Mysteries of New York

Now that I’ve finished teaching a seminar on the Mysteries of New York, 1835-60, I feel at liberty to post a link to the syllabus I concocted. The students were unexpectedly game about Jonathan Slick and Nathaniel Parker Willis, but they loathed William Henry Sedley Smith, almost universally. While I’m divulging my pedagogical side, here’s the syllabus for a graduate seminar I taught a year and a half ago, on Transcendentalism: Literature and Reform, in which Orestes Brownson proved to be the dark-horse favorite. (In the event, neither syllabus was performed exactly as scripted.)

2 thoughts on “Mysteries of New York”

  1. What a hoot it would be to take a course in Transcendentalism from you. In particular, it would be interesting to see what you had to say about obscure characters like NP Willis… for instance, whether his sister Fanny Fern was dissin' his sexual orientation.

    Speaking of sexual orientation beyond the rim of the Transcendentalist circle… why not look afield to their Unitarian colleagues? I recently posted the remarkable history of "The Brothers Graham" to GayToday:

    It's called
    "Gay Marriage, Brooklyn Style, 1820".



  2. Thanks for alerting me to your story about the Brothers Graham. Fascinating stuff. As for NPW, his gestalt certainly appears to be other than straight to a modern eye, but as far as I can tell, he was remorselessly heterosexual.

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