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The Movements of American Literature

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Anthony Washinton

on 6 May 2011

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Transcript of The Movements of American Literature

The Movements of American Literature Colonialism < 1620s When Christopher Columbus discovered America and then the British came over and kicked the natives out of the land. They had to build a new government that was similar too the one they had over in Europe. So this was the start of the “New World”.
Puritanism 1620s-1783 Different forms of writing: histories, diaries, chronicles, poetry, and few sermons: explanation of biblical quotation, interpretation, and application to the life of the colony.
“Puritan Plain Style” which was simple language, and everyday events, objects.
Literal truth substituted with potential symbolic lesson.
Writing should have a practical purpose.
Belief in America being the “promised land” and Americans being the “chosen people.”
Enlightenment Romanticism 1820s-1861 Transcendentalism1835-1860 Realism 1860s-1890s Naturalism 1890s~>1950s Modernism 1914-1945 Contemporary Rational approach to the world belief in progress.
Pragmatism- truth, measured by prtical experience, and law of nature.
Deism- God created the world but has no influence on human lives.
Idealism- conviction of the universal sense of right and wrong; belief in essential goodness of man
Interest in human nature. Explored what it meant to be an american artist
Looked at american government and poltical problems
Influence of immigration, new customs and traditions
Power of nature
Individualism, emphasis on destructive effect of society on individual
Idealism
Not an optimistic vision of america; pictures of human frailty, weakness, limitation
Christianity a valuable source of symbols
belief that evili is just the absence of good
Critique of formalized church, faith must come from within A New England movement rooted in Romanticism and post-kantian idealism. Basically reigious, emphasized role and importance or individual conscience and value of intuition in matters of moral guidance and inspiration. Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Fuller.
Formalized religion
Literature viewed as divine spirit
A trust in the individual, democracy, possibility of continued change for the better
See beyond what is before our eyes, to see a deeper significance, a transcendent reality
Nature conceived of not as a machine but an organism, symbol and analogue of the mind
Spontaneous activity of the creative artist seen as the highest acheivement
Life presented with fidelity
Fidelity in presenting the inner workings of the mind
Analysis of thought and feeling
Function of environment in shaping the character
Set in present or recent past
Colloquial speech
Commonplace characters
Described the relationship between the economic transformation of America and its moral condition
Introduction of the different characters
-industrial workers and rural poor
-ambitious businessmen and vagrants
-prostitutes
-unheroic soilders
Rise of works in: sociology, philosophy, psychology Trend rather than a movement; never formalized nor dominated by the influence of a single writer
A more extreme, intensified version of realism
shows more unpleasant, ugly, shocking aspects of life
objective picture of reality viewed with scientific detachment
Dterminism- mans life is dominated by the forces he cannot control: biological instincts, social environment
struggle of the individual to adopt to the environment
Faith in society and art Construction out of fragments, collage technique, montage of images (cinema)
work structured as a quest for very coherence it seems to lack at the surface; order found in art (Porter), religion (Eliot)
Sense of discontinuity, harmony destroyed in WWI
Omission: of explanations, interpretations, connections, summaries, continuity
Experimentation with time: flashback, ;leaps to the future
Search for truth John Smith was born January 6, 1580 in Willoughby, Lincolnshire, England and he died on June 21, 1631, London) he was a English explorer and early leader of the Jamestown Colony. The first permanent English settlement in North America. Smith played an significant role as a cartographer and a prolific writer who depicted the natural abundance of the New World.
At the age of 16 and 17 when he was in battle, his creative writing ideas started to come out.
In europe where he fought for the Netherlands
He spent about two years reading classical military texts and studying horsemanship.
Smith became president of the Jamestown Colony on September 10, 1608.
He was also captured in 1607, and was brought in by the Emperor Powhatan Anne Bradstreet was born in 1612, Northampton, England. She died September 16, 1672, Andover, Massachusetts Bay Colony (U.S.A) one of the first poets to write English verse in the American colonies. Long considered primarily of historical interest, she won critical acceptance in the 20th century as a writer of enduring verse, particularly and for her sequence of religious poems, “Contemplations,” written for her family and not published until the mid-19th century.
Shewas the daughter of Thomas Dudley, chief steward to Theophilus Clinton, the Puritan Earl of Lincoln.
Married Simon Bradstreet when she was 16
two years later she, her husband and her parents went sailing with purtians. then settled around the Mass. Bay Thomas Jefferson (born April 2, 1743, Shadwell, Virginia [U.S.] He died July 4, 1826, Monticello, Virginia, U.S. draftsman of the Declaration of Independence of the United States
the nation's first secretary of state (1789–94)
second vice president (1797–1801)
as the third president (1801–09), the statesman responsible for the Louisiana Purchase.
An early advocate of total separation of church and state
he also was the founder and architect of the University of Virginia and the most American proponent of individual freedom as the core meaning of the American Revolution
aka "apostle of liberty,"
He was one of the writers for The Declaration of Independence which was one the most extrodinary documents to ever be written
This fits under the enlightment period because it was a steeping stone of the Enlightenment era which really supported the rational approach to the world, belief in progress as well as the interest in human nature.
which is considered Pragmatism.
"Declaration Of Independence" Margaret Fuller was born on May 23, 1810, in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. Feminist, writer, literary critic. Her father, Timothy Fuller, was a prominent Massachusetts lawyer-politician who was very disappointed that his child was not a boy
educated her rigorously in the classical curriculum
Sher didnt attend school until the age of 14 (1824–1826) and then returned to Cambridge and her course of reading.
Her intellectual precociousness gained her the acquaintance of various Cambridge intellectuals
but she was assertive and direct which put many people off.
Her father moved the family to a farm in Groton, Massachusetts, in 1833
where she found herself isolated and forced to help educate her siblings and run the household for her ailing mother.
one of her most popular works was the Woman of the Nineteenth Century which was basically her views on sexuality and how it should be looked at equally and on the individual. Not the gender.
To me this fits in this literary period because this period was around this time where sexuality was a big deal and that it was also where they look at the power of nature, the individual and how society had an destructive effect on the individual
Since this was just Fuller's thoughts it would be a story built around dreams.

Thoreau was born in 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts.
his family moved that following year
they returned in 1823.
he grew ambivalent about the village after reaching manhood, it remained his world but he never grew ambivalent about its lovely setting of woodlands, streams, and meadows.
He was the third child of a feckless small businessman named John Thoreau and his, talkative wife, Cynthia Dunbar Thoreau.
His parents sent him in 1828 to Concord Academy, where he impressed his teachers to the point where he was permitted to prepare for college.
graduating from the academy, he entered Harvard University in 1833.
good student
grad in middle ranks in the class of 1837
also was good friends with emerson
one of his most important and unforgettable stories would have to be walden which was basically about him being to attached to nature that he decided to go out there and try to understand what it mean to be human and really tried to find himself in it.
in doing so i think it really captured the over all concept of "a need to see beyond what is before our eyes, to see a deeper significance, a transcendent reality." also "Nature conceived of not as a machine but as an organism, symbol and analogue of the mind."
Kate Chopin was born Feb. 8, 1851, St. Louis, Mo, died Aug. 22, 1904, St. Louis)
she was an U.S. writer.
Chopin lived in Louisiana during her marriage and began to write after her husband's death.
A local colourist and interpreter of New Orleans culture, she foreshadowed later feminist themes.
Among her more than 100 short stories are “Désirée's Baby” and “Madame Celestin's Divorce.”
The Awakening (1899), a realistic novel about the sexual and artistic awakening of a young mother who abandons her family, was condemned for its sexual frankness but was later acclaimed.
in The Story of an Hour the main characters husband was reported dead but in fact he was not. since he was dead she never tried to remarry or get an divorce thus staying loyal to her husband which is an example of fidelity. it was just ordinary people living in an ordinary life.
commonplace characters Robert Frost
"My November Guest"
is tied into the fidelity presenting the inner workings of the mind
function of environment in shaping the character
commonplace characters

John Steinbeck was born Feb. 27, 1902, Salinas, California
died Dec. 20, 1968, New York,
American novelist, best known for The Grapes of Wrath (1939), which summed up the Great Depression decade and aroused widespread sympathy for the plight of migratory farmworkers.
Nobel Prize for Literature for 1962.
attended Stanford University, Stanford, California intermittently between 1920 and 1926
Before his books were successful, he spent considerable time supporting himself as a manual labourer while writing, and his experiences lent authenticity to his depictions of the lives of the workers in his stories.
one of his important works would have to be the book Of Mice and Men (1937) which was a story about too laborers that weren't remotely close to each other but yet found a way to form a remarkable bond betwen each other. Then one got out of line and had to be executed because of it.
to me this is an example of naturalism because it shows the unpleasant, ugly, shocking aspects of life by introducing all the other different characters in the story that all had different backgrounds.
story mainly sets around Determinism
struggle for the individual to adopt to the environment (Lennie & George)
-shows unpleasant, ugly, shocking aspects of life
-Determinism
-pessimism
-struggle for thr individual to adapt to the environment F. Scott Fitzgerald was born Sept. 24, 1896, St. Paul, Minn., died Dec. 21, 1940, Hollywood, California
American short-story writer and novelist famous for his depictions of the Jazz Age (the 1920s), his most brilliant novel being "The Great Gatsby" (1925).
His private life, with his wife, Zelda, in both America and France, became almost as celebrated as his novels.
Fitzgerald was the only son of an unsuccessful, aristocratic father and an energetic, provincial mother
author of “The Star-Spangled Banner,”
At both St. Paul Academy (1908–1910) and Newman School (1911–1913) he tried too hard and made himself unpopular,
close friends Edmund Wilson and John Peale Bishop
fell in love, ended up flunking out of Princeton and lost the girl
"The Great Gatsby" was about a man who seemed to have it all but one thing.. the girl to share all the riches with and trying to soe his royal oats with the world by having those extravigant parties.
this is an example of modernism by:
-world of random possibilites
-search for truth
-opposition to mass culture, belief that arts is for the elites
-fragments of popular culture dream imagery

Jonathan Edwards
"sinners in the hands of an angry god"
it was a new arguement in the on going theological debates
scaring the congregation back into the religious life (jeremaids)
frequent religious references
often plain style so that common people could understand. Flannery O'Connor was born on March 25, 1925, in Savannah, Georgia.
Flannery O'Connor is considered to be one of the greatest short story writers of the twentieth century.
She faced some hardships growing up
losing her father as a teenager.
He died of systemic lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune disease.
she attened University of Iowa for a masters degree in writing
" A Good Man Is Hard To Find"
-sense of history
-fascination with extreme and perverse incongruities of character and scene
-no engagement with the public and social happenings
Allen Ginsberg
"Howl"
-Spontaneity, opposition to constricting forms poetic and political
-rhetorical shock
-references to mythical religion



-exploration of fantasies and extrimedies of experiences
-myth, fantasy, fairy tale
-self conscious style
-the mirror effect-- a story within a story
-irony
-exaggeration, repetiton, unexspected view point, and dislocation



Nathaniel Hawthrone
"Ministers Black Veil"
-Literal truth substituted witj potential symbolic lesson
-Frequent religious references
-simple language Walt Whitman
"Drum Taps"
-a trust in individual, democracy, possibility of continued change for the better
-a need to see beyond what is before our eyes, to see a deeper significance, a transcendant reality
-spontaneous activity of the creative artist seen as the highest acheivement
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