery 5: Women, Domesticity, and Publication

Judith Sargent Murray (1751–1820), Desultory Thoughts upon the Utility of Encouraging a Degree of Self-

    Complacency, especially in Female Bosoms

Eliza Lee Follen (1787-1860), Women’s Work

Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879), Books

Plate from Godey’s Lady’s Book

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), Feeling

Sarah Willis Parton (1811-1872), A Chapter on Literary Women

Phoebe Cary (1824-1871), Advice Gratis to Certain Women


Harriet Jacobs (1813-1897)

        from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)


        Civil Disobedience

        Life Without Principle


Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)

        Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

        The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro


Gallery 6: Slavery and Abolition

John Woolman (1720-1772), from Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes

Peter Osborne (fl. 1832), Address

William Lloyd Garrison (1805–1879), To the Public

Vignettes from Poems Written During the Progress of the Abolition Question in the United States (1837)

Fannie Kemble (1809-1893), from Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation

Henry Highland Garnet, from An Address to the Slaves of the United States of America

Advertising poster for Uncle Tom’s Cabin


Herman Melville (1819-1891)

        Bartleby the Scrivener


        Context and Response: Orestes Brownson (1803-1876), from The Laboring Classes


Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

        Song of Myself

        Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

        When I Heard at the Close of Day

        I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing

        Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night

        A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim

        The Wound-Dresser


        When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom'd

        From Democratic Vistas


Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825–1911)

        The Slave Mother

        Eliza Harris

        The Slave Auction

        The Colored People in America

        Learning to Read

        Bury Me in a Free Land


Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

        130 (“These are the days when Birds come back—”)

        199 (“I'm 'wife'—I've finished that—”)

        214 (“I taste a liquor never brewed—”)

        216 (“Safe in their Alabaster Chambers—”)

        241 (“I like a look of Agony”)

        249 (“Wild Nights—Wild Nights!”)

        258 (“There's a certain Slant of light”)

        280 (“I felt a Funeral, in my Brain”)

        303 (“The Soul selects her own Society—”)

        324 (“Some keep the Sabbath going to Church—”)

        341 (“After great pain, a formal feeling comes—”)

        348 (“I dreaded that first Robin, so”)

        441 (“This is my letter to the World”)

        448 (“This was a Poet—It is That”)

        465 (“I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—”)

        501 (“This World is not Conclusion”)

        520 (“I started Early—Took my Dog—”)

        632 (“The Brain—is wider than the Sky—”)

        650 (“Pain—has an Element of Blank—”)

        709 (“Publication—is the Auction”)

        712 (“Because I could not stop for Death—”)

        754 (“My Life had stood—a Loaded Gun—”)

        986 (“A narrow Fellow in the Grass")

        1129 (“Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—”)

        1545 (“The Bible is an antique Volume—”)

        1732 (“My life closed twice before its close;")

        from Letters of Emily Dickinson

        April 15, 1862

        April 25, 1862


Rebecca Harding Davis (1831-1910)

        Life in the Iron-Mills





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