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American Literary Timeline


American Literary Timeline Colonial Period Age of Reason Romanticism Transcendentalism Anti-Transcendentalism Realism Naturalism Regionalism Modernism – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: American Literary Timeline

American Literary Timeline
  • Colonial Period
  • Age of Reason
  • Romanticism
  • Transcendentalism
  • Anti-Transcendentalism
  • Realism
  • Naturalism
  • Regionalism
  • Modernism
  • Contemporary

Colonial PeriodEarly America-1776
  • This period was at the very beginnings of
    America and it made way for the rest of the
    countries literature. In the first stages of
    America there were writers, such as Thomas
    Hariot, who wrote A Brief and True Report of the
    New-Found Land of Virginia in 1588 in which he
    described The Americas in words and picture.
    The book was quickly translated into Latin,
    French, and German it was a window for the Old
    World to see an embellished version of the New
  • Others that dominated this era were the Puritans
    whose definition of good writing was writing that
    brought home a full awareness of the importance
    of worshipping God and of the spiritual dangers
    that the soul faced on Earth, and the literature
    that was produced by the Puritans reflected this.

Authors of the Colonial Period
Edward Taylor
John Woolman
Anne Bradstreet
William Bradford
Age of Reason Late 1770s to Early 1800s
Authors of the Age of Reason
  • This period was a time when authors were
    focused more on their own reasoning rather than
    simply taking what the church taught as fact.
    During this period there was also cultivation of
    patriotism. The main medium during that period
    were political pamphlets, essays, travel
    writings, speeches, and documents.
  • Also during this period many reforms were
    either made or requested, for instance during
    this time the Declaration of Independence was

Abigail Adams
Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Paine
Romanticism 1800-1850
  • After the Age of Reason came to an end, the
    people of America were tired of reality they
    wanted to see life as more than it was. This was
    the Era of Romantics. The main medium that
    presented itself at that time were short stories,
    poems, and novels. During this era, as opposed
    to the Age of Reason, the imagination
    dominated intuition ruled over fact, and there
    was a large emphasis on the individual/common man
    and on nature or the natural world.
  • Gothic literature was also introduced at this
    time, which is a sub-genre of Romanticism. This
    genre includes stories about characters that had
    both good and evil traits. Gothic literature
    also incorporated the use of supernatural

Authors of the Romanticism
Washington Irving
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Edgar Allen Poe
Herman Melville
  • This movement pushed America from the elaborate
    and fantasy writings displayed in the period of
    Romanticism into a period of literature that
    stressed individualism, nature, and
    self-reliance. Often Transcendentalists used
    nature to gain knowledge or to return to a life
    of self-reliance and individualism. It also
    stressed the fundamental idea of a unity between
    God and the world and that each person was a
    microcosm of the world.
  • Unlike many European groups, the
    Transcendentalists never issued a manifesto.
    They insisted on the differences in each

Authors of the Transcendentalism
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Henry David Thoreau
Walt Whitman
Sarah Margaret Fuller
Anti-Transcendentalism 1840-1855
  • During the same time period when
    Transcendentalism was taking place, its opposite,
    Anti-Transcendentalism, was also happening. As
    opposed to Transcendentalism, which focused on
    the natural world and its relationship to
    humanity and the quest for understanding of the
    human spirit, Anti-Transcendentalism focused on
    the limitations of mankind and its potential
    destructiveness of the human spirit. For
    instance, water brings life, but its excess, i.e.
    a flood, can bring death and destruction.
    (Notice how they sometimes use nature in their
    writings to reflect what goes on with humans.
    Example Scarlet Letter and the forest
    reflects Pearls wild nature, the only place
    Hester and Dimmesdale can be free, etc.)

Authors of the Anti-Transcendentalism
Herman Melville
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Realism 1865-1915
  • This literary movement took place during the
    Civil War. At a time when a war was taking place,
    people were tired of Transcendentalism and
    Anti-Transcendentalism. For one thing, they were
    both extremes of the same spectrum one was nice,
    happy, and frilly the other was dark and
    destructive. People wanted to see things how
    they were, so Realism came about.
  • Realism also came about as a reaction to
    Romanticism, in which there were heroic
    characters and adventures with strange and
    unfamiliar settings. In response, Realisms
    authors tried to write truthfully and objectively
    about ordinary characters in ordinary situations.

Authors of the Realism
Mark Twain Samuel Clemens
Bret Harte
Sarah Orne Jewett
James Henry
Naturalism 1865-1915
  • The Naturalism literary movement that took place
    in the late nineteenth and early twentieth
    century tended to view people as hapless victims
    of immutable natural laws. Naturalism is closely
    related to Realism, only it usually views the
    world in a darker perspective. In Naturalism, it
    is widely shown that free will is an illusion
    that things that happen in the universe happen
    and could not happen any other way.
  • Also a defining characteristic of Naturalism is
    that its characters lives are shaped by forces
    they cannot control.

Authors of the Naturalism
Stephen Crane
Jack London
Theodore Dreiser
Frank Norris
Regionalism 1865-1915
  • Regionalism was a literary movement in which
    authors would write a story about specific
    geographical areas. By writing about regions,
    the authors explore the culture of that area,
    including its languages, customs, beliefs, and
  • Not only did writers in this time try to show
    the region they wrote about to their readers, but
    they also made an attempt at a sophisticated
    sociological or anthropological treatment of the
    culture of the region.

Authors of the Regionalism
Willa Cather
William Faulkner
Kate Chopin
Frank Norris
Modernism 1915-1946
  • This type of writing is one of the most
    experimental types. Modernist authors used
    fragments, stream of consciousness, and interior
    dialogue. The main thing that authors were
    trying to achieve with Modernism was a unique
    style, one that they could stand out and be known
    for its uniqueness.
  • During this period, technology was taking
    incredible leaps. There were also two world wars
    and destruction on a global scale. The younger
    generation began to take over the main stage.

Authors of the Modernism
Ernest Hemingway
F. Scott Fitzgerald
John Steinbeck
Robert Frost
Contemporary 1946-present
  • In the years since the Modern period, American
    authors have begun to write from a plethora of
    genres. Many Americans simply write in the style
    that suits them individually rather than
    mimicking specific styles. There are more
    different types of writing being done at one time
    than at any other period in history fantasy,
    fiction, science fiction, horror, political
    writings, romantics, plays, and poems, anything
    and everything.

Authors of the Contemporary
J. D. Salinger
Stephen King
Joyce Carol Oates
Robert Jordan
End of Power Point
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    slides above

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Edward Taylor (c. 1644-1729)
  • Taylor was a Minister who studied at Harvard
    College, and whose works were never published by
    Taylor, himself, until they were discovered in
    1930s. He wrote such pieces as Metrical History
    of Christianity, which mainly a history of
    Christian martyrs.

Colonial Period
John Woolman (1720-1772)
  • The best known work by a Quaker was written by
    this man, simply named Journal in 1774, this
    journal was a complete and full account of his
    life in a pure, heartfelt style of great
    sweetness that have attracted many American and
    English writers for many years after Woolman had
    past away.

Colonial Period
Anne Bradstreet (c. 1612-1672)
  • The first publication of a book of poems in
    America, was also the first publication by a
    woman in America. She also wrote The Tenth Muse
    Lately Sprung Up in America in 1650.

Colonial Period
William Bradford (1590-1657)
  • He was elected governor of Plymouth shortly after
    the pilgrims landed in on Plymouth Rock. He was
    essentially the first historian of the new
    colonies. His participation in the voyage of the
    Mayflower and being governor made him the ideal
    person for this job. He wrote Of Plymouth
    Plantation in 1651.

Colonial Period
Abigail Adams (1744-1818)
  • She wrote letters that campaigned for womens
    rights. Her grandson, Charles Francis Adams,
    published The Familiar Letters of John Adams and
    His Wife Abigail During the Revolution, which
    were just what they said they were, letters
    written by Abigail and her husband.

Age of Reason
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
  • Franklin is well known worldwide for his
    discoveries in the world of science and also for
    works that he contributed to, such as the
    Declaration of Independence, and his theories on
    electricity. His works were all new ideas things
    people never thought of before because they
    always took what they got as fact.

Age of Reason
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
  • Jefferson is bets know for writing the
    Declaration of Independence, the document came
    about as a response to these times, people were
    thinking for themselves, and one of the major
    thing the Americans discovered was that they
    didnt need England. So Jefferson wrote the D of
    I to formally state that.

Age of Reason
Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
  • Paine wrote mostly pamphlets that would spur
    ideas and immediate action. In the document "The
    American Crisis," Paine wrote about the
    oppression that America suffered from Britain,
    and propelled America into a war with Britain.
    Paine, to this day, is well known for his

Age of Reason
Washington Irving (1789-1851)
  • Irving was the first famous American author
    hes also known as the Father of American
    Literature. He wrote travel books, short
    stories, and satires. Some of his works include
    Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Rip Van Winkle, and
    Devil and Tom Walker.

Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849)
  • Poe had a bad childhood that made him despise the
    world, and his works reflected his work. He is
    credited for creating the modern short story, and
    the detective story. He also challenged two
    long-standing theories, one, a poem had to be
    long, and two, a poem had to teach you something.
    Some of his works include, "The Raven", "Bells",
    "Annabel Lee", and "Dream."

Herman Melville (1819-1891)
  • In his time Melville was not entirely recognized,
    however, in the more recent years he has been
    considered one of the most top rated novelist of
    all time. He is most well known for his epic
    novel Moby Dick.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
  • Emerson had a strong sense of a religious mission
    though he was accused of subverting Christianity.
    He left the church saying, to be a good
    minister, it was necessary to leave the church.
    Some of his mayor works include Nature, published
    in 1836.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
  • Thoreau Lived his life, to do just that, live his
    life. He was never rich and for the most part
    lived with little money all his life. His work
    he is most well known for is Walden, published in

Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
  • Whiteman was born on Long Island, and was, for
    most of his job life, a carpenter he was a man
    of the people. Most of his learning career was
    done on his own, after he left school the age of
    eleven. His major work was entitled His Leaves
    of Grass, published in 1855 over the years he
    made many rewrites for this book. Some of his
    famous poems are, "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," "Out
    of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking," and "When
    Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd."

Sarah Margaret Fuller (1810-1850)
  • Fuller was born in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts.
    She learned Greek and Latin at a very young age,
    and later learned German and Italian. After her
    father, a congressman, died she became a
    schoolteacher. She worked with Ralph Emerson as
    editors of The Dial, a literary and philosophical
    journal, for which she wrote many articles
    including The Great Lawsuit. Man versus Woman,
    Woman versus Man in which she spoke for the
    equality of men and women. Some of her other
    works include Summer on the Lakes, published in
    1844, and Women in the Women in the Nineteenth
    Century, published in 1845.

Nathaniel Hawthorne(1804-1864)
  • Hawthorne was a Puritan who utilized his writings
    to express his dark, and gloomy outlook on life.
    Some of his works include Twice Told Tales,
    published in 1837 The Scarlet Letter, published
    in 1850 and The House of the Seven Gables,
    published in 1851.

Mark Twain Samuel Clemens (1835-1910)
  • Twain is known by many as the greatest American
    humorist and one of our greatest novelists. He
    was known for using vernacular, exaggeration, and
    deadpan narrator to create humor. Twain wrote
    many great novels including, the Adventures of
    Tom Sawyer, published in 1876 and The Prince and
    the Pauper, published in 1881.

Bret Harte (1836-1902)
  • Harte was born in New York, and later worked in
    California, on The California writing stories.
    He worked with other well-known authors as well,
    while at The California, authors like Mark Twain,
    Charles Warren Stoddard, and Prentice Mulford.
    He was later appointed Secretary of the United
    States Branch Mint at San Francisco he held this
    office until 1870. He then became the editor of
    Overland Monthly, where he published "The Luck of
    Roaring Camp," which brought him instant fame.
    Some of his works included "The Heathen
    Chinese, a poem published in 1870, Devil's Ford,
    "The Twins of Table Mountain," "By Shore and
    Sedge," and "A Millionaire of Rough and Ready."

Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)
  • Jewett grew up with books all around her, it was
    only fitting she grow up to be a writer. The
    early years of her life were much like the story
    she wrote in A Country Doctor. Some of her works
    include Miss Tempy's Watchers, originally
    published in 1888 The Dulham Ladies, originally
    published in 1886 A White Heron, originally
    published in 1886.

James Henry (1843-1916 )
  • His father was an important theorist and
    lecturer, and his older brother was a famous
    American philosopher, William James. He attended
    Harvard College. His early stories depict the
    leisurely life of the well-to-do. In his time he
    wrote many short stories including The Short
    Story of a Year, published in 1865 Gabrielle
    de Bergerac, published in 1869 and Guest's

Stephen Crane (1871-1900)
  • Cranes writing was known for attacking
    patriotism, individualism, and organized
    religion it also confronted the meaninglessness
    of the world. His work was also very well known
    for its imagery and symbolism. The work he is
    most famous for Red Badge of Courage, which was
    set in the Civil War. Some of his other works
    include The Open Boat, published in 1894 An
    Episode of War, originally published in 1890.

Jack London (1876-1916)
  • London was born in San Francisco, California he
    lived a hard life, switching from job to job for
    whatever money he could get, after his father
    abandoned him at a young age. He is one of the
    most highly acclaimed writers of all time his
    stories of life and death struggles are vivid and
    engaging. Some of his works include The Call of
    the Wild, published in 1903 White Fang,
    published in 1906 Lost Face, published in
    1910 and The Night Born, published in 1913.

Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945)
  • One of Dreiser's favorite fictional devices was
    the use of contrast between the rich and the
    poor, the urbane and the unsophisticated, and the
    power brokers and the helpless. Some of his works
    include Twelve Men, published in 1919 A Book
    About Myself, published in 1922 The Color of a
    Great City, published in 1923 An American
    Tragedy, published in 1925.

Frank Norris (1870-1902)
  • Norris studied in Paris, at the Univ. of
    California, and Harvard. He also spent several
    years as a war correspondent in South Africa
    (1895-96) and Cuba (1898). Some of his works
    include The Responsibilities of the Novelist,
    published in 1903 The Octopus, published in
    1901 and The Pit published in 1903.

Willa Cather (1873-1947)
  • Cather has been called, one of the most
    interesting female writers in American literary
    history. She was a teacher, a journalist and a
    critic as well as a writer. She has a talent for
    presenting settings, and characters that are rich
    in language and imagery. She also won a Pulitzer
    Prize. Some of her works include April
    Twilights, published in 1903 and O Pioneers!,
    published in 1913.

William Faulkner (1897-1962)
  • He served in both the Canadian and the British
    Royal Air Force. He wrote most of his novel on a
    farm in Oxford, Mississippi. Some of his novels
    included The Hamlet, published in 1940 The
    Town, published in 1957 and The Mansion,
    published in 1959.

Kate Chopin (1851-1904)
  • Chopin loved literature as a child, and secluded
    herself in it after her grandmothers death. She
    never achieved much until 1884 when she finally
    decided to pursue a career in writing. Some of
    her writing included "Desirees Baby," published
    in 1893 "The Awakening," published in 1899.

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)
  • Hemingway won a Pulitzer Prize and Noble Peace
    Price for Literature. He used concise, direct,
    spare, objective, precise, rhythmic writing
    styles to create larger than life heroes, big
    game hunters, etc. Some of his works include
    The Sun Also Rises, published in 1922 A Farewell
    To Arms published in 1929 For Whom the Bell
    Tolls, published in 1940.

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)
  • Fitzgerald wrote about the times. In his novel
    The Great Gatsby, published in 1925, he wrote
    about the roaring twenties, a time when no one
    cared about the future and they had fun with what
    they had then. Some of his other works include
    The Side of Paradise, published in 1920 and The
    Beautiful and the Damned, published in 1922.

John Steinbeck (1902-1968)
  • Steinbeck wrote about the both the pains and joys
    of life. The Grapes of Wraith, published in
    1939, his most well known work told the story of
    families ring to survive and stay together during
    the depression. In other works like Tortilla
    Flat, published in 1935, Steinbeck wrote about
    the joys of life. Some of his other works
    include East of Eden, published in 1952 Of Mice
    and Men, published in 1937 and The Pearl,
    published in 1947.

Robert Frost (1874-1963)
  • Americas best known and most loved poet, Frost
    wrote his poems in a traditional verse form. He
    used the plain speech of rural New Englanders.
    Some of his works include Death of the Hired
    Man, published in 1951 Birches, published
    in1920 and The Road Not Taken, published in

J. D. Salinger (b.1919)
  • Salinger studied at NYU, and Columbia University.
    After which he decided to devote his life to his
    writing. His writing career was interrupted by
    World War I, where he served in the U.S. Army.
    His most well known work was his novel Catcher in
    the Rye, published in 1951, a novel about a high
    school student who tries to run away from his
    life that he thinks is phony. Some of his
    works are A Perfect Day for Bananafish published
    in 1948 For Esmé With Love and Squalor,
    published in 1950.

Stephen King (b.1947)
  • King write novels that frighten people. Some of
    his major works are Carrie published in 1974
    The Shining, publishing in 1998 Salem's Lot,
    published in 1993 and The Stand, published in

Joyce Carol Oates (b.1938)
  • Oates received a type writer at the age of
    fourteen and trained herself to write novel after
    novel through high school and college. She
    earned an M.A. in English at the University of
    Wisconsin. Some of her works include Blonde,
    published in 2000 Wonderland, published in 1971
    and The Tattooed Girl, published in 2003.

Robert Jordan (b.1948)-
  • He went to the Citadel, the Military College of
    South Carolina, where he received a degree in
    physics. Jordans main area of expertise is in
    the genre of fantasy. He is currently in the
    process of writing a series of novel entitled The
    Wheel of Time, some of the novels from this
    series are, The Eye of the World, published in
    1990 Crossroads of Twilight, published in 2003
    and The Novel New Spring published in 2004.

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