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I figure, after having just introduced myself in lecture, I’d introduce myself and this online project one more time. As mentioned, my name’s Joe, I’m a 3rd year PhD candidate in the department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. I’m also the Senior Tutor for English 2H06, American Literature, which is taught by Dr. Adamson in the fall term and Dr. Donaldson in the winter term.

Verba Americana is a sort of companion blog to the class, one I hope many of you will contribute to. It’s a space to generate dialogue about the texts we cover in class and texts we don’t cover in class. Let’s talk about what is exciting about American literature and how the ideas and forms and mysteries (among other things) that we are working with remain important today. For instance, on this day (Sept. 19) in 1876, Calvin F. S. Thomas died. When he was 19, Thomas published Poe’s first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems, published, not under Poe’s name, but “by a Bostonian.” Uncanny? I think so.

In a more current sense, let’s talk about where we see the influence of American literature in the world we live in. Know of a Swedish Death Metal band that composed an album inspired by Poe? Submit it. See the movie Easy A (2010) and have something to say about it’s link to Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter? Submit it! Yeah, we’re not reading Fitzgerald’s brilliant Jazz Age tradegy The Great Gatsby (1922), but Baz Luhrmann, the director of Moulin Rouge! (2001) and Australia (2008), is adapting it to film as we speak, staring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan. Thoughts? Submit!

I won’t go on any longer. But the entire class would benefit if you would.

Email submissions to Joe at frankj2@mcmaster.ca

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