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AMERICAN STUDIES

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Title: AMERICAN STUDIES


1
AMERICAN STUDIES
2
movements
  • Modernism really began in America but went to
    Paris to happen.
  • Gertrude Stein
  • 3 major periods/traditions
  • genteel
  • modernist
  • postmodernist

3
Writing strategies
  • anxieties of influence
  • appropriations of influences
  • borrowing
  • assimilating
  • intertextualizing

4
background
  • 1517 Protestant Reformation
  • Protestors who wished to reform the Catholic
    Church
  • Martin Luthers 95 Theses
  • 1532 Henry VIII, King of England creates the
    Anglican Church (Church of England)
  • Protestantism - in name only
  • King same as Pope with appointed cardinals
  • Anglican Church was Catholicism practice
    rituals
  • Catholic church in disguise

5
Puritanism England
  • Local Englishmen protest against the Anglican
    Church
  • Want to purify England
  • Against Henrys mild English theocracy
  • Belief in Predestination
  • Priesthood of the individual

6
Puritanism the English colonies
  • Puritans CHOSE to leave England
  • not because of persecution
  • needed a place to go where they could find
    government support
  • The New World became a Puritan Commonwealth
  • charter to go to the New World
  • city on a hill
  • a beacon light for others
  • Return to England
  • The idea was to purify America and then return to
    England to save her

7
central issues
  • The Puritans established their own religious and
    moral principles known as American Puritanism.
  • American Puritanism stressed
  • predestination, original sin, total depravity,
    and limited atonement (or the salvation of a
    selected few) from God's grace.
  • puritans left Europe for America in order to
    establish a theocracy in the New World.
  • they built a way of life that stressed
  • hard work, thrift, piety, and sobriety.

8
features
  • individual election and damnation
  • the pursuit of Gods work
  • predestination
  • God decided everything before things occurred
  • original sin in Adams fall, we sinned all.
  • limited atonement
  • only the elect can be saved.
  • personal life was emphasized as a theater for
    inner drama (journals, diaries)
  • seek patterns for salvation
  • self-scrutiny

9
Puritan writings and literature
  • NOT an imaginative literature, but
  • history
  • annals
  • travel record
  • scientific observation
  • diary
  • sermon
  • meditation
  • elegy

10
Magnalia Christi Americana
11
Cotton Mather 1633-1728
  • Advocate of the plaine style but his book
    exhibits
  • elaborate imagery
  • prose rhythm
  • complex metaphor
  • scriptural analogy
  • only apparently naïve and devoid of eloquence

12
Platonism and Puritanism
  • Platonism
  • the word is a reflection of pure idea
  • Puritanism
  • word and world reflect divine things, coherent
    systems, and transcendental meaning

13
Puritan influences
  • a group of good qualities hard work, thrift,
    piety, sobriety (serious and thoughtful)
    influenced American literature
  • it led to the everlasting myth
  • All literature is based on a myth Garden of
    Eden
  • symbolism distinctly American

14
poetry
  • doggerel
  • verse anagrams
  • acrostics
  • riddles
  • epitaphs and elegies

15
Ann Bradstreet
  • I am obnoxious to each carping tongue
  • Who says my hand a needle better fits,
  • A Poet's pen all scorn I should thus wrong
  • For such despite they cast on Female wits
  • If what I doe prove well, it wont advance,
  • Theyll say its stolne, or else it was by
    chance
  • (1650)

16
Narratives
  • adventure stories but still with a focus on
    transcendental meaning
  • the captivity narrative sermon, moral lesson,
    revelatory history, the precursor of later
    sensationalist fiction and gothic tale
  • the Indians were the devils

17
Cpt. John Smith Pocahontas
18
John Smith
  • What so truly suits with honor and honesty as
    the discovering things unknown erecting towns,
    peopling countries, informing the ignorant,
    reforming things unjust, teaching virtue and
    again to our native country a kingdom to attend
    her
  • ( A description of New England, 1616)

19
The Puritan quest
  • NOT to know the land but to redeem it
  • the negative legacy of puritan writing and
    ideology of redemption consisted of belatedness
  • they were late in acquiring what the Indians
    already possessed
  • the ability to bathe in, to explore always more
    deeply, to see, to feel, to touch the wild
    beauty of the New World (William Carlos
    Williams, in his anti-puritan In the American
    Grain, 1925)
  • the Indian qualities regarding American landscape
    and nature were appropriated by later writers
    beginning with transcendentalists such as Henry
    David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman

20
criticisms
  • failure to open out to experience or the
    ambiguity of the symbol
  • lack of inclusiveness
  • dull response to the world of nature
  • rigorous moralism
  • Anglo-Saxonism

21
awakening
  • Puritanism
  • tradition
  • unquestioning religious dogma
  • monarchy
  • Enlightenment
  • New Thought
  • rationality
  • scientific inquiry
  • representative government

22
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
  • puritan preacher and idealist
  • introduced typology in his studies of nature and
    influenced a number of writers in the Romantic
    and transcendentalist period

23
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
  • political man and materialist
  • a secularized puritan
  • introduced the idea that the American is a new man

24
Henri de Crèvcoeur (1735-1813)
  • What then is the American, this new man?...He is
    an American, who, leaving behind him all his
    ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones
    from the new mode of life he has embraced, the
    new government he obeys, and the new rank he
    holds the American is a new man, who acts on new
    principles he must therefore entertain new
    ideas, and form new opinions

25
Franklin the New Man
  • inventions bifocals, the stove, the lightning
    rod, discovery of electricity, understanding of
    earthquakes and ocean currents
  • editor Poor Richards Almanack (a farmers how
    to manual)
  • negotiates the peace treaty with Britain,
    drafting the declaration of independence and
    constitution
  • 1st postmaster general
  • ambassador to France
  • moves with ease from resolution to humility as
    his aphorisms show
  • on resolution resolve to perform what you
    ought perform without fail what you resolve
  • on frugality waste nothing
  • on industry lose no time be always employed in
    something useful
  • on humility imitate Jesus and Socrates

26
Legacy of Puritanism
  • Passed values to future generations
  • 1. Prudence - clear thinking
  • not making emotional decisions
  • Biblical direction
  • 2. Thrift
  • a penny saved is a penny earned
  • Ben Franklin's "waste not - want not"
  • 3. Discipline - self discipline
  • moderation
  • 4. Hard work is rewarded
  • idle hands are the devil's workshop

27
The Enlightenment
  • neo-classical era
  • took place from 1700-1820
  • was a reaction to the excesses of Puritanism
  • believed in the power of the mind to overcome
    lifes difficulties rather than grace
  • moved away formal communal based society to one
    that emphasized individualism

28
Thinkers of the Enlightenment
  • believed that the individuals should be balanced
    in their life
  • believed that through reason the whole universe
    could be understood
  • science can help answer the questions about the
    universe (this is the era of Newton)
  • believed that human beings relate to each other
    because of shared experiences, not faith

29
forms of expression
  • newpapers
  • satires
  • pamphlets
  • political poems
  • drama
  • the rise of the novel

30
things to look for
  • inference
  • parallelism
  • personification
  • aphorisms (of Franklin)

31
Philip Freneau 1752-1832
  • America was on the doorstep of epic change
  • revolution signaled the coming of the muses
  • the dawn of a golden age of liberty
  • enlightenment
  • artistic deliverance

32
Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
  • I do not believe in the creed professed by the
    Jewish church, by the roman church, by the Greek
    church, by the protestant church, nor by any
    church that I know of. My own mind is my own
    church

33
American History Timeline
  • animated atlas
  • colonial era and revolutionary war
  • American memory timeline

34
The Female American
35
Unca Eliza WinkfieldThe Female American
  • Appeared in 1767
  • Published in London
  • Published in America in 1790 and 1814

36
(No Transcript)
37
reviews
  • The Monthly Review or Literary Journal, vol. 36
    (1767) 238
  • A sort of second Robinson Crusoe full of
    wonders and well calculated to make one sort of
    readers stare

38
reviews
  • The Critical Review or Annals of Literature vol.
    23 (1767) 217
  • Mrs. Unca Eliza Winkfield is a most strange
    adventurer, and her memoirs seem to be calculated
    only for the wild Indians to whom she is so
    closely allied. We could therefore have wished,
    as well for her sake as our own, that this lady
    had published her adventures at the Fall of
    Niagara, or upon the Banks of Lake Superior, as
    she would then, probably, have received the most
    judicious and sincere applause from her
    enlightened countrymen and princely relations,
    and have saved us six hours very disagreeable
    employment.

39
title page
  • the narrative chronicles the adventures of Unca
    Eliza Winkfield
  • compiled by herself
  • anonymous author
  • no evidence regarding the gender of the author
    to what extent has this novel been written by a
    man or a woman?

40
tremaine mcdowell
  • The first novel to introduce the South American
    Indian into the North American novel
  • The first American Robinson Crusoe
  • The first close imitation of any English
    novelist done by an American hand
  • (American Literature, 1929)

41
similarities with Crusoe
  • novel of wanderlust (extraordinary adventures)
  • shipwreck and adventure
  • both protagonists are castaways on an island
  • both endure physical and psychological trials
  • both survive and prosper
  • both become ill but overcome illness (also by
    praying)
  • both survey the island from atop
  • both experience hurricanes and an earthquake
  • both use the goats
  • both ascribe their experience to providence

42
differences Eliza
  • biracial
  • multilingual
  • boasts a transnational heritage
  • takes on several identities ? evolves
  • obedient to her father
  • interprets the shipwreck as sign of undeserved
    fate
  • avoids engaging in tasks that require masculine
    knowledge

43
differences Crusoe
  • disobeys the father
  • sees the shipwreck as sign of punishment
  • spends years fortifying his place on the island
  • offers elaborate descriptions of everything that
    he does and invents
  • kills other men

44
setting
  • shifts between representations of paradise
    (home)? the unfamiliar island (place of
    confinement) ? familiar island (home)
  • the house of her father
  • the island
  • the Indian mainland
  • England ? place of estrangement
  • Exchanges daughter?woman?prophet?godess?missionar
    y?wife

45
themes
  • Survival
  • Dedication/Education
  • Power
  • related to voice the idol is a symbol and a
    literal representation of the narrators
    anonymity and power
  • masking and controlling
  • establishes the dominant speaking subject
  • the discourse is essentialist (there is only one
    God, one Truth, one Reality)
  • Renunciation
  • Texts
  • manuscripts
  • Defoes book
  • The Bible
  • intertexts (allusions to reports, the Pocahontas
    myth)

46
context
  • Colonialism
  • in the colonial discourse identities are invented
    and imagined
  • Christianity (SPG)
  • romantic primitivism

47
narrative structure/style/tone
  • 1st person narrative
  • 3 parts
  • dialogue within dialogue (final pages)
  • incoherence
  • a reflection of Uncas self-sustained authority
  • breakups
  • uses the idol to create a dramatic scene
  • the tone is melodramatic
  • silence

48
The Female American follows in the footsteps of
Robinson Crusoe, yet makes its own imprints
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