Higher Education

The Wadsworth Themes American Literature Series, 1800-1865 Theme 7: Manifest Destiny and the Quest for the West, 1st Edition

  • Jay Parini Middlebury College
  • Shirley Samuels Cornell University
  • ISBN-10: 1428262423  |  ISBN-13: 9781428262423
  • 96 Pages
  • © 2009 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $13.50
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The first thematic series published for American literature, THE WADSWORTH THEMES IN AMERICAN LITERATURE SERIES is currently comprised of 21 themes spanning the time period normally covered in the two-semester American literature survey course—1492 to the present. Each carefully edited booklet centers on a core issue of the period with attention given to the development of key themes. Each thematic booklet offers an introductory contextual essay, a variety of literary perspectives, headnotes and footnotes, along with a variety of visual elements. The series allows you to mix and match themes to best meet the unique needs of your course—choose one booklet to complement an anthology and provide particular emphasis on a specific time period or create a bundle of two or more booklets as an alternative to other course materials. Shirley Samuels—a Professor of English and American Studies who also chairs the History of Art and Visual Studies Department at Cornell—has established herself as a major voice in the field of nineteenth-century American literature and culture. In the second sequence of booklets, Samuels looks at the early days of the American republic, a period stretching from 1800-1865, taking us through the Civil War. This was a period of huge expansion as well as consolidation. The question of identity arose on different fronts, and we see the beginnings of the women's movement in the nineteenth century. Racial questions came into focus during this era, too, and the groundwork for the Civil War is unhappily laid. A range of inspiring and heart-rending texts from a time of bloodshed, hatred, and immense idealism concludes the thematic sequence.

Features and Benefits

  • THE WADSWORTH THEMES IN AMERICAN LITERATURE SERIES strikes a teachable balance in choice of texts, offering an eclectic range of new works by classic authors as well as substantial examples of works by writers who for cultural or historical reasons have been ignored in the past.
  • This thematic series emphasizes situating texts in their appropriate contexts as well as conveying the sense that these texts speak to those who went before them. THE WADSWORTH THEMES IN AMERICAN LITERATURE SERIES asks a provocative yet basic question that every citizen should consider: What is America? The poets, novelists, and essayists we have included in our thematic series were not shy about offering a response.
  • High-quality illustrations place the selections in their historical contexts, making the literature more accessible to students.
  • Each selection is succinctly introduced by the volume editor and accompanied by headnotes—containing only the most essential information about each period and author—written by a wide array of specialists in the field. The pedagogical apparatus (introductions, headnotes, and illustrations) gives students a clear view of the historical moment, so they can see how authors respond in different ways to contemporary issues of the time and to national obsessions as well as to how literature becomes, over time, a lively conversation among immensely articulate men and women.

Table of Contents

Meriwether Lewis (1774–1809).
From Journals.
William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878).
The Prairies.
Jicoténcal (1826).
Selections from Chapters 1 and 6.
The Indian Removal Act (1830).
Thomas Cole (1801–1848).
Essay on American Scenery.
John O'Sullivan (1813–1895).
Louise Amelia Smith Clappe (1819–1906).
Letter Twelfth.
Bayard Taylor (1825–1878).
Eldorado. Chapter 27. The Overland Emigration of 1849.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Jay Parini

Jay Parini is a poet, novelist, and biographer. He is Axinn Professor of English at Middlebury College in Vermont. Among his books are THE LAST STATION (Holt, 1990), BENJAMIN’S CROSSING (Holt, 1997), THE ART OF SUBTRACTION: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS (Braziller, 2005), and WHY POETRY MATTERS (Yale, 2008). He has written biographies of John Steinbeck, Robert Frost, and William Faulkner. He has edited numerous books, including THE OXFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN LITERATURE (Oxford, 2004) and THE WADSWORTH ANTHOLOGY OF POETRY (Wadsworth, 2006).

Shirley Samuels

Shirley Samuels is currently Chair of the Department of the History of Art at Cornell as well as Professor of English and American Studies. Her books include FACING AMERICA: ICONOGRAPHY AND THE CIVIL WAR (Oxford University Press, 2004); COMPANION TO AMERICAN FICTION, 1780-1865 (editor) (Blackwell, 2004); ROMANCES OF THE REPUBLIC: WOMEN, THE FAMILY, AND VIOLENCE IN THE LITERATURE OF THE EARLY AMERICAN NATION (Oxford University Press, 1996); and THE CULTURE OF SENTIMENT: RACE, GENDER, AND SENTIMENTALITY (editor) (Oxford University Press, 1992).