Presentation on theme: "Survey of American Literature"— Presentation transcript:
1 Survey of American Literature Colonial LiteratureSurvey of American Literature
2 The Literature of Early America Colonists did not call themselves “Americans” before mid-18th CenturyEnormous displacement of Native American civilizations across the continentFrench settled along the St. Lawrence RiverSwedes settled along the Delaware RiverDutch settled along the Hudson RiverGermans and Scots-Irish settled in New York and PennSpanish settled in Florida
3 Native American Civilizations and Cultures Except for Central American natives’ documents, nowritings from North America before colonizationWith Europeans came slaughter, slavery, diseaseslethal to NativesBetween 1492 and 1617, Native American population was reduced to 10% of original numbersBy the end of the 17 Century, Native population in Southern colonies went from 200,000 to less than 60,000Iroquois formed an alliance to try to counter colonial takeover of landsCherokees became agricultural in an attempt to assimilateTribes aligned with French during French and Indian War( ) to stop the British move westward
4 Exploration and Colonization Columbus landed on Hispaniola (now island of Haiti and Dominican Republic), 1492Sir Walter Raleigh landed on Roanoke Island, NC,1580sFirst British permanent colony =Jamestown, VA,1607 led by Captain John SmithPilgrims landed at Plymouth, Mass, 1620Puritans formed Mass Bay Colony,
5 ColonizationReformation in Europe set the stage for colonization to North AmericaHenry VIII established Anglican Church, separated from the Roman Catholic Church controlMartin Luther denounced the Pope as infallible — Protestant religions flourished — Calvinism, Lutheranism, Anabaptists, Presbyterians/Episcopalians, QuakersAs religious control diminished, capitalism grew radically in England, France, SpainColumbus, Ponce de Leon, Cabeza de Vaca, Coronado, and Pizarro sailed under Spanish flag
6 Colonization British colonies fell into 3 cultural and economic groups Southern from West Indies to VirginiaMost difficult to settle due to malaria, but ultimately the most prosperous with the introduction of African slavesDuring 17, 18 &19 Centuries, 300,000 slaves were sold in North AmericaMiddle between Chesapeake and Massachusetts BayMost ethnically and religiously diverseDutch (New York) and Quakers (Penn) promoted freedom and toleranceQuakers first to denouce slavery (1688)New EnglandSettlement lagged behind other colonies due to bitter cold
7 The Renaissance, The Reformation, and Cultural Change Renaissance began in Italy in 14 and 15 CenturiesAdvances in art, government, philosophy, scienceReformation = separation of various monarchs from Roman Catholic control and establishment of “ protest” religions = ProtestantismTwo great technical achievements = gunpowder and printing pressFirearms made armour obsoleteBooks educated the masses, and weakened the power of kings and priestsDevelopment of multiple-masted ships advanced global tradeTwo scientific inventions = microscope (1590) and telescope (1606) encouraged scientific and geographic exploration
8 The Separatists and the Puritans Puritans and Pilgrims were members of the Church of EnglandPilgrims = Separatists moved to Holland in 1608 to practice a “pure and unspotted” ChristianityEventually Pilgrims became disenchanted with Holland and sailed to the Colonies =102 pilgrims left Holland and about 50 landed at Plymouth, Mass., in 1620Puritans came to New England to establish a colony based on “Bible law” =continued as official members of the Church of EnglandPuritans were worldly, did not practice as a cloistered groupBoth Puritans and Pilgrims read the Geneva Bible (written by English scholars in Geneva, Switzerland, centre of Protestant learning and theology in Europe)
9 Separatists and Puritans Doctrines of both groups were shaped by teachings of Martin Luther and John CalvinMartin Luther ( ), a German monk, professor of theology at U of WittenbergClaimed the Bible should be the final word of God, not the Pope John Calvin ( ), a French theologian, lived and taught in Geneva, SwitzerlandCalvin’s The Institutes of the Christian Religion, detailed Puritans’ beliefs of original sin, limited atonement, grace only from God, perseverance of saints, predestinationCentral idea was covenant theology = Adam and Eve made covenant with God, then broke it
10 PuritansPuritans were dedicated to self-determination independence and freedom, strong tradition of preaching, and thus educationSermons were most popular literary formMass Bay Colony became cultural centre of coloniesHarvard founded at Cambridge in 1636First colonial press established in 1638 at CambridgeFirst book printed in colonies in 1640First colonial newspaper published in Boston in 1690
11 Puritanism declined before end of colonial period Religious and social unity gave way to diversityEarly American literature, following the Puritan era, includedBiographiesSecular poetryPolitical documents/speeches
12 William Bradford (1590-1657) Original home in Yorkshire, England Orphaned son of yeoman farmerIn 1606 Bradford joined a group of religious separatists that met secretly in nearby village of ScroobyIn 1608 Bradford went to Amsterdam with the Separatists, then to Leyden, where he became a weaver, learned Dutch, French, Latin, Greek and HebrewIn 1617 Separatists decided to go to New WorldIn 1620 Separatists obtained a charter from England (granting the right to settle on land in America owned by the Virginia Company of London)Merchant Adventurers ( investors in London) financed the tripIn return Separatists agreed to ship furs, fish and minerals back to London
13 William Bradford102 men, women and children crowded on Mayflower for America – only a few were Separatists65 days later they landed at Cape Cod, Mass.Because they were not in Virginia, they agreed to sign a Mayflower Compact, self-government documentElected first governor, John CarverWhen Carver died, Bradford succeeded him, from 1621 to 1656Bradford began writing history of Plymouth Plantation in 1630 – finally published in 1856Remained pious, humble, and personally poorDied in 1657 at 67 years
14 Roger Williams ( )Born in London to middle-class merchant familyAt Cambridge University, prepared for career in the churchIn 1629 took a position as chaplain to a wealthy familyBecame a Separatist, and in 1630 left for MassachusettsIn New World Williams’ unorthodoxy bloomedSettled in Salem, spoke out against Puritan leadershipMoved to Plymouth ColonyIn 1633 returned to Mass Bay Colony and became minister of Salem churchContinued to speak out against religious establishmentArgued for separation of church and stateIn 1635 Williams banished from Colony as a heretic and threatened with deportation to EnglandFled into wilderness, given refuge by friendly IndiansMigrated to Rhode Island and established Providence Plantation
15 Roger Williams Rhode Island Way established Indian rights protected, church and state separated, religious tolerance maintainedColony prosperedWilliams’ writings were paradoxical =hearty and generous, but rash and destructiveWilliams honoured freedom more than harmony, liberty more than orderSince 19th Century, Williams honoured as an American saint, political ancestor of Jefferson
16 Anne Bradstreet ( )First poet of English-speaking North AmericaPuritan who balanced her roles of wife and mother andpublished poetBorn in England, raised in luxury on the estate of the Earl of Lincoln, where her father, Thomas Dudley, was stewardAt 16 she married Simon Bradstreet, Puritan and Cambridge University graduateBoth families—Dudleys and Bradstreets—sailed on Arbella to Mass Bay ColonyIn Mass Bay Colony Thomas Dudley succeeded JohnWinthrop as governor of Colony
17 Anne BradstreetBradstreet and husband settled on farm near Andover, raised eight children, and she wrote poetryIn 1647 Bradstreet’s brother-in-law, John Woodbridge, pastor of Andover church, sailed to England, taking copies of her poemsIn 1650 poems were published – The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in American or Several Poems, Compiled with a Great Variety of Wit and Learning, Full of Delight…by a Gentlewoman of Those Parts= first volume of published poetry written by colonistPoems addressed vanity of worldly pleasures, brevity of life, resignation to God’s willPoems published posthumously in 1678 show more doubts about Christian beliefs, scepticism, and poetry was simpler, more lyrical
18 Cotton Mather ( )Grandfathers, Richard Mather and John Cotton –founders of New England church and stateFather, Increase Mather, president of HarvardCotton Mather was brilliantBy 12 he had learned Latin, read New Testament in Greek, studied HebrewAt Harvard, he was considered a bookworm, but graduated at 15Stuttered as a child, but stuttering improved as an adult, and Mather was ordained in 1685 at Second Church of Boston, where he was its minister for the rest of his life.
19 Cotton Mather Mather’s life filled with trials and tribulations Had 15 children, but only two survived himMarried three times, first two died, third went insaneFinancial problems, public humiliations caused by a bad sonAgonizing doubts about his calling to the ministryHas been linked to Salem witch trials, but he never actually participated in them, although he did believe in witchcraftElected Fellow of the Royal Society of LondonAdvocated inoculations against smallpoxAuthor of > 400 works: essays, biographies, science, medicine, philosophy and theology studies, and thousands of sermonsMost didactic, attempts at reinvigorating waning PuritanismMather’s vision of New England was a theocratic EdenUltimately Mather became a symbol of a declining religion
20 Literature of the Eighteenth Century 18th Century = Age of Reason, EnlightenmentProfound changes took place in western worldEuropean and African populations in North America – from 250,000 in 1700 to 5,000,000 in 1800Continuous westward expansion displaced Native AmericansIroquois Confederacy = Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga,Cayuga, Seneca, Tuscarora nations, aligned with FrenchBritish won the French and Indian war nevertheless and took control of most of the territory east of MississippiEthnic diversity, economic strength, Enlightenment ideals laid foundation for the United States
21 Functions of the Writers of the Colonial Period 1. A searching inquiry in all aspects of the world around.2. Interest in the classics as well as in the Bible.3. Interest in nature - the "absentee landlord" phenomenon.4. Interest in science and scientific experiments.5. Optimism - experiments in utopian communities6. Sense of a person's duty to succeed.7. Constant search of the self - emphasis on individualism in:a. personal religion.b. study of the Bible for personal interpretation.
22 Common Beliefs1. Faith in natural goodness - a human is born without taint or sin; the concept of tabula rasa or blank slate.2. Perfectibility of a human being - it is possible to improve situations of birth, economy, society, and religion.3. The sovereignty of reason - echoes of Rene Descartes' cogito ergo sum or I think, therefore, I am (as the first certitude in resolving universal doubt.)4. Universal benevolence - the attitude of helping everyone.5. Outdated social institutions cause unsociable behavior - religious, social, economic, and political institutions, which have not modernized, force individuals into unacceptable behavior.
23 Democratic Origins and Revolutionary Writers, 1776-1820 The hard-fought American Revolution against Britain ( ) was the first modern war of liberation against a colonial power. The triumph of American independence seemed to many at the time a divine sign that America and her people were destined for greatness. Military victory fanned nationalistic hopes for a great new literature. Yet with the exception of outstanding political writing, few works of note appeared during or soon after the Revolution.
24 Democratic Origins and Revolutionary Writers, 1776-1820 American books were harshly reviewed in England. Americans were painfully aware of their excessive dependence on English literary models. The search for a native literature became a national obsession. As one American magazine editor wrote, around 1816, "Dependence is a state of degradation fraught with disgrace, and to be dependent on a foreign mind for what we can ourselves produce is to add to the crime of indolence the weakness of stupidity."
25 American WritersJames Fenimore Cooper Thomas Paine
26 Democratic Origins and Revolutionary Writers, 1776-1820 Moreover, the heady challenges of building a new nation attracted talented and educated people to politics, law, and diplomacy. These pursuits brought honor, glory, and financial security. Writing, on the other hand, did not pay. Early American writers, now separated from England, effectively had no modern publishers, no audience, and no adequate legal protection. Editorial assistance, distribution, and publicity were rudimentary.
27 Because imported authorized editions were more expensive and could not compete with pirated ones, the copyright situation damaged foreign authors such as Sir Walter Scott and Charles Dickens, along with American authors. But at least the foreign authors had already been paid by their original publishers and were already well known. Americans such as James Fenimore Cooper not only failed to receive adequate payment, but they had to suffer seeing their works pirated under their noses. Cooper's first successful book, The Spy (1821), was pirated by four different printers within a month of its appearance.Ironically, the copyright law of 1790, which allowed pirating, was nationalistic in intent. Drafted by Noah Webster, the great lexicographer who later compiled an American dictionary, the law protected only the work of American authors; it was felt that English writers should look out for themselves.