HS Puritanism in the US: Literature and Culture



Zeit/Ort n.V.:

  • Mi 12:15-13:45, Raum C 301

Voraussetzungen / Organisatorisches

Zugehörigkeit zu den Modulen:

- BA English and American Studies (neu): Hauptmodul A. (Zulassungsvoraussetzung: Zwischenmodul II)
- Lehramt Englisch an Gymnasien (neu): Hauptmodul L-GYM Literature (Zulassungsvoraussetzung: Zwischenmodul Literature)
- MA North American Studies: Culture and Literature (4) Aufbaumodul Cultural Studies (7) Vertiefungsmodul Cultural Studies
- MA North American Studies: Culture and Literature (5) Aufbaumodul Literary Studies (8) Vertiefungsmodul Literary Studies
- MA The Americas/Las Américas: Modul 4
- MA Literaturstudien – interdisziplinär: Modul 4

For BA students, the class offers an independent study group which will focus on the reproductions of Puritanism in visual culture.


"A diffuse […] sense of missions permeates our lives, private and public, in the United States”. Thus wrote Leo Marx in the |New York Times| about Sacvan Bercovitch’s |The Puritan Origins of the American Self| when it first came out in 1976, the bicentennial year of the founding of the US. Throughout US history, the essence of American character, its "mission” is routinely ascribed to Puritanism, with its dual heritage of dissent and struggle for reform and political activism. Puritanism becomes the magic formula for Americanness, New England, in a hyperbolic move, serves as the cradle of the nation. This seminar revisits original Puritan texts, critically examines their burgeoning into a national myth in historiography and literary criticism, and traces the representation of Puritanism in two canonized literary texts, Hawthorne’s |The Scarlett Letter| (1850) and Miller’s |The Crucible |(1853). We will discuss the latter through recourse to film versions and historical contexts.

Empfohlene Literatur

The reading list includes primary texts by the Puritans and their followers (Mather, Bradford, Bushnell) as well as an overview on New England scholarship from Perry Miller to Sacvan Bercovitch and George McKenna. Select readings will be provided at the beginning of term. Please purchase Nathaniel Hawthorne, |The Scarlett Letter| (Norton Critical Edition) and Arthur Miller,| The Crucible| (Penguin Modern Classics Edition).