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American Literary


Colonial Period
Age of Reason


Colonial Period
Early America-1776
This period was at the very beginnings of
America and it made way for the rest of the countries
literature. In the first stages of America there were writers,
such as Thomas Hariot, who wrote A Brief and True
Report of the New-Found Land of Virginia in 1588; in
which he described “The Americas” in words and picture.
The book was quickly translated into Latin, French, and
German; it was a window for the Old World to see an
embellished version of the New World.
Others that dominated this era were the Puritans
whose definition of good writing was writing that brought
home a full awareness of the importance of worshipping
God and of the spiritual dangers that the soul faced on
Earth, and the literature that was produced by the Puritans
reflected this.

of the
Edward Taylor
John Woolman
Anne Bradstreet
William Bradford

During this period there was also cultivation of patriotism. essays. The main medium during that period were political pamphlets. Authors of the Age of Reason Abigail Adams Benjamin Franklin Thomas Jefferson Thomas Paine . and documents. for instance during this time the Declaration of Independence was written. Also during this period many reforms were either made or requested.Age of Reason Late 1770s to Early 1800s This period was a time when authors were focused more on their own reasoning rather than simply taking what the church taught as fact. travel writings. speeches.

and novels. This was the Era of Romantics. this genre included stories about characters that had both good and evil traits. The main medium that presented itself at that time were short stories. and on nature or the natural world. and there was a large emphasis on the individual/common man. they wanted to see life as more than it was. as appose to the “Age of Reason” the imagination dominated. Authors of the Romanticism Washington Irving Nathaniel Hawthorne Edgar Allen Poe Herman Melville . During this era.Romanticism 1800-1850 After the “Age of Reason” came to an end. which is a sub-genre of Romanticism. poems. Gothic literature also incorporated to use of supernatural elements. Gothic literature was also introduced at this time. the people of America were tired of reality. intuition ruled over fact.

the Transcendentalists never issued a manifesto. It also stressed the fundamental idea of a unity between God and the world. Unlike many European groups. and mature and self-reliance. Authors of the Transcendentalism Ralph Waldo Emerson Henry David Thoreau Walt Whitman [Sarah] Margaret Fuller . into a period of literature that stressed individualism. Often Transcendentalists used nature to gain knowledge or to return to a life of self-reliance and individulaism. They insisted on the differences in each individual.Transcendentalism 1840-1855 This movement pushed America from the elaborate and fantasy like writings displayed in the period Romanticism. that each person was a microcosm for the world.

Anti. only place Hester and Dimmesdale can be free. Example: Scarlet Letter and the forest – reflect Pearl’s wild nature. As oppose to Transcendentalism.Transcendentalism focused on the limitations of mankind. but it’s excess. water brings life. For instance. etc. Anti-Transcendentalism. (Notice how they sometimes use nature in their writings to reflect what goes in with humans.e. can bring death and destruction. and the quest for understanding of the human spirit. which focused on the natural world and its relationship to humanity. it’s opposite. and its potential destructiveness of the human spirit.Anti-Transcendentalism 1840-1855 During the same time period when Transcendentalism was taking place. i. was also happening.) Authors of the AntiTranscendentalism Herman Melville Nathaniel Hawthorne . a flood.

and “frilly.” the other was dark and destructive. and adventures. People wanted to see things how they were. one was nice and happy. with strange and unfamiliar settings. Realism also came about as a reaction to Romanticism. at a time when a war was taking place people were tired of Transcendentalism and AntiTranscendentalism. in which there were heroic characters. for one thing they were both extremes of the same spectrum.Realism 1865-1915 This literary movement took place during the Civil War. In response Realism authors tried to write truthfully and objectively about ordinary characters in ordinary situations. so Realism came about. Authors of the Realism Mark Twain [Samuel Clemens] Bret Harte Sarah Orne Jewett James Henry .

Also a defining characteristic of Naturalism is that it’s characters lives are shaped by forces they cannot control. Naturalism is closely related to Realism only it usually views the world in a darker perspective. happen and could not happen any other way. In Naturalism it is widely shown that free will is an illusion that things that happen in the universe. tended to view people as hapless victims of immutable natural laws. Authors of the Naturalism Stephen Crane Jack London Theodore Dreiser Frank Norris .Naturalism 1865-1915 The Naturalism literary movement that took place in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

and history. to show the region they wrote about to their readers. customs. but they also made an attempt at a sophisticated sociological or anthropological treatment of the culture of the region. beliefs. William Faulkner Kate Chopin Frank Norris . including its languages.Regionalism 1865-1915 Authors of the Regionalism Willa Cather Regionalism was a literary movement in which authors would write a story about specific geographical areas. By writing about regions the authors explore the culture of that area. Writer in this time tried. not only.

Authors of the Modernism Ernest Hemingway F. Scott Fitzgerald John Steinbeck Robert Frost . stream of consciousness. there was destruction of a global scale. and be known for. and interior dialogue. During this period Technology was taking incredible leaps and two World Wars took place. The younger generation began to take over the main stage. The main thing that authors were trying to achieve with Modernism was a unique style. one that they could stand out for. Modernist authors used of fragments.Modernism 1915-1946 This type of writing is one of the most experimental types.

and poems. science fiction. romantics. D. Political writings. horror. fiction. anything and everything. American authors have begun to write from a plethora of genres. Americans have realized that the best way to go is have many authors writing what ever it is they are best at. Authors of the Contemporary J. there are more different types of writing being done at one time than at any other period in history.Contemporary 1946-present In the years since the Modernism period. That’s exactly what has happened. Salinger Stephen King Joyce Carol Oates Robert Jordan . Fantasy. plays.

such as the Declaration of Independence.Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) • Franklin is well known worldwide for his discoveries in the world of science and also for works that he contributed to. His works were all new ideas things people never thought of before because they always took what they got as fact. Age of Reason . and his theories on electricity.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) • Jefferson is bets know for writing the Declaration of Independence. and one of the major thing the Americans discovered was that they didn’t need England. Age of Reason . people were thinking for themselves. So Jefferson wrote the D of I to formally state that. the document came about as a response to these times.

to this day. Paine. In the document "The American Crisis.Thomas Paine (1737-1809) • Paine wrote mostly pamphlets that would spur ideas and immediate action. and propelled America into a war with Britain. is well known for his propaganda. Age of Reason ." Paine wrote about the oppression that America suffered from Britain.

Rip Van Winkle.” He wrote travel books. and Devil and Tom Walker. he’s also known as the “Father of American Literature. and satires. Romanticism .Washington Irving (1789-1851) • Irving was the first “famous” American author. Some of his works include. Legend of Sleepy Hollow. short stories.

and two. one. He is credited for creating the modern short story." Romanticism . "Bells". "The Raven". a poem had to be long. Some of his works include. and the detective story. He also challenged two longstanding theories. "Annabel Lee".Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849) • Poe had a bad childhood that made him despise the world. and "Dream. and his works reflected his work. a poem had to teach you something.

in the more recent years he has been considered one of the most top rated novelist of all time.Herman Melville (1819-1891) • In his time Melville was not entirely recognized. Romanticism Anti-Transcendentalism . however. He is most well known for his epic novel Moby Dick.

it was necessary to leave the church. published in 1836. Transcendentalism .Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) • Emerson had a strong sense of a religious mission though he was accused of subverting Christianity. He left the church saying. “to be a good minister.” Some of his mayor works include Nature.

Some of his famous poems are. over the years he made many rewrites for this book. he was a man of the people." "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking. after he left school the age of eleven. and was." and "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd. Most of his learning career was done on his own. published in 1855. His major work was entitled His Leaves of Grass. "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry." Transcendentalism . a carpenter.Walt Whitman (1819-1892) • Whiteman was born on Long Island. for most of his job life.

Some of his works include. published in 1850. published in 1851. and gloomy outlook on life. and The House of the Seven Gables. The Scarlet Letter.Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) • Hawthorne was a Puritan who utilized his writings to express his dark. Twice Told Tales. published in 1837. Anti-Transcendentalism Romanticism .

published in 1881. Realism . He was known for using vernacular. the Adventures of Tom Sawyer. and The Prince and the Pauper.Mark Twain [Samuel Clemens] (1835-1910) • Twain is know by many as the greatest American humorist and one of our greatest novelists. exaggeration. and deadpan narrator to create humor. published in 1876. Twain wrote many great novels including.

“Gabrielle de Bergerac. He attended Harvard College.” published in 1869. and his older brother was a famous American philosopher. William James.James Henry (1843-1916 ) • His father was an important theorist and lecturer. In his time he wrote many short stories including. His early stories depict the leisurely life of the well-to-do.” Realism .” published in 1865. “The Short Story of a Year. and “Guest's Confession.

published in 1894. Some of his other works include. Naturalism .” originally published in 1890.Stephen Crane (1871-1900) • Crane’s writing was known for attacking patriotism. The Open Boat. The work he is most famous for Red Badge of Courage. individualism. “An Episode of War. and organized religion. which was set in the Civil War. His work was also very well known for its imagery and symbolism. it also confronted the meaninglessness of the world.

Naturalism . he lived a hard life. switching from job to job for whatever money he could get.” published in 1913. He is one of the most highly acclaimed writers of all time. Some of his works include. published in 1906.” published in 1910. published in 1903. The Call of the Wild. “Lost Face. California. after his father abandoned him at a young age. his stories of life and death struggles are vivid and engaging. White Fang.Jack London (1876-1916) • London was born in San Francisco. and “The Night Born.

published in 1940. The Sun Also Rises. big game hunters. etc. Modernism . A Farewell To Arms published in 1929. For Whom the Bell Tolls. precise. rhythmic writing styles to create larger than life heroes. direct. spare. He used concise. published in 1922. objective. Some of his works include.Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) • Hemingway won a Pulitzer Prize and Noble Peace Price for Literature.

Some of his other works include. and The Beautiful and the Damned. The Side of Paradise. a time when no one cared about the future and they had fun with what they had then. he wrote about the roaring twenties. Modernism . In his novel The Great Gatsby. published in 1920. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) • Fitzgerald wrote about the times. published in 1925.F. published in 1922.

Steinbeck wrote about the joys of life. published in 1939. and The Pearl. The Grapes of Wraith. published in 1937. published in 1935. Modernism .John Steinbeck (1902-1968) • Steinbeck wrote about the both the pains and joys of life. Some of his other works include. East of Eden. In other works like Tortilla Flat. published in 1947. published in 1952. Of Mice and Men. his most well known work told the story of families ring to survive and stay together during the depression.