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The National Beginnings Literature. The Colonial Period.

The National Beginnings Literature. The Colonial Period.

American Literature has roots in Indian culture. Indian culture was represented by orally transmitted myths, legends, epics, tales and songs. Native Americans' literary sources were pagan. Indian tribes worshiped animals, plants. American literature is the youngest literature, one of the richest influential literatures in the world. It was founded by white immigrants; it was under the influence of the English literature for a long time and cannot be called American proper. Early American Literature was puritan. Genres: interesting mixture of travel accounts and religious writings. The English described the colonization of the New World and first settlement in New England. First books - diaries, travel guides, dealing with the experience of new comers. Captain John Smith a real adventurer, who left descriptions of New England and Virginia, described one of the first settlement: Jamestown colony. He was a romantic, he beautified events (between fiction and non-fiction). His character - Pocahontas, an Indian girl, daughter of Indian chief. When he was taken prisoner, she saved his life. She was wise, intelligent, later she married an English gentleman and established a long period of peace.

There was a difference between New English and Southern colonies. The South rich plantation owners, they could buy books in England. There was no need to develop literature their own.

The North puritan settlers who came to form a society based on strict Christian beliefs. Early literature was religious. Puritan history literary work, drama struggle between Christ and Satan. The style is plain, serious, didactic, moralizing. Puritans laid the foundation of American capitalism hard work, striving for success, ambitions. They saw life as a test, failure leads to eternal death, success leads to heaven. Material success is a sign of election by God. First puritans were not democratic, they believed society should be based on strict laws and order. Those who didn't support it were persecuted (witch hunt). Topics are connected with border territories.

Mather family (Richard and his sons Increase and Cotton) made descriptions of witch trials. Anne Bradstreet is first American real poet. She wrote about religion, daily life, expressed love for her family, children.

Revolutionary and Early National Period

Prose and poetry are of political and practical purpose. The most famous writers are founding fathers who lead the Revolution and wrote constitution in 1789. Most typical product is political pamphlet. They shared Enlightenment ideas, their political views were democratic, they believed in man, that human beings can improve themselves, wanted to create happy society based on justice and freedom.

The father of Yankees is Benjamin Franklin. His writings were of great optimism, his style was plain, modern, easy to read, he had little education but read a lot. He became a political leader in Philadelphia.

"Poor Richard's Almanac" includes many sayings, aphorisms (time is money, lost time is never found again). He developed a new genre funny story: the characters are tricksters (tall tale). His most serious book is his autobiography.

Thomas Paine struggled for human rights. Paine's pamphlet Common Sense and The American Crisis writings are seen as playing a key role in influencing the political tone of the period.

Thomas Jefferson is the chief author of the Declaration of Independence.

American Revolution stimulated the flourishing of mass-political poetry-patriotic ballads, folklore, songs. Writers imitated neo-classical style and themes of great English poets. First American poetic circle the Connecticut Wits, they were conservative and hated democratic views.

The rise of national literature (between Enlightenment and Romanticism). Americans depended on British standards, they wanted to have a literature of their own. It became natural obsession and necessity. There was disagreement about how American literature should grow: - nationalists worried that American literature lacked national feeling, they wanted books with special character of nation. traditionalists thought American literature was too young to be independent form British literature, it's a branch of British literature. universalists thought good literature was universal and it didn't matter when and where it was written.

There appeared good American writers who combined best qualities of literature of Old and New worlds.

XIX c. novels are the most popular literature. New York became the center of American writing. The writers called themselves "knickerbocker". It comes from novel of W.Irving "A history of New York by Diedrich Knickerbocker"

Naturalism and Realism. S.Crane, F.Norris, E.Wharton

1900 1930 naturalistic and modernistic period. This time generated new styles in arts, there appeared new techniques, social theories there were apocalyptic feelings and pessimism about the direction of history. Besides urbanisation class struggle intensified, social tension. American writer were influenced by scientific study of man in literature. Darwin's theory of evolution had great impact on Christianity. F.Nitzsche attacked Christianity. He proclaimed the death of God. Naturalists looked at many outside forces influencing person, they concluded: area of individual responsibility was limited: Can people really choose between good and evil? We're mostly influenced by the laws of nature, it's out of our control. Those forces are also inside us, exist in the form of natural instincts. Naturalism literary expression of determinism which views individuals as helpless creatures of forces beyond their control. It denies religion and God as motivating forces in the world. Instead they perceive the universe as a machine. 1919 Z.Freud comes to America with his lectures and what he said was a revolution. Puritanical morality forbade to talk about human sexuality. The theory ruined those double standards in American life. People were prepared even to accept ugly truth about their nature.

S.Crane was an American novelist, poet and journalist. He died when he was 28. The Red Badge of Courage (1895), a powerful tale of the American Civil War. The book won international acclaim for its realism and psychological depth in telling the story of a young soldier facing the horrors and triumphs of war for the first time. Crane hadn't experienced battle personally, but he conducted interviews with a number of veterans, some of whom may have suffered from what is now called post-traumatic stress disorder. Because his depiction of the psychological as well as military aspects of war was so accurate, he was hired by the New York Journal as a correspondent during the Greco-Turkish War (1897).

F.Norris - his characters are unable to control their lives.His notable works include McTeague (1899), The Octopus: A California Story (1901), and The Pit (1903). The Octopus a conflict between the power of nature (farmers) and a mechanical monster (the railroads company)

Although he did not support socialism as a political system, his work nevertheless evinces a socialist mentality. Like many of his contemporaries, he was profoundly influenced by the advent of Darwinism. Through many of his novels, notably McTeague, runs a preoccupation with the notion of the civilized man overcoming the inner "brute", his animalistic tendencies.

E.Wharton an American novelist, short story writer, and designer. She wrote psychological novels about problems of aristocratic women who were confined to marriage and family life and protested against it.

The House of Mirth constitutes the first of many large-scale efforts to chronicle the true nature of old New York.

The National Beginnings Literature. The Colonial Period.

American Literature has roots in Indian culture. Indian culture was represented by orally transmitted myths, legends, epics, tales and songs. Native Americans' literary sources were pagan. Indian tribes worshiped animals, plants. American literature is the youngest literature, one of the richest influential literatures in the world. It was founded by white immigrants; it was under the influence of the English literature for a long time and cannot be called American proper. Early American Literature was puritan. Genres: interesting mixture of travel accounts and religious writings. The English described the colonization of the New World and first settlement in New England. First books - diaries, travel guides, dealing with the experience of new comers. Captain John Smith a real adventurer, who left descriptions of New England and Virginia, described one of the first settlement: Jamestown colony. He was a romantic, he beautified events (between fiction and non-fiction). His character - Pocahontas, an Indian girl, daughter of Indian chief. When he was taken prisoner, she saved his life. She was wise, intelligent, later she married an English gentleman and established a long period of peace.

There was a difference between New English and Southern colonies. The South rich plantation owners, they could buy books in England. There was no need to develop literature their own.

The North puritan settlers who came to form a society based on strict Christian beliefs. Early literature was religious. Puritan history literary work, drama struggle between Christ and Satan. The style is plain, serious, didactic, moralizing. Puritans laid the foundation of American capitalism hard work, striving for success, ambitions. They saw life as a test, failure leads to eternal death, success leads to heaven. Material success is a sign of election by God. First puritans were not democratic, they believed society should be based on strict laws and order. Those who didn't support it were persecuted (witch hunt). Topics are connected with border territories.

Mather family (Richard and his sons Increase and Cotton) made descriptions of witch trials. Anne Bradstreet is first American real poet. She wrote about religion, daily life, expressed love for her family, children.

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