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Timeline of American Literature. Puritanism 1600-1800 Narratives that looked inward and expressed the connections between God and their everyday lives.

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Presentation on theme: "Timeline of American Literature. Puritanism 1600-1800 Narratives that looked inward and expressed the connections between God and their everyday lives."— Presentation transcript:

1 Timeline of American Literature

2 Puritanism Narratives that looked inward and expressed the connections between God and their everyday lives – Private letters, diaries, essays, histories, sermons

3 Puritanism Sought to “purify” the Church of England by reforming to the simpler forms of worship and church organization described in the New Testament Saw religion as a personal, inner experience Believed in original sin and “elect” who would be saved Used a plain style of writing

4 Puritanism Historical Events of Importance – First “American” colonies established – Salem Witch Trials

5 Age of Reason / Persuasion Rise of political/public writing Mostly comprised of philosophers and scientists – Documents, almanacs, pamphlets, speeches Valued reason over faith Assumed people were good, not evil

6 Age of Reason / Persuasion Focus on persuasive writing – Intended to convince citizens to join revolutionary causes Most writing was political – Responses to the strained relationship with Great Britain and trying to break free to form a new government

7 Age of Reason / Persuasion Historical Events of Importance – The Revolutionary War – The Constitution – The Bill of Rights – The Declaration of Independence

8 Romanticism SHIFTS – From faith in reason to faith in the senses, feelings, and imagination – From interest in urban society to an interest in the rural and natural – From public, impersonal poetry to subjective poetry – From concern with the scientific and mundane to interest in the mysterious and finite

9 Romanticism Valued feeling, intuition, idealism, the individual, and the imagination Dark Romantics: Interested in the Medieval past, the supernatural, the mystical, the “gothic,” and the exotic

10 Romanticism Historical Events of Importance – Industrialization – War of 1812 – California Gold Rush

11 Transcendentalism Developed as a protest against the general state of spirituality and, in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University Core beliefs: – Inherent goodness of people – Inherent goodness of nature

12 Transcendentalism The soul of each individual is identical with the soul of the world and contains what the world contains Transcendentalists believe that society and its institutions (organized religion, political parties) ultimately corrupt the purity of the individual.

13 Transcendentalism People are at their best when they are truly self-reliant and independent – Self-reliance and individualism must outweigh external authority and blind conformity to tradition Had their own Club! – The Transcendental Club Published their own journal – “The Dial”

14 Transcendentalism Historical Events of Importance – The Abolitionist Movement – The Utopian Movement – The Women’s Suffrage Movement

15 Realism/Naturalism Feelings of disillusionment Common subjects: – Slums of rapidly growing cities – Factories replacing farmlands – Poor factory workers – Corrupt politicians

16 Realism/Naturalism Represented the manner and environment of everyday life and ordinary people as realistically as possible – Regionalism Sought to explain behavior – Psychologically – Socially

17 Realism/Naturalism Historical Events of Importance – The Civil War – Reconstruction

18 Modernism Sense of disillusionment and loss of faith in the “American Dream” The independent, self reliant individual will triumph

19 Modernism Emphasis on bold experimentation in style and form over the traditional Interest in the inner workings of the human mind – Ex: Stream of Consciousness

20 Modernism Historical Events of Importance – World War I – The Great Depression – World War II

21 Harlem Renaissance AKA: “The Jazz Age” and “The Roaring 20s” Black Cultural Movement in Harlem, New York

22 Harlem Renaissance Some poetry rhythms based on spirituals and jazz Lyrics from the blues Diction from the street talk of the ghettos Other poetry used conventional lyrics

23 Harlem Renaissance Historical Events of Importance – “The New Negro Movement” – Prohibition

24 Contemporary 1950-present AKA: Post-modernism Influenced by studies of media, language, and information technology Sense that little is unique; culture endlessly duplicates and copies itself

25 Contemporary New literary forms and techniques: – Works composed of only dialogue – Combining fiction and non-fiction – Authors experimenting with the physical appearance of their work

26 Contemporary Historical Events of Importance – Korean War – Vietnam War


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