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Copy of Copy of Evolution of American Literature

Evolution of American literature--"isms," themes, characteristics, etc.
by

tara neely

on 15 October 2015

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Transcript of Copy of Copy of Evolution of American Literature

Evolution of American Literature
Age of Reason
Romanticism
Dark Romanticism
Transcendentalism
Focus on balance/harmony in the universe
Nature is a healing spirit, worshiped as a deity
Hero is archetypal
brave
strong
just
ideal
Trickster is archetypal
causes chaos
ruled by self-gratification
outcast
Puritanism
Everyone is born evil
original sin
Only the "saved" go to heaven
Good works don't cut it
Evil is a constant and physical
prescence in the world
Purpose of literature is to
teach a moral/lesson
Villain (trickster/devil) causes
chaos to disrupt harmony
Sees signs/omens in the
natural world
Similarities between Native American Lit and Puritanism
Born with natural goodness
Possible to perfect human beings
Deism: clockmaker god left world
Laws of nature
Natural rights of man
Invention, science
Work ethic
Manifest Destiny
Similarities between Puritans and Rationalists
imagination
inspiration
idealism
Interest in the past
(antique and fanciful)
the mystery of the world
nature as a place where
self can fulfil potential
hated cities
artificial
healing, divine
traditional forms
archetypal hero & journey
People are ruled by emotion
not logic/reason
Native American Literature
Similarities between the Age of Reason
and Romanticism
traditional forms
nature governs life
idealistic about
future
church not necessary
to understand truth
dark mysteries of
human nature
destructive aspects
of heroes
revolutionary ideas alienate
people from society
Realism
Naturalism
Break from traditional forms
social activism
civil disobedience
Reach spirituality
through Oversoul
individual
nature
God
Self-reliance
individualism
simplicity = spiritual greatness
Similarities between Romanticism
and Transcendentalism
Nature is
deeply spiritual
Focus on emotions
Focus on the
fanciful
Similarities between Transcendentalists
and Realists
Focus on
social issues
Attention to detail
capture the world
through objective details
purpose of writing:
to instruct or entertain
not to self-examine
subject is common man
average, probable
vernacular
Darwinism
Survival of the fittest
Adaptation

Pessimistic determinism
No free will
Characters forced to struggle to survive
Degraded, turned into animals
Similarities between Realists and Naturalists
Attention to
realistic detail
Environment shapes
individual
Common man
as main character
The devil is everywhere!
Modernism
Harlem Renaissance
Post-Modernism
Similarities between
Realism/Naturalism
and Modernism

Similarities between Modernism
and the Harlem Renaissance
Similarities between Modernism
and Post-Modernism

discontinuous narrative
fragmentation, choppiness
stream of consciousness
alienation
longing for the past
escapism
technology is evil!
alienation
experimental form
juxtaposition and unconventional
use of metaphor
rejection of traditional values
double consciousness
jazz/blues influence
primitivism vs. culture
Richard Wright's "Black Boy"
direct/indirect reactions to racism
HR was a sub-genre
of Modernism

experimental form
The Beat Movement
The Confessional School
The Black Arts Movement
The New York School
metanarrative
taboo subjects
morals change over time
reaction to cookie-cutter 1950's
social issues
civil rights
feminism
rejecting boundaries between
"high" and "low" art
rejecting boundaries between
"high" and "low" art
celebrates incoherence of life
atheism
counterculture
break with tradition
alienation
Created by Mrs. Neely
How does contemporary American literature/culture
reflect these historical genres? What characteristics do
we still have from the Puritans? How have we moved
past the Post-Modernists? Etc.
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