Presentation on theme: "2015-4-171 American Literature During its early history, America was a series of British colonies on the eastern coast of the present-day United States."— Presentation transcript:
American Literature During its early history, America was a series of British colonies on the eastern coast of the present-day United States. Therefore, its literary tradition begins as linked to the broader tradition of English literature. However, unique American characteristics and the breadth of its production usually now cause it to be considered a separate path and tradition.
Colonial literature Topic 1: expedition, and extoll Some of the earliest forms of American literature were pamphlets and writings extolling the benefits of the colonies to both a European and colonist audience. Captain John Smith could be considered the first American author with his works: A True Relation of... Virginia... (1608) and The General Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles (1624). Other writers of this manner included Daniel Denton, Thomas Ashe, William Penn, George Percy, William Strachey, John Hammond, Daniel Coxe, Gabriel Thomas, and John Lawson.
Colonial literature Topic 2: religion The religious disputes that prompted settlement in America were also topics of early writing. A journal written by John Winthrop discussed the religious foundations of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Edward Winslow also recorded a diary of the first years after the Mayflower's arrival. Others like Roger Williams and Nathaniel Ward more fiercely argued state and church separation.
Colonial literature Topic 3: poetry Some poetry also existed. Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor are especially noted. Michael Wigglesworth wrote a best-selling poem, The Day of Doom, describing the time of judgment. Nicholas Noyes was also known for his doggerel verse.
Colonial literature Topic 4: conflicts Other late writings described conflicts and interaction with the Indians, as seen in writings by Daniel Gookin, Alexander Whitaker, John Mason, Benjamin Church, and Mary Rowlandson.
Colonial literature Topic 5: Revolution The revolutionary period also contained political writings, including those by colonists Samuel Adams, Josiah Quincy, John Dickinson, and Joseph Galloway. Two key figures were Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine. Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin are esteemed works with their wit and influence toward the formation of a budding American identity. Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense and The American Crisis writings are seen as playing a key role in influencing the political tone of the period.
Colonial literature Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Colonial literature Paine’s Common Sense and The American Crisis
Colonial literature Topic 6: the war During the revolution itself, poems and songs such as "Yankee Doodle" and "Nathan Hale" were popular. Major satirists included John Trumbull and Francis Hopkinson. Philip Morin Freneau also wrote poems about the war's course.
Colonial literature Yankee Doodle Yankee Doodle went to town riding on a pony ， Stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni. Yankee Doodle keep it up, Yankee Doodle dandy ！ Mind the music and the step and with the girls be handy. Father and I went down to camp along with Captain Gooding. There were all the men and boys as thick as hasty pudding. Yankee Doodle keep it up, Yankee doodle dandy ！ Mind the music and the step and with the girls be handy. And there was Captain Washington upon a slapping stallion. Giving orders to his men I guess there were a million. Yankee Doodle keep it up, Yankee Doodle dandy ！ Mind the music and the step and with the girls be handy. Yankee Doodle give a tune ， it comes in mighty handy. The enemy all runs away at Yankee Doodle dandy ！ Yankee Doodle keep it up, Yankee Doodle dandy ！ Mind the music and the step and with the girls be handy. 扬基歌 扬基 · 杜多进城，骑着一匹小马。 他帽子上插着翎毛，被人叫做纨绔子弟。 扬基 · 杜多，战斗吧！ 扬基 · 杜多，公子哥！ 听着音乐和着脚步同姑娘跳舞。 我和爸爸跟着古丁上尉来到军营， 见到人群熙熙攘攘，往来穿流不停。 扬基 · 杜多，战斗吧！ 扬基 · 杜多，公子哥！ 听着音乐和着脚步同姑娘跳舞。 看，上尉华盛顿骑在高大的骏马上， 向战士们发出命令，就走来了千军万马。 扬基 · 杜多，战斗吧！ 扬基 · 杜多，公子哥！ 听着音乐和着脚步同姑娘们跳舞。 扬基 · 杜多吹着曲子准备大显身手， 敌人见了扬基都会吓得屁滚尿流。 扬基 · 杜多，战斗吧！ 扬基 · 杜多，公子哥！ 听着音乐和着脚步同姑娘们跳舞。
Early U.S. literature Essay writings In the post-war period, The Federalist essays by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay prepresented a historical discussion of government organization and republican values. Thomas Jefferson’s United States Declaration of Independence, his influence on the Constitution, his autobiography, the Notes on the State of Virginia, and the mass of his letters have led to him being considered one of the most talented early American writers. Patrick Henry and James Otis are also valued for their political writings and orations.
Early U.S. literature First Novel The first American novel is sometimes considered to be William Hill Brown’s The Power of Sympathy (1789). It tells the love story of Ophelia, a woman who engaged in an affair with her brother in law, Martin, and eventually commits suicide.
Early U.S. literature With the War of 1812 and an increasing desire to produce uniquely American work, a number of key new literary figures appeared, perhaps most prominently Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, and Edgar Allan Poe. Irving, often considered the first writer to develop a unique American style, wrote humorous works in Salmagundi and the well-known satire A History of New York, by Diedrich Knickerbocker (1809). Cooper’s Leatherstocking tales about Natty Bumppo were popular both in the new country and abroad. In 1832, Poe began writing short stories, including The Masque of the Red Death, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Fall of the House of Usher, and The Murders in the Rue Morgue, that explore previously hidden levels of human psychology and push the boundaries of fiction toward mystery and fantasy.
Early U.S. literature Washington Irving Scrapping his initial idea to parody the travelogue, Irving instead compressed the reams of notes and random scribblings into something new. The resulting book, A History of New York, was no mere parody, but a rollicking, satirical history of the Dutch conquest, establishment, and eventual loss of his home town. In December 1809, Irving published his book under a pseudonym, Diedrich Knickerbocker, a wry, crusty Dutch historian. An immediate bestseller, Knickerbocker soon became the personification of All Things New York. Even today, it appears across the front of New York's NBA team, although in its more well-known abbreviated form, reading simply "Knicks."
Early U.S. literature Irving, Salmagundi and A History of New York, by Diedrich Knickerbocker
Early U.S. literature Cooper was the first major American novelist who wrote numerous sea-stories as well as historical romances known as the “Leatherstock Tales,” a series of frontier adventure novels featuring fictional character Natty Pumppo who lives free, close to nature while the settlers bring civilization that destroys the wilderness. “The Last of the Mohicans” an adventure story set in the Lake Champlain area is considered the centerpiece of the series and is the best known having been made into a number of movies while television has utilized the story in numerous programs. However, James Fenimore Cooper considered Leatherstock novels “The Pathfinder” and “The Deerslayer” his best works.
Early U.S. literature
Early U.S. literature Natty represents the frontier in conflict with civilization and the law. He is "six feet tall in his moccasins, thin and wiry, with grey eyes, sandy hair, a large mouth and rather heavy eyebrows," Natty appears physically as a cross between his best friend, the Indian Chingachgook, and his nemesis, Judge Temple. Living on the literal edge of society in Deleware Indian country, Natty is both frontiersman and Native American; part of both the white world and the land of savages.
Early U.S. literature
Early U.S. literature In 1832, Poe began writing short stories, including The Masque of the Red Death, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Fall of the House of Usher, and The Murders in the Rue Morgue, that explore previously hidden levels of human psychology and push the boundaries of fiction toward mystery and fantasy.
Early U.S. literature Penetrating eyes and meditation
Early U.S. literature In 1836, Ralph Waldo Emerson ( ) published a startling nonfiction work called Nature, in which he claimed it was possible to dispense with organized religion and reach a lofty spiritual state by studying and responding to the natural world. His work influenced not only the writers who gathered around him, forming a movement known as Transcendentalism, but also the public, who heard him lecture.
Early U.S. literature Nature (1836), is perhaps the best expression of his Transcendentalism. The belief that everything in our world —even a drop of dew—is a microcosm of the universe. “Trust thyself” became Emerson's motto.
Early U.S. literature An ideal spiritual state 'transcends' the physical and empirical and is only realized through the individual's intuition, rather than through the doctrines of established religions.
Early U.S. literature Emerson’s most gifted fellow-thinker was perhaps Henry David Thoreau ( ), a resolute nonconformist. After living mostly by himself for two years in a cabin by a wooded pond, Thoreau wrote Walden, a book-length memoir that urges resistance to the meddlesome dictates of organized society. His radical writings express a deep-rooted tendency toward individualism in the American character.
Early U.S. literature Quotes from David Thoreau
Early U.S. literature In 1837, the young Nathaniel Hawthorne ( ) collected some of his stories as Twice-Told Tales, a volume rich in symbolism and occult incidents. Hawthorne went on to write full-length “romances,” quasi-allegorical novels that explore such themes as guilt, pride, and emotional repression in his native New England. His masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter, is the stark drama of a woman cast out of her community for committing adultery.