“Not Even New York Was Enough to Lighten Her Mood”: Teaching St. Herbert in Brooklyn

Caroline Chamberlin Hellman

City Tech, City University of New York

I taught St. Herbert—A Tale in an American literature survey (beginnings-Civil War). Embarking with a discussion of the Lenape alongside Eric Sanderson’s miraculous Mannahatta project and concluding with Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of Slave Girl, the class covered vast territory. As City Tech is located in Brooklyn, I tend to make the curriculum a bit more New York-centric than I might elsewhere. Our class studied Jacob Steendam’s “Spurring Verses,” one of the earliest real estate advertisements for New Amsterdam; visited the Brooklyn Historical Society to learn more about the early denizens of the borough, then the town of Breuckelen;  and paid homage to Walt Whitman at the site of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Continue reading ““Not Even New York Was Enough to Lighten Her Mood”: Teaching St. Herbert in Brooklyn”

St. Herbert in the American Lit Sophomore Survey Class

Derrick Spradlin

Freed-Hardeman University

I taught St. Herbert in my ENG 235 American Literature I course, a sophomore-level course taken primarily by students to fulfill the general education literature requirement, though there are normally a couple of English majors in each 35-person class.

This past semester, I used St. Herbert as the primary text for an assignment that calls on groups of about three students to give presentations to the class in which they make connections (thematic, structural, linguistic, cultural, etc.) between the assigned text—St. Herbert in this case—and either any of the other assigned texts, genres, movements, or themes from the semester or any contemporary text or current event. Their presentations must have a thesis or main point, must make specific references to the text(s), and should be between five and ten minutes long. The assignment falls towards the end of the semester so that students can draw from what they have learned over the past few months. Continue reading “St. Herbert in the American Lit Sophomore Survey Class”

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