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American literature

Early American Literature: – Native American literature with oral traditions predating European colonization. – Colonial literature from the Thirteen Colonies with diverse linguistic influences. – […]

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Early American Literature:
– Native American literature with oral traditions predating European colonization.
– Colonial literature from the Thirteen Colonies with diverse linguistic influences.
– Works from the American Revolutionary Period by notable political writers.
– Contributions of early American writers like John Winthrop, Edward Winslow, and Increase Mather.
– Early American novels from the 18th century by authors such as William Hill Brown and Charles Brockden Brown.

Literary Movements and Figures:
– Transcendentalism led by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.
– Impact of Abolitionism on American literature with writers like Harriet Beecher Stowe and Frederick Douglass.
– Unique American style in the 19th century with authors like Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe.
– Influence of ethnic writers including Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, and William Wells Brown.
– Realist fiction in the late 19th century with a focus on Mark Twain and his distinctive writing style.

Political and Social Influences:
– Political writings during the American Revolutionary Period by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and others.
– Post-Independence literary struggles to find a unique voice amidst European influences.
– Impact of social movements like abolitionism on American literature.
– Themes of freedom, equality, and human rights in literary works.
– Diverse voices emerging in literature due to societal activism.

Regional and Minority Perspectives:
– Southern literature with works by William Bartram and J. Hector St. John de Crèvecœur.
– New England settlers’ writings by authors like Cotton Mather and Samuel Sewall.
– Contributions of minority fiction authors like William Wells Brown and Martin Delany.
– Exploration of African-American and American Indian narratives in literature.
– Regional masterpieces by Mark Twain reflecting Missouri’s cultural landscape.

Women Writers and Literary Themes:
– Impact of women writers like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Jacobs, and Harriet E. Wilson.
– Exploration of Dark Romanticism themes by Hawthorne, Melville, and Poe.
– Representation of guilt, pride, and emotional repression in literary works.
– Examination of human nature and societal constructs in American literature.
– Challenging of societal norms and social issues by female authors.

American literature (Wikipedia)

American literature is literature written or produced in the United States of America and in the colonies that preceded it. The American literary tradition is part of the broader tradition of English-language literature, but it also includes literature produced in the United States in languages other than English.

Main reading room at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The American Revolutionary Period (1775–1783) is notable for the political writings of Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson. An early novel is William Hill Brown's The Power of Sympathy, published in 1791. Writer and critic John Neal in the early- to mid-nineteenth century helped advance America toward a unique literature and culture, by criticizing predecessors such as Washington Irving for imitating their British counterparts and by influencing writers such as Edgar Allan Poe. Edgar Allan Poe took American poetry and short fiction in new directions. Ralph Waldo Emerson pioneered the influential Transcendentalism movement; Henry David Thoreau, author of Walden, was influenced by this movement. The conflict surrounding abolitionism inspired writers like Harriet Beecher Stowe and authors of slave narratives, such as Frederick Douglass. Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (1850) explored the dark side of American history, as did Herman Melville's Moby-Dick (1851). Major American poets of the nineteenth century include Walt Whitman, Melville, and Emily Dickinson. Mark Twain was the first major American writer to be born in the West. Henry James achieved international recognition with novels like The Portrait of a Lady (1881).

Following World War I, modernist literature rejected nineteenth-century forms and values. F. Scott Fitzgerald captured the carefree mood of the 1920s, but John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway, who became famous with The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms, and William Faulkner, adopted experimental forms. American modernist poets included diverse figures such as Wallace Stevens, T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, and E. E. Cummings. Depression-era writers included John Steinbeck, author of The Grapes of Wrath (1939). America's involvement in World War II led to works such as Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead (1948), Joseph Heller's Catch-22 (1961) and Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s Slaughterhouse-Five (1969). Prominent playwrights of these years include Eugene O'Neill, who won a Nobel Prize. In the mid-twentieth century, drama was dominated by Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller. Musical theater was also prominent.

In late 20th century and early 21st century there has been increased popular and academic acceptance of literature written by immigrant, ethnic, and LGBT writers, and of writings in languages other than English. Examples of pioneers in these areas include LGBT author Michael Cunningham, Asian American authors Maxine Hong Kingston and Ocean Vuong, and African Americans authors such as Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison. In 2016, the folk-rock songwriter Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

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