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American Literary Timeline
Transcript of American Literary Timeline
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. The Age of Reason 1800-1840 Romanticism Pilgrims
Landless peasants WHY? to escape religious persecution
open land = opportunity 1710-1850 "What does it mean to be an American?" -Product of European Enlightenment
-Movement away from Puritan dominance
i.e. that people are, by nature, "good" Historical Background WHEN? Claimed to be "the most influential American writer of the 19th century" May 25th, 1803 - April 27th, 1882 the early 1600s -Thomas Paine, "The Age of Reason" "It is only by the exercise of reason that man can discover God." 1) The American Revolution
2) Expansion of Colonies
3) Development of American Government Structure Effects WHERE? -1706-1790
"The Autobiography" Benjamin Franklin Jamestown St. Augustine Plymouth and
Massachusetts Bay WHO? -Benjamin Franklin, "The Autobiography" "And for the support of this declaration we mutually pledge to each other our lives our futures, and our sacred honor." Challenges to the "perfect" (cc) image by nuonsolarteam on Flickr Thomas Jefferson "we hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"
-The Declaration of Independence EyewitnessAccounts Author of "Self-Reliance" and "Nature" Native Americans Disease Social Conflict Themes Supernatural • Used to shock and entertain
• makes the reader uncomfortable
• "The school-house being deserted, soon fell to decay, and was reported to be haunted by the ghost of the unfortunate pedagogue; and the ploughboy, loitering homeward of a still summer evening, has often fancied his voice at a distance, chanting a melancholy psalm tune among the tranquil solitudes of Sleepy Hollow." (The legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving) Sanity • The internal struggle of good vs. evil
• The place of irrationality, violence, and repression in human consciousness.
• “TRUE! - nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses - not destroyed - not dulled them.”
Revolting against rationalism
by turning to emotions
and senses over
reason and intellect Starvation Authors G o t h i c writing Edgar Allan Poe
January 19, 1809-October 7, 1849
From Boston, MA Washington Irving
(April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859)
From New York City, NY -1743-1826 We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
The Declaration of Independence Themes Religion THEMES Challenges William Bradford 1590-1657 ~first governor of Plymouth Plantation
~the pilgrims were separatists
wanted to create a whole new church, not reform it ~was also head of the judicial system, regulated land, farming and commerce "a person for study as well as action...the crown of all his life was his holy, prayerful, and fruitful walk with God..."
- Cotton Mather about William Bradford Of Plymouth Plantation ~account of crossing
~Indian attacks and peace "being infected with the scurvy and other diseases, which this long voyage and their inaccomodate condition had brought upon them; so as there died sometimes two or three of a day [in the first winter] that of one hundred and odd persons, scarce fifty remained." 1636-1711 Mary Rowlandson ~married to the minister of Lancaster ~taken captive by the Wampanoags during King Phillip's War "Their first coming was about sunrising; hearing the noise of some guns, we looked out; several houses were burning and the smoke ascending to heaven. There were five persons taken in one house; the father, the mother and suckling child; they knocked on the head; the other two they took and carried away alive." Stressed individuality "The world is all gates, all opportunities,
strings of tension waiting to be struck."
-Emerson The Lone Hero Ahab RALPH WALDO EMERSON "The world is all gates, all opportunities,
strings of tension waiting to be struck." -Emerson The return to nature
belief of goodness
in society Herman Melville 1819-1891 "It was a sight full of quick wonder and awe! The vast swells of the omnipotent sea; the surging, hollow roar they made, as they rolled along the eight gunwales, like gigantic bowls in a boundless bowling-green; the brief suspended agony of the boat, as it would tip for an instant on the knife-like edge of the sharper waves, that almost seemed threatening to cut it in two; the sudden profound dip into the watery glens and hollows; the keen spurrings and goadings to gain the top of the opposite hill; the headlong, sled-like slide down its other side;- all these, with the cries of the headsmen and harpooneers, and the shuddering gasps of the oarsmen, with the wondrous sight of the ivory Pequod bearing down upon her boats with outstretched sails, like a wild hen after her screaming brood;- all this was thrilling."
-Herman Melville's Moby Dick James Fenimore Cooper 1789-1851
-The Declaration of Independence Natty Bumppo "It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation" "Should we distrust the man because his manners are not our manners, and that his skin is dark?" new ways of thinking,
enlightenment thinkers better understanding of man vs. God ...of literature during the age of reason expressed
nonconformity, self-reliance, and anti-institutionalism themes authors demonstrated
a greater understanding