2010 AM Fictions of a Puritan Past: Hogg’s Justified Sinner and Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, Tues 10-12

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  • Time: Tuesday 10-12

Course Description

The focus of this course is on two narratives from the first half of the nineteenth century, which reflect the burning issues of their own time by telling stories from a past which, one may fear, is not quite completely over. The stories are set in Scotland and New England respectively, and they ostensibly represent the social oppressiveness, the self-righteousness and hypocrisy of the Puritans of former times. At the same time, they appear to address dangers arising from a religious fanaticism that continue to threaten the modern self-conception at the time of their publication. Along with the close reading of the two narratives, the course will thus engage in a discussion of the issues of national identities, of tradition vs. modernity, religion vs. secularity, individual vs. society. Students should purchase and read in advance:

James Hogg, Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter and Other Writings, 4th Leland S. Person, (Norton Critical Editions).[Both texts may be had at a very competitive price at the CvO Bookshop]

Additional materials for preparation will be made available on the course’s interactive wikiwebsite.

Requirements: for 3 KP: regular attendance, an oral contribution in the form of a presentation and participation in an ‘expert group’ that will prepare a certain aspect of the seminar’s topic for the final discussion. Requirements for 6 KP: as above, with a term paper of ca. 10 pp. based on the topic of the presentation (deadline Aug 15, 2010).












Sacvan Bercovitch, "A-Politics" (Norton Critical Ed., 576-597)





Further Reading