Genre, gender, and power

Ivy Schweitzer
Dartmouth College

First, this text came at the end of the term when students were fatigued and full up with Early American texts in a course that was both a survey and introduction to the field that spanned 1490’s to 1790’s and included literature from the Indian, French, and Spanish traditions as well as English. Notably, this class’s least favorite text was Behn’s Oroonoko, which in the previous iteration of the course was the big hit. The present group had trouble with Behn’s Romantic language and orotund writing style; at times they could not even summarize the plot! So Amelia came as a welcomed reprieve to them. Not only could they get the plot, but they experienced the sentimental mode with less resistance, and they understood the political allegory almost from the beginning and really ran with it.
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