Date of Award

8-29-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Janet Gabler-Hover - Chair

Second Advisor

Robert Sattelmeyer

Third Advisor

Calvin Thomas

Abstract

This dissertation examines how the new “multicultural phase” anthologies of American literature treat American history. Anthologies of American literature are more historical, more diverse, and more multidisciplinary than ever before, but they have over-extended themselves in both their historical and representational reach. They are not, despite their diversity and historicism, effective vehicles for promoting critical discussions of American history in the classroom. Chapter One outlines a brief history of anthologies of American literature, while also introducing the terminology and methodology used in this study. Chapter Two explores the role of the headnote as a vehicle for American history in anthologies by focusing on headnotes to Abraham Lincoln in multiple anthologies. Chapter Three examines how anthologies frame Native American origin stories for their readers. Chapter Four focuses on the issues raised by anthologizing texts originally composed in Spanish, and Chapter Five argues for a transnational broadening of the “slavery theme” in anthologies to include Barbary captivity narratives and texts that reference Indian slavery.

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