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American Literature Periods

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Marcelo Krenz

on 4 May 2014

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Transcript of American Literature Periods

Major Writers or Works
Marcelo Krenz

American Literature Periods
Native-American Literature, c.20,000B.C.E.- Present
The literature is as diverse as the cultures that created it, but there are often common elements such as stories explaining creation or natural forces.
Oral narratives:
Myths; legends; songs; creation of stories from groups passed down by word of mouth from generation to generation.
Exploration Period, 1492-1607
- The first European writings about North America are written in this period.

- European writings describe the explorers' travels and impressions of the continent and its Native people.
Major Writers or Works
Christopher Columbus, Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, Bernal Diaz del Castillo, Thomas Harriot, and Samuel de Champlain.

Oral narratives:
Seneca legend "How America was Discovered."
Colonial/Puritan Period, 1607 - 1765
The Colonial period was dominated by Puritan beliefs and thus Literature is usually historical, religious, or didactic.

The most common genres were tracts, polemics, journals, narratives, sermons, and some poetry.

The first slave narratives were written at this time.

Imaginative literature was rare; in some colonies, it was banned for being immoral.
Major Writers or Works
Revolutionary Period or Age of Reason, 1765-1790
This period begins with the passing of
the Stamp Act
in England.

The Revolutionary period usually refers to writings that are politically motivated, either in support of British rule, in support of American patriotism and independence, or relating to the Constitution.
Stamp Act 1765
imposed a direct tax by the British Parliament specifically on the colonies of British America, and it required that many printed materials in the colonies be produced on stamped paper produced in London, carrying an embossed revenue stamp. These printed materials were legal documents, magazines, playing cards, newspapers and many other types of paper used throughout the colonies.
Major Writers or Works
Prose Drama Verse and Ballads
Romantic Period, 1800-1865
The Romantic period covers the period between Jacksonian democracy to the end of the Civil War.

Many of American literature's most well-known writers emerged during this time.

Issues and subjects addressed in the literature of this time covered from the American identity, to the slavery debate, to historical narratives, to poems and narratives inspired by romanticism, to prose works examining national unity.
Major Writers or Works
Poetry Prose Narratives Novels Drama
Transcendentalism investigated the relationship between nature, humanity, society, and the divine.
Realism, 1865-1900
The post-Civil War period was an era of increased industrialization and urbanization as the nation attempted to recover emotionally, culturally, and politically from the war.
Social realism: aims to change a specific social problem
Aesthetic realism: art that insists on detailing the world as one sees it

Major Writers or Works

Poetry Prose Novels
Naturalism 1900-1914
Naturalism claimed to give a more realistic depiction of contemporary life.
Civil War brought a demand for a more accurate type of literature that does not idealize people or places
It tended to see people as unfortunate victims of immutable natural laws.
Modern Period, 1914-1939
An age of disillusionment and confusion, which covers a period in-between wars.

The authors during this period raised all the great questions of life…but offered no answers. Faulkner, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Frost are all examples.
Harlem Renaissance, 1920s and 1930s
Part of the Modern Age, The Harlem Renaissance, which occurred during the 1920’s, was a time of African American artistic creativity centered in Harlem, in New York City.
Uses structure of blues songs in poetry (repetition)
Gave birth to "gospel music"
Writers of the Harlem Renaissance include Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes, and Arna Bontemps.
Lost Generation, 1920s
After WWI, a group of American writers grew increasingly disillusioned by, and resistant to, what they saw as hypocrisy in dominant American ideology and culture.
Many of these writers left America in search of a more artistic life in London or Paris.
Postmodern or Contemporary, 1940-present
It differs from Modernism by blurring the conventional boundary between "high" and "low" culture
it claims that search for reality is pointless, as the "real" is conditioned by time, place, race, class, gender, and sexuality.
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