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Movements in American Literature


Movements in American Literature Elements of the Gothic that they celebrated variety, richness, mystery, aspiration The gothic is a way for us to examine the realm ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Movements in American Literature

Movements in American Literature
Survey of American Literature
  • 1 Colonials to Revolutionaries
    (1620-1820)Bradford, Bradstreet, Edwards,
    Franklin, Jefferson, Mather, Paine, Wheatley.2
    An Age of Renaissance (1820-1865)Emerson,
    Hawthorne, Irving, Melville, Poe, Thoreau,
    Whitman.3 Probing Reality (1865-1914)Adams,
    Dickinson, Dreiser, Howells, James, Sinclair,
    Twain.4 Between the Wars (1915-1945)Anderson,
    Fitzgerald, Hemingway, O'Neill, Pound, Sandburg,
    Wright.5 After the War (1945-present)Bellow,
    Ellison, Heller, Kerouac, Mailer, Roth, Salinger,

What is post-colonial literature?
  • Definition of post-colonial all the culture
    affected by the imperial process from the moment
    of colonization to the present day
  • Post-colonial literatures emerged in their
    present form out of the experience of
    colonization and asserted themselves by
    foregrounding the tension with the imperial
    power, and by emphasizing their differences from
    the assumptions of the imperial centre
  • the local vs the metropolitan center
  • Spatial metaphors center, margin, periphery
    (Said a conscious affiliation proceeding under
    the guise of filiationa mimicry of the centre

Development and Concerns of Post-Colonial
  • 1. texts produced by representatives of the
    imperial power
  • 2. literature produced under imperial license by
    natives or outcasts
  • Hegemony of RS-English (Received Standard
    English)linguistic hierarchy
  • English vs englisheslinguistic continuum
  • Place and displacementdislocation, cultural
  • The power of marginality

Critical Models
  • 1. national and regional models
  • 2. race-based models
  • 3. comparative models
  • 4. wider comparative models
  • ex. hybridity and syncretism (the process by
    which previously distinct linguistic categories,
    and by extension, cultural formations, merge into
    a single new form) (15)

National and Regional Models
  • National model ex. American literaturedifference
    from British literature ? American literatures
  • Metaphors parent-child, parent tree-offshoot,
    stream-tributary (16)
  • Wole Soyinkathe process of self-apprehension
  • Regional model ex. West Indian literature or
    Caribbean literature (18)

Comparative Models
  • the metropolitan-colonial axisBritain as a
    standard in-school readers a normative core of
    British literature, landscape, and history
    (Wordsworths daffodils) colonial adventure

Race-Based Models the Black Writing Model
  • the African diaspora
  • NégritudeCésaire, Senghoressentialist
    definition of Black culture (emotional
    integration and wholeness, rhythmic and temporal
    principles)the danger of turning into a new
    universal paradigm
  • ? Black consciousness movement, Black Power
    movements in the US
  • Saidthe danger of adopting a double kind of
    possessive exclusivism

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  • Commonwealth literature1960s
  • Third World literatures
  • new literatures in English
  • colonial literatures
  • post-colonial literatures
  • post-European

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Place and Language
  • D. E. S. Maxwell the appropriateness of using
    non-indigenous languageimported tongue alien
    to the place
  • Settler colonies (the US, Canada, Australia, New
    Zealand)transplanted civilization
  • Invaded colonies (India, West Africa)indigenous
    culture marginalized
  • double vision (local metropolis)
  • Limitationsnot comprehensive enough (the West
    Indies and the South Africa) lack of linguistic
    subtlety, essentialist

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Thematic Parallels
  • celebration of the struggle towards independence
    in community and individual
  • the dominating influence of a foreign culture of
    post-colonial societies
  • the construction or demolition of houses
  • the journey of the European interloper through
    unfamiliar landscape with a native guide
  • Use of allegory, irony, magic realism,
    discontinuous narrative
  • exile

Colonizer and the Colonized
  • Franz Fanon and Albert Memmi
  • the possibility of decolonizing the culture
  • full independencereturn to pre-colonial
    languages (Edward Brathwaite, Chinweizu)
  • inevitable cultural syncreticity (Wilson Harris,

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Dominated and Dominating
  • Max Dorsinville
  • To account for the changes in American literature
  • To account for minority literatures Irish, Welsh
    and Scottish literatures
  • Subversion in the dominated literaturesempire
    writes back to the imperial center

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Post-colonial Language
  • Language as a medium for powerabrogation and
    appropriation to re-place English
  • 3 main types of linguistic groups monoglossic
    single-language societies using english as a
    native tongue
  • diglossic bilingualismenglish as the language
    of government and commerceIndia, Africa, the
    South Pacific
  • polyglossic or polydialectical a multitude of
    dialects interweave to form a generally
    comprehensible linguistic continuumlinguistic

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The Construction of English
  • The world language called english is a continuum
    of intersections in which the speaking habits
    in various communities have intervened to
    reconstruct the language. 2 ways of
  • Regional english varieties introduce new words
  • National and regional peculiarities
  • English is continually changing and growing
    (becoming an english)

Abrogation and Appropriation
  • Abrogation is a refusal of the categories of the
    imperial culture, its aesthetic, its illusory
    standard of normative or correct usage, and its
    assumption of a traditional and fixed meaning
    inscribed in the words.must be combined with
    appropriation to avoid being a reversal of the
    assumptions of privilege, the normal, and
    correct inscription (38)
  • Appropriation is the process by which language
    is taken and made to bear the burden of ones
    own cultural experience, orto convey in a
    language that is not ones own the spirit that is
    ones own (38-39)

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  • Reactions against the notions of centrality and
    the authentic in the process of decolonization
    Privileges the margins refutes a standard code
    (40) or rejects the possibility of returning to
    some pure and unsullied cultural condition
    (anti-universalist, anti-representational stance)
  • The english language as a tool to textually
    construct a world, it also constructs
    difference, separation, and absence from the
    metropolitan norm. (44)

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Metonymic Function of Language Variance
  • post-colonial writing abrogates the privileged
    centrality of English by using language to
    signify difference while employing a sameness
    which allows it to be understood. It does this
    by employing language variance, the part of a
    wider cultural whole, which assists in the work
    of language seizure whilst being neither
    transmuted nor overwhelmed by its adopted
    vehicle. Signifying processpost-colonial texts
    as metonymy language variance itself as
    metonymic of cultural difference

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Language Variance Allusion
  • the process of allusion installs linguistic
    distance itself as a subject of the text. The
    maintenance of the gap in the cross-cultural
    text is of profound importance to its
    ethnographic functions.

Strategies of Appropriation
  • Contrast the appropriated english with SE (59)
  • Editorial intrusions footnotes, glossary, the
    explanatory preface, etc. (61)
  • Glossing the most primitive form of metonymy
    (62)absence/gap between word and its referent
  • Untranslated words selective lexical fidelity
  • forces the reader into an active engagement
    with the horizons of the culture in which these
    terms have meaning.indicating the gap, a sign
    of distinctiveness an endorsement of the
    facility of the discourse situation (65)

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  • Interchange to generate an inter-culture by
    the fusion of the linguistic structures of two
    languagesa term coined by Nemser and Selinker
    to characterize the genuine and discrete
    linguistic system by learners of a second
    language. The concept of an interlanguage
    reveals that the utterances of a second-language
    learner are not deviant forms or mistakes, but
    rather are part of a separate but genuine
  • Syntactic fusion to mix the syntax of local
    language with the lexical forms of English (68)
  • developing (colloquial) neologisms

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The Gothic
  • Term used by 18th Century Neoclassicists as
    synonymous with barbaric to mean anything that
    offended classic tastes.
  • Romanticists of 19th century looked on the gothic
    with favor.
  • To them it suggested anything Medieval,
    primitive, natural, wild free, authentic,

  • Elements of the Gothic that they
    celebratedvariety, richness, mystery, aspiration
  • The gothic is a way for us to examine the realm
    of the irrational and the perverse impulses and
    nightmarish terrors that lie beneath the orderly
    surface of the civilized mind.
  • In America what does that represent?

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The Gothic Novel
  • Magic, Mystery, and chivalry are chief
  • Setting of first gothic novel (Horace Walpoles
    Castle of Otranto) was set in a medieval (gothic)
    castle with underground passages, trap doors,
    dark stairs, and mysterious rooms where doors
    slam unexpectantly.
  • Early American Gothic novelist Charles Brockden
    Brown (1771-1810) Wieland (1798)

  • Elements of the gothic have become cliche now to
    the point of melodrama, but the horror movie and
    gothic elements in fiction continue to abound and
    to be popular
  • Modern authors combine the gothic, romance, and
  • Extended to a type of fiction which lacks
    medieval settings but develops a brooding
    atmosphere of gloom and terror, represents events
    which are uncanny, or macabre, or
    melodramatically violent, and often deals with
    aberrant psychological states.

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Characteristics of Romanticism
  • Idealization of rural life
  • Enthusiasm for the uncivilized or natural
  • Enthusiasm for the wild, irregular, or grotesque
    in nature or art
  • Innocence over experience
  • Use of fresh, even common language rather that
    poetic diction
  • Abandonment of the heroic couplet in favor of
    blank verse and experimental forms of verse

Characteristics of Romanticism
  • Sensibility (emotionalism as opposed to
  • Sentimental melancholy
  • Emotional psychology
  • Individualism
  • Interest in human rights
  • Sympathetic interest in the past (esp. medieval
  • Mysticism
  • Primitivism
  • Love of nature

Some Characteristics of Romanticism (American
Movement 1830-1865)
  • --Sensibility (emotionalism as opposed to
  • --Primitivism
  • --Love of nature
  • --Sympathetic interest in the past (esp. medieval
  • --Mysticism
  • --Individualism
  • --Abandonment of the heroic couplet in favor of
    blank verse and experimental forms of verse

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  • --Use of fresh, even common language rather
    that poetic diction
  • --Idealization of rural life
  • --Enthusiasm for the uncivilized or natural
  • --Enthusiasm for the wild, irregular, or
    grotesque in nature or art
  • --Interest in human rights
  • --Sentimental melancholy
  • --Emotional psychology
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