Chapter One Early American and Colonial Period to American literature begins with the orally transmitted myths, legends, tales, and lyrics always songs of Indian cultures. There was no written literature among the more than different Indian languages and tribal cultures that existed in North America before the first Europeans arrived. As a result, Native American oral literature is quite diverse.
Bring fact-checked results to the top of your browser search. The 18th century In America in the early years of the 18th century, some writers, such as Cotton Mathercarried on the older traditions. His huge history and biography of Puritan New EnglandMagnalia Christi Americana, inand his vigorous Manuductio ad Ministerium, or introduction to the ministry, inwere defenses of ancient Puritan convictions.
He supported his claims by relating them to a complex metaphysical system and by reasoning brilliantly in clear and often beautiful prose. But Mather and Edwards were defending a doomed cause. Samuel Sewall heralded other changes in his amusing Diary, covering the years — Though sincerely religious, he showed in daily records how commercial life in New England replaced rigid Puritanism with more worldly attitudes.
She wrote vividly of what she saw and commented upon it from the standpoint of an orthodox believer, but a quality of levity in her witty writings showed that she was much less fervent than the Pilgrim founders had been. In the South, William Byrd of Virginiaan aristocratic plantation owner, contrasted sharply with gloomier predecessors.
His record of a surveying trip inThe History of the Dividing Line, and his account of a visit to his frontier properties inA Journey to the Land of Eden, were his chief works. Years in England, on the Continent, and among the gentry of the South had created gaiety and grace of expression, and, although a devout Anglican, Byrd was as playful as the Restoration wits whose works he clearly admired.
The wrench of the American Revolution emphasized differences that had been growing between American and British political concepts.
But two figures loomed above these— Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine. Title page for Poor Richard's almanac forwritten, printed, and sold by Benjamin Franklin. Thomas Paine went from his native England to Philadelphia and became a magazine editor and then, about 14 months later, the most effective propagandist for the colonial cause.
His pamphlet Common Sense January did much to influence the colonists to declare their independence. The American Crisis papers December —December spurred Americans to fight on through the blackest years of the war.
Such white and black picturings were highly effective propaganda. Title page from Thomas Paine's pamphlet Common Sense, Library of Congress, Washington, D. The new nation In the postwar period some of these eloquent men were no longer able to win a hearing.
Thomas Paine and Samuel Adams lacked the constructive ideas that appealed to those interested in forming a new government.
Others fared better—for example, Franklin, whose tolerance and sense showed in addresses to the constitutional convention. A different group of authors, however, became leaders in the new period— Thomas Jefferson and the talented writers of the Federalist papersa series of 85 essays published in and urging the virtues of the proposed new constitution.
More distinguished for insight into problems of government and cool logic than for eloquence, these works became a classic statement of American governmental, and more generally of republican, theory.
At the time they were highly effective in influencing legislators who voted on the new constitution. Hamilton, who wrote perhaps 51 of the Federalist papers, became a leader of the Federalist Party and, as first secretary of the treasury —95wrote messages that were influential in increasing the power of national government at the expense of the state governments.
Thomas Jefferson was an influential political writer during and after the war. The most memorable American poet of the period was Philip Freneauwhose first well-known poems, Revolutionary War satires, served as effective propaganda; later he turned to various aspects of the American scene.
Drama and the novel In the years toward the close of the 18th century, both dramas and novels of some historical importance were produced. This drama was full of echoes of Goldsmith and Sheridan, but it contained a Yankee character the predecessor of many such in years to follow who brought something native to the stage.
William Hill Brown wrote the first American novel, The Power of Sympathywhich showed authors how to overcome ancient prejudices against this form by following the sentimental novel form invented by Samuel Richardson.
A flood of sentimental novels followed to the end of the 19th century.2 UNIT 4, THE SPIRIT OF NATIONALISM Authors and Works Featured in the Video: Margaret Fuller, “The Great Lawsuit” (essay), “Auto- thology of American Literature, and explored related archival materials on the American PassagesWeb site, they should be able to.
Transcendentalism is an American literary, political, and philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century, centered around Ralph Waldo Emerson. Other important transcendentalists were Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Amos Bronson . From a literary standpoint, the autobiographical narratives of former slaves comprise one of the most extensive and influential traditions in African American literature and culture.
Until the Depression era slave narratives outnumbered novels written by African Americans. The greatest essays and speeches by British and American authors include literary treasures from Mark Twain, Virginal Woolf, H.G. Wells and others. Nov 26, · American literature essay prompts.
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In Modernist literature, it was the poets who took fullest advantage of the new spirit of the times, and stretched the possibilities of their craft to lengths not previously imagined.
In general, there was a disdain for most of the literary production of the last century.