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American Experience Historical and Literary Eras.

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Presentation on theme: "American Experience Historical and Literary Eras."— Presentation transcript:

1 American Experience Historical and Literary Eras

2 Colonial History ( ) 1607 Entrepreneurs establish first permanent English settlement at Jamestown, VA 1620 Separatists (Plymouth Colony) 1628 Puritans (Massachusetts Bay Colony) 1754 Colonists propose Grand Council for defense, expansion, and Native American affairs 1763 French and Indian War ends, France loses to England, France gives up claim to colonies , After the War, England raises taxes (Stamp Act and Townshend Acts) Meanwhile, in England… King Charles I beheaded, 1649 Commonwealth, King Charles II restored to throne, 1660 Act of Uniformity, 1662 King George III’s reign, begins 1760

3 Colonial Literature Religious, Protestant, frequently Calvinist Religion based in faith; knowledge is deadly Thought man could not improve; preoccupied by notions of total depravity (man’s inclination to evil more than good) and unconditional election (man’s inflexible route towards damnation, in most cases, or salvation, in a few) Advocated for theocracy Concerned with colonists’ relationship to God, each other, and England Genres include: more private mediums—sermons, historical narratives (half- fact, half-fiction), and poetry

4 Revolutionary/Early National History ( ) 1775 American Revolutionary War begins 1776 Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence 1781 American Revolutionary War ends 1787 U.S. Constitution 1789 George Washington elected president 1803 Louisiana Purchase, France sells U.S. 828,000 square miles of land 1807 Fulton’s steamboat 1814 War of 1812 ends, U.S. and England negotiate peace 1820 Missouri Compromise between pro- and anti- slavery factions Meanwhile, in France… French Revolution begins, 1789 French Republic, 1792 King Louis XVI executed, 1793 Bonaparte’s Empire, King Louis XVII restored to the throne under a constitutional monarchy, 1815

5 Revolutionary/Early National Literature Nominally religious Religion based in reason; knowledge is powerful Thought man could improve Advocated for republicanism or democracy Concerned with colonists’ relationship to the Deity, each other, and their colony or nation Genres include: more public mediums—declarations, pamphlets, newspapers, journals, autobiographies of famous personalities, poems of famous deeds

6 Romantic History ( ) 1828 Andrew Jackson, “People’s President,” elected 1830 Cooper’s locomotive 1844 Morse’s telegraph 1846 Oregon Treaty, U.S. and England divide Oregon territory 1846 U.S. annexes Texas from Mexico 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, Mexico gives up Alta California and Nuevo Mexico 1848 Seneca Falls, Women’s Rights Convention 1861 American Civil War begins 1862 Homestead Acts encourage Americans to settle the west 1863 Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation Meanwhile, in Europe… First Industrial Revolution Immigration Wave begins Marx and Engels publish The Communist Manifesto, 1848 Revolution sweeps continent, 1848

7 Romantic Literature Supernatural elements Enchanted Original impulse (resists the notion that man is defined by his time or place) Meaning is uncovered/discovered Setting, external nature, is beautiful or sublime, inspires consideration or awe, and stimulates reflection on the mind and heart of man Main character goes on an adventure to find self-knowledge—wanders, rebels, tests his limits About representative man > men Genres include: short story, novel, poetry, etc.

8 Realist/Naturalist History ( ) 1865 American Civil War ends, Reconstruction follows 1876 Bell’s telephone 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre 1903 Wright brothers’ plane 1908 Ford’s car 1917 U.S. enters WWI after sinking of the R.M.S. Lusitania 1920 Nineteenth Amendment, Women granted the right to vote 1920 Recession 1920 Radio popular Jazz Age/Prohibition 1929 Stock Market crashes, Great Depression ensues Meanwhile, in Europe and elsewhere… Reaction against imperialism and Rise of nationalism WWI between Allies (U.K., France, Belgium, Italy, Serbia, Montenegro, Japan, and Russia) and Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey), Soviet Union (Stalin), 1922 Third Reich (Hitler), 1933

9 Realist/Naturalist Literature Fatalistic/Deterministic Disenchanted Historical impulse (accepts the notion that man is defined, at least largely, by his time and place) Meaning is revealed Setting, external nature, is, as Victorian English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson says, “red in tooth and claw,” and no fit subject for musing Open adventures replaced by scripted trajectories About men > representative man Genres include: short story, novel, poetry, etc.

10 Modernist History ( ) 1930 Sound film becomes popular 1933 Roosevelt passes New Deal laws 1934 Gertrude Stein returns to America after a thirty-year absence 1941 U.S. enters WWII after Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor 1945 Allies firebomb Dresden U.S. drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Meanwhile, in Europe and elsewhere… WWII between Allies (U.K., U.S., France, and the Soviet Union) and Axis (Germany, Italy, and Japan),

11 Modernist Literature Sometimes mystical, occult, or esoteric Sometimes associated with “high” art Suspicious of traditional meaning Literature is a perfected product/unified artifact Represents a deliberate and radical break with the bases of western culture Literature is experimental, sometimes lacks coherence, stability, durability Features literary techniques like fragmented utterances, stream of consciousness, and automatic writing Main characters are alienated, often expatriates or exiles; some are emasculated or impotent (literally or metaphorically) Genres include: short story, novel, poetry, etc.

12 Postmodern History (1945  ) 1954 Plessy vs. Ferguson declares school segregation unconstitutional 1959 Alaska and Hawaii join the U.S Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” Speech 1969 Neil Armstrong sets foot on the moon 1972 U.S. Troops leave Vietnam 1987 Reagan and Gobachev sign INF treaty 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act Persian Gulf War/“Operation Desert Storm” 2001 World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks Iraq War, also known as “Operation Iraqi Freedom” under Bush or “Operation New Dawn” under Obama Meanwhile, in Europe…. India gains independence from Britain, 1947 United Nations establishes state of Israel, 1948 Germany builds Berlin Wall, 1959 Catholics and Protestants begin fight in Northern Ireland, 1969 Polish trade movement, Solidarity, suppressed, 1981 Germany takes down Berlin Wall, 1989 Hong Kong returns to Chinese rule, ends British rule, 1997

13 Postmodern Literature Not mystical, occult, or esoteric Sometimes associated with “low” or “pop” art Lack of traditional meaning; meaning is created (and re-created ad infinitum) Literature is a process/an amalgam Represents a more deliberate and radical break with the foundations of western culture Literature is more playful, zany, even becomes absurd Genres include: short story, novel, poetry etc.

14 From a Literary Perspective Where Do They Fit? Poe’s short stories, pub. starting in 1833 Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, pub. 1884, set 1830s-40s Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, pub. 1937, set 1920s Fitzgerald’s Gatsby, pub Miller’s Death of a Salesman, pub Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, pub. 1951

15 What the Romantics and the Realists Gave America: Original and Historical impulses “artifice” or “artificial” “is” here-and-now pragmatic or disenchanted primacy of exterior realties e.g. time, place, circumstance or convention upon men “nature” or “natural” “should, could, or would be” both mythically old and magically new idealistic or enchanted primacy of interior realities e.g. man’s mind, heart, or spirit upon itself

16 What is the relationship between these impulses—between what Fr. Arrupe calls the “imaginati[ve]” and the “practical,” and Melville calls “fancy” and “fact”? What is their effect on the American Dream? Original Historical and, or, /, vs.?


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