SD State Library
SD Dept. of Education


American Literature/Composition


Beginnings to 1800

These two courses have been combined to form a yearlong course.  The literature part consists of a study of different periods of writing in America (colonial, revolutionary, Civil War, etc.).  It also includes coverage of the various kinds of writing (short stories, essays, novels, plays) as well as the literature of the different ethnic groups in the U.S. (Hispanic, Asian, Afro-American, Native American, etc.).


Most of the writing consists of some sort of student response to the literature.  Students will write paragraphs, essays of many types, reports, a short story, and poetry.  Other types of creative writing will be included, as time and student ability will allow. 


Unit Introduction

Collection 1: Visions and Voyages

Collection 2: The Examined Life

Collection 3: The American Dream

American Romanticism 1800–1860
Unit Introduction

Collection 4: The Transforming Imagination

The American Renaissance 1840–1860
Unit Introduction

Collection 5: The Life Worth Living

Collection 6: The Realms of Darkness

A New American Poetry
Collection 7: The Large Hearts of Heroes

Collection 8: Tell It Slant

The Rise of Realism 1850–1900
Unit Introduction

Collection 9: Shackles

Collection 10: From Innocence to Experience

The Moderns 1900–1950
Unit Introduction

Collection 11: Loss and Redemption

Collection 12: The Dream and the Reality

Collection 13: No Time for Heroes

Collection 14: Shadows of the Past

Collection 15: I, Too, Sing America—The Harlem Renaissance

Collection 16: Make It New!

American Drama
Unit Introduction

Collection 17: The Breaking of Charity

Contemporary Literature 1950 to Present
Unit Introduction

Collection 18: The Wages of War

Collection 19: Discoveries and Awakenings

Collection 20: From Generation to Generation

Collection 21: The Created Self