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History%20of%20American%20Literature

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Title: History%20of%20American%20Literature


1
History of American Literature
2
Pre-Columbian Culture
  • While a rich and varied culture existed in
    America prior to European colonization, this is
    NOT the origins of the established tradition of
    American Literature

3
American Literature Origins
  • American Literature stems from the meeting
    between the land with its usually despised
    Indians and the discoverers who left developed,
    literate Renaissance Europe.

4
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5
New World invented in Europe
  • Before the New World was discovered and
    colonized, it was invented.
  • America fit into beliefs such as Atlantis,
    Avalon, Canaan, Eden, Cities of Gold, fountain of
    Youth.

6
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7
Prior to American Settlement
  • Reports of explorers were combined with
    pre-existing ideas of the idealized vision of the
    new World

8
Early reports influenced
  • Montaigne, Of Cannibals
  • Shakespeare, The Tempest
  • Donne, Elegy 19 To His Mistress Going to Bed
  • Marvell, Bermuda

9
Modern Authors Revisit This
  • Lispector in The Smallest Woman in the World is
    an example of a modern author who critiques the
    dynamic of colonialism.

10
Settlement in America
  • Once there became an actual settled America, the
    imaginary story began to change.

11
John Smith Myth Breaker/Creator
Pocohontas Myth of The Noble and
Remediable Savage.
  • Smith dispels some of the myths about America but
    creates others.
  • Gave British names to land.
  • Author of 1st English book written in America.

12
Pilgrim Fathers
  • Another kind of American founding narrative.
  • The Bible, especially Genesis and Exodus, shape
    the Puritans vision of the New World.

13
William Bradford
  • Mayflower passenger list from of Plymouth
    Plantation
  • His diary was a record of how Gods will shaped
    history.
  • All events were interpreted to decide whether the
    events are determined by God or Satan.

14
Puritan Style
  • Determination to use the plaine style, with
    singular record unto the simple truth in all
    things.
  • Development of metaphor/allegory in connecting
    daily events to the Divine
  • Literary genres history, travel narrative,
    diary, sermon, etc. (not fiction which was deemed
    frivolous).

15
Jeremiad Prolonged Lamentation or Complaint
  • Ideals for new community vs. reality
  • As time passes, the Puritan community shows the
    inevitable failure of ordinary men to truly live
    like saints.

16
New England Settled
  • By the end of the 17th c. New England was a
    dense, settled culture, very bookish, led by
    ministers.
  • Close contact with English and European thought.
  • Deliberately excluded those that did not connect
    with their ideals other religions, Native
    Americans, Blacks

17
Ann Hutchinson on trial.
18
The Scarlet Letter
  • Hawthorne, in his 1850 novel, returns to the
    Puritan world.
  • Puritan society vs. the world of nature.
  • Idea that the Puritan spirit has not died.

19
Awakening and Enlightenment
  • 18th c. period of major change in American
    ideas/ideals
  • Puritan ideals refashioned in response to
    intellectual and scientific questions of the Age
    of Reason

20
European ideas applied to America
  • Age of Enlightenment
  • Move from rigid theology to Deism
  • Emphasis on natural science and inductive
    reasoning
  • Liberalism

21
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22
J. Edwards vs. B. Franklin
  • Older metaphysical Puritan ideas vs. Yankee
    practicality and ingenuity.

23
Jonathan Edwards
  • Edwards wanted to make Puritanism vibrant for the
    18th century and to re-establish its main
    doctrines on sound philosophical basis.
  • Emotional power of his sermons helped spark the
    Great Awakening (late 1730s)

24
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25
Enlightenment side of Edwards
  • He was interested in science and the observation
    of the natural world.
  • He died at age 55 from smallpox inoculation
    (meant to prove his faith in science).

26
B. Franklin this quote fits him
  • He is an American, who, leaving behind all his
    ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones
    from the mode of life he has embraced, the new
    government he obeys, and the new rank he
    holdsThe American is a new man, who acts on new
    principles he must therefore entertain new
    ideas, and form new opinions.
  • --Crevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer

27
Secularized Puritan Conscience
  • Self help and individual progress moral
    perfection vs. spiritual enlightenment
  • He was Puritan in his self-scrutiny and desire to
    improve himself.

28
Revolutionary Years
  • Discourse before the 1776 Revolution called forth
    the language of politics rooted in ancient Greek
    and Roman states.

29
John Locke
  • Lockes Two Treatises of Government was the
    underpinning for
  • Political debate on the rights and
    responsibilities of citizens and limits and
    proper obligations of governments.
  • Did it also inspire Lisa Simpson as she holds the
    Model U.N. Charter?

30
Americans again ask themselves
  • This is a second birth for Americans, as they
    wonder
  • What is the meaning of
  • our errand in America?

31
Thomas Jefferson
  • The Declaration of Independence
  • Major act of intellectual endeavor
  • Faith in the power of pubic speech to govern
    sensible men of good will.

32
Thomas Paine
  • Invited by Franklin to leave England and settle
    in Pennsylvania
  • Common Sense 1776 gives reasons for
    separation from Britain.
  • The American Crisis 1776-1783. Series of 16
    pamphlets which spoke directly to current
    military situation.

33
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34
Washington Irving
  • As his name suggests, he was a child of the
    revolution. He published first American literary
    folktale, Rip Van Winkle, on topic of American
    independence from Britain.

35
Revolution through the 1820s
  • A time of new nationalism, dominated by practical
    and political issues (not ideal for creative
    imagination).
  • At the same time, there is the desire for a truly
    American literature.

36
Romanticism in Europe
  • Meanwhile, from Europe came Romanticism, a
    literary movement that emphasized
  • heightened interest in nature
  • emphasis on the individual's expression of
    emotion and imagination
  • departure from the attitudes and forms of
    classicism
  • rebellion against established social rules and
    conventions.

37
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
The novel of Dr. Frankensteins Hubris is an
example of Transcendentalism.
38
American Naissance
  • America begins to come to maturity in art and
    culture with the fabulous five
  • Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville and Whitman.

39
Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • His book Nature pubished in 1836 is seen as the
    start of Transcendentalism and a uniquely
    American literary style
  • The Divinity School Address gives notice of his
    grievances with the established church.

40
Changing view of Nature
  • The Puritans saw nature as wicked and
    threatening, a place where the devil might live.
  • Emerson believed God made nature as a hieroglyph
    of his spiritual world.
  • Nature was not a force to be dominated, but
    something to speak to ones soul.

41
Thoreau--Walden or Life in the Woods
  • During Thoreaus stay at Walden Pond, his
    observations of nature and his thoughts, become
    an important Transcendentalist text.

42
Dark Transcendentalists
  • Edgar Allen Poe, Hawthorne and Melville are also
    influenced by Romanticism and Transcendentalism,
    but they have a darker outlook on life.

43
Edgar Allen Poe
  • Like Emerson, he was a symbolist
  • However his imagination is more decadent with no
    secure and redemptive mystery beyond everyday
    reality.

44
The Fall of the House of Usher
  • The decadent imagination is clearly shown in the
    gruesome tale of an entombed twin in a decaying,
    incestuous family!

45
1840s Rise of novel in Europe
  • In Europe, writers such as Dickens and Balzac
    were perfecting the art of the novel.
  • In America, Hawthorne and Melville were also
    developing this form.

46
Herman Melville
  • His symbolic inclination and philosophical scope
    are shown in Moby Dick
  • Bartleby the Scrivener shows a displaced person
    thrown into a harsh world of alienating social
    forces (anticipating later trends in American
    literature and society).

47
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48
Abolitionist Voices
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,
    1845, powerful and deeply felt reversal of the
    conventional images of slave existence and
    sensibility.

49
Civil War and aftermath
  • Esteemed novelists such as Twain and James had
    little direct participation in the war.
  • However, war was fully recorded in memoir and
    letters.
  • The upheaval forced language to new Realism.
  • Old eloquence New plainspokeness

50
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51
Abraham Lincoln
  • In his Second Inaugural Address, Lincoln
    attempts to unify the nation, while also hinting
    at the true causes of the war.

52
Regionalism/Realism
  • Regionalism escape from East Coast domination.
  • Sentimentalized American past that was fading.
  • Gave voice to new aspects of American life
    immigrants, Blacks, experiences of women.

53
Kate Chopin
  • Stories of New Orleans such as The Storm
  • Best known for analytical study of womens
    suffering in The Awakening

54
Mark Twain
  • Gift of humor and moral skepticism in Adventures
    of Huckleberry Finn (1885).

55
Henry James Realism
  • Daisy Miller is typical in its interest in
    contrasting European and American manners and
    customs.

56
Muckrakers and Early Moderns
  • Europe in the 1890s fundamental change of
    mood.
  • The great task of our time is to blow up all
    existing institutionsto destroy. Ibsen
    (playwrite)

57
Class Conflict
  • The rise of wealthy industrialists with great
    commercial empires was met with strikes and riots
    of class conflict.

58
Naturalism
  • Old standards of genteel morality have no place.
  • Our world is determined by mans biology,
    evolutionary process, and the impersonal
    machine-like operations of society.

59
Stephen Crane
  • Stephen Cranes The Open Boat is an example of
    Naturalism.

60
Plagiarism Alert
  • The ideas for this presentation, as well as some
    of the direct wording, were taken from Ruland and
    Bradburys From Puritanism to Postmodernism A
    History of American Literature.

61
I Cant Believe that its finally over!
  • Heres a really nice present for listening
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