Just Teach One

Early American Literature, the Electronic Archive, and the History of the Book

Karen Weyler
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

I was familiar with Amelia before I began this teaching project, after having written about that novella in Intricate Relations (Iowa, 2004).  I had not reread Amelia for a number of years, nor had I ever taught it.  Amelia was a perfect fit, however, for my Fall 2012 graduate seminar, titled “Early American Literature, the Electronic Archive, and the History of the Book.”   This class was comprised of twelve students, ranging from first-year master’s students to third-year Ph.D. students.  Only one of the students is majoring in pre-1900 American literature, and most had minimal background in early American literature.  In addition to collective weekly readings, the course required students to engage in extensive independent electronic database explorations, including, among others, the pay-for-service North American Women’s Letters and Diaries, Early American Imprints, First and Second Series, America’s Historical Newspapers, and American Periodicals.  We also used a number of free databases, such as Cornell University Library’s Making of America site and Colonial Williamsburg’s Virginia Gazette site, as well as numerous state archives discovered by the students.


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