This free, not-for-credit online course, the fifth installment of the multi-part Poetry in America series, explores the Poetry of the American Civil War and the series of major events and social movements that followed it—including Reconstruction, the Jim Crow Era, and Manifest Destiny, to name just a few.
Encountering such poets as Herman Melville, Julia Ward Howe, Walt Whitman, Edward Arlington Robinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, James Weldon Johnson, Francis Ellen Watkins Harper, Emma Lazarus and W.E.B. DuBois, we will examine the language of patriotism, pride, violence, loss, and memory inspired by the Nation’s greatest conflict. Distinguished guests for this module include Harvard President Drew Faust, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner, Professor and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Henry Louis Gates Jr., baritone Davone Tines, and Harvard Civil War scholar John Stauffer, among others.
Before you begin, you can get a head start on Poetry in America: The Civil War and Its Aftermath using the Module 5 Reading List.
We also invite you to explore the following resources to learn more about the history and literature of the American Civil War:
- CivilWar@Smithsonian Timeline, the Smithsonian Institution
- eHistory Timeline, The Ohio State University Department of History
- “Boston’s Crusade Against Slavery,” an online exhibition curated under the direction of Professor John Stauffer, Harvard University, and Houghton Library
- Foundation for the National Archives, Civil War Resources
- The Civil War Collection at Penn State, Penn State University Libraries
- Civil War Collections at Michigan State University
- Civil War Collections, University Library Special Collections at Virginia Tech
- American Civil War, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Georgia
- Civil War Era Collection, Special Collections, Musselman Library at Gettysburg College
- CivilWar@Smithsonian Collections, the Smithsonian Institution
- The Civil War: A Concise History, by Louis Masur
- This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (Vintage Civil War Library), by Drew Faust
- Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, by David Blight
- The Battle Hymn of the Republic: A Biography of the Song That Marches On, by John Stauffer and Benjamin Soskis
- The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
- Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008, by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
- The Republic in Crisis, 1848–1861, by John Ashworth
- Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World, by David Brion Davis
- The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, by Eric Foner
- The Civil War And Reconstruction: A Documentary Collection, edited by William Gienapp
- The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina, by Manisha Sinha
- The Scorpion’s Sting: Antislavery and the Coming of the Civil War, by James Oakes
- The Civil War: Told by Those Who Lived It (Library of America), edited by Brooks D. Simpson, Stephen W. Sears, and Aaron Sheehan-Dean
- Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War, by Megan Kate Nelson
- America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation, by David Goldfield
- Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877, by Brenda Wineapple
- The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War, by Don H. Doyle
- Gettysburg: The Last Invasion, by Allen Guelzo
- Clouds of Glory:The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee, by Michael Korda
- Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History, by John Fabian Witt
- From Battlefields Rising: How the Civil War Transformed American Literature, by Randall Fuller
- Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865, by James Oakes
- The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation, by David Brion Davis
- Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, by James McPherson
- Mourning Lincoln, by Martha Hodes
- Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of the American Civil War, by Edmund Wilson