American Literature to 1900: Paper #1
Paper Topic #1
Narrating American Landscapes
Location: [Reed College] [Department
of English] [Laura
and Narration]Paper #1
(Sat. 2/22 Recommended: one paragraph abstract of paper to
Sat. 3/1 One copy to Laura's mailbox by 5 pm, copies to group members
Sat. 3/8 Peer Responses Due (one copy to Laura, one to Group Members)
Sat. 3/15 Revisions and/or Web Page Due (5pm Laura's mailbox or email)
Recommended Length: 4-5 pages
Suggested Topic: Comparison
Using either Emerson's "Nature" or Thomas Cole's "Essay on American
Scenery" (in your reader) analyze a poem from the American Renaissance (see
options on-line or choose your own poem) or a work of landscape art from the
on-line Gallery of Nineteenth-Century American Art. Compare the rhetorical
strategies of each work. You may want to consider things such as point of
view, openings, genre, structure, character, or other issues that have arisen
in class. How do these strategies reflect their different presentations of
themes we have discussed (the sublime, the oversoul, the nation, water, the
Write a topic of your own devising (see below).
No matter which topic you choose, I am interested in seeing three
things (besides of course inspired writing and thought): one, close analysis
of more than one text; two, experimentation with comparing cultural texts;
three, some engagement with the issues we have raised so far this semester.
Please see the handout version of this sheet for suggestions for how to structure comparison essays more productively.
Peer Review and Revisions:
Writing is always a process. I would like you to have the
benefit from having as much feedback on your papers as possible. As such, I
will be reading your papers and giving you feedback and the opportunity to
revise them (or turn them into a web page). However, I have found that it is
also useful for you to get a sense, as a writer, of your larger audience.
Thus, I am asking you also to write a one page response to your group members'
papers. Feel free to comment on the tone, style, format, or content of their
work (see due date above).
Peer Editing Groups
Self Evaluation Form
Peer Review Forms and Paper Help
Click here to see a copy of the syllabus
Questions? Contact Laura at