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American History and Literary Movements: An Overview

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Title: American History and Literary Movements: An Overview


1
American History and Literary Movements An
Overview
  • By
  • Jodi Smith
  • PNHS 2006-2007

2
Let there be light!
  • Enlightenment (1607-1800)
  • The Age of Faith (1607-1750)
  • Grew out of the Protestant Reformation (1517)
  • Anglo-American style Puritans Pilgrims (Work
    Ethic!!!)
  • Genre/styles Sermons, diaries, personal
    narratives instructive and plain in style (Watch
    for this influence in this years readings)
  • Examples Sinners in the Hands of an Angry
    God Of Plymouth Plantation

3
The Rise of Reason (Light, pt. 2)
  • Age of Reason (1750-1800)
  • Second phase of the American version of the
    Enlightenment
  • American Revolution VERY IMPORTANT as part of a
    philosophical/political shift
  • Genre/Style political still instructive, but
    no longer plain in style (think persuasion!)

4
The heart has its reasons that Reason knows not
of
  • Romanticism (1800-1855)
  • Reaction to Reason (Europedisillusionment with
    French Revolution Americantime of promise)
  • Industrial Revolution Abolitionist Movement
  • Genre/Style poetry, novels imagination/intuitio
    n over rationalism spiritual elements focus on
    emotions (What else would you expect of
    Romantics? ?)
  • Examples The Scarlet Letter, Walt Whitmans
    poetry

5
Transcendentalism Romanticism for One, Please
  • Stress on intuition continues but is applied to
    individualism, self-reliance (recognize a
    defining characteristic of American culture???)
  • Examples Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David
    Thoreau

6
American Gothic The Dark Side of Individualism
  • Pronounced supernatural elements (stark contrast
    to Transcendentalism)
  • Individual no longer all-powerful he/she is at
    the mercy of uncontrollable forces beyond
    understanding
  • Characters are not all-good or all-bad

7
Keepin it real
  • Realism (1865-1915)carries American culture from
    the end of the Civil War to the Great War (WWI)
  • Civil War brings a certain cynicism true
    literature that does not idealize
  • Social focus on class IR and Darwin bring about
    materialistic philosophy BUT
  • Changing times bring desire to preserve
    Regionalism (East vs. Midwest vs. South, etc.)
  • Reaction against Romanticism

8
Realistic Characters Got Style
  • Ordinary people (What does this tell you about
    the audience? About social changes?)
  • Heroes reject class system
  • Nature is all-powerful (not God, Reason, or the
    Individual)
  • Examples Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe

9
Naturalism (Hippie Ancestors?)
  • Form of Realism attacks Traditionalism in
    general (i.e., organized religion, patriotism)
    and embraces Meaninglessness
  • Highly image-laden rather than allegory/symbol-lad
    en (photo rather than complex painting)
  • Examples Stephen Crane, Jack London

10
Modernism Leaving those things which are behind
  • IRs affects felt across the social spectrum
    fear of future/loss of past
  • WWI mass destruction first truly dehumanizing
    war (man as machine)
  • Rise of youth culture first optimism (going into
    war), then alienation (after war)
  • Style experimental, deliberately artistic
    (fragments, stream of consciousness, etc.)
  • Examples Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck

11
Multicultural Modernism The Harlem Renaissance
  • Distinctive Black Cultural movement art,
    literature, and music from the perspective of
    African Americans
  • Examples Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, Zora
    Neale Hurston

12
Contemporary Literature Talkin bout My
Generation
  • 1945-present You define it
  • Media-saturation What effect does this have on
    perceptions, daily life, etc?
  • Tradition/Absolutes Do they exist? Who
    determines them?
  • Prosperity What effect has this had on social
    attitudes/actions?
  • Genres/Styles Given the above, what would you
    expect with regard tofacts/fiction?...heroes/vill
    ians?...community?
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