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American
Literature
1700 - Present
American Literature
American literature has grown and been influenced by many
events and people who witnessed or were dire...
Rationalism
The rationalists era was also known as “The Age of Enlightenment or Age of
Reason.” The is was an era in our c...
Romanticism - Industrialization
America was moving away from its dependency upon other
countries. The Romantic Age lasted ...
Transcendentalism
Ralph Waldo Emerson and Louisa May Alcott are two great writers from the
Transcendental age in American ...
Modernism
This time period in America took place in the 1890’s shortly before the height of World
War 1 in 1918. It wa in ...
Harlem Renaissance
The Harlem Renaissance was an era known as “The New
Negro Renaissance.” It lasted roughly from 1920 to ...
Harlem Renaissance History
Literary Writers during the Harlem
Renaissance
Langston Hughes - Dreams, The Weary Blues, The Trumpet Player
Claude McKay ...
Contemporary (Post-modernism)
The contemporary era was also knows as the Post-modern
era. It began around 1950 and governs...
And the authors are:
Voltaire - Rationalism
Emily Dickinson - Romanticism
Walt Whitman - Romanticism
Nathaniel Hawthorne -...
Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830. She was one of
America’s most famous female writers during ...
Voltaire
Voltaire was a French philosopher,
poet, dramatist, and historian who
was born in Paris, France. Voltaire’
s work...
Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819. Whitman is known for his
style of writing that is different from other...
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born July 4. 1804 in
Salem, Massachusetts. Much of Hawthorne’s work
have a Pur...
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was famous for his thought-provoking American writing.
Although his ideas and acti...
Lorraine Hansberry
Lorraine Hansberry was born May 19, 1930 n Chicago, IL. She was the youngest
of four children. Lorraine...
Zora Neale
Hurston
Langston Hughes
Famous poems
● The Trumpet Player
● The Weary Blues
● Dreams
● Negro Speaks of Rivers
More information can...
Faulkner & Cisneros
http://www.life123.com/arts-culture/american-
authors/william-faulkner/william-faulkners-short-stories...
Amy Tan is a Chinese-American writer who has made
great contributions to American Literature through her
stories and accou...
References
All About History. (2014). Age of Reason - What was the Age of Reason? Retrieved from http://www.allabouthistor...
References
EOCT American Literature Study Guide. (n.d.). American Literature timeline. Retrieved from http://www.cobbk12.
...
References
“Walt Whitman.” (2010). Walt Whitman biography. Famous poets and poems. Retrieved from http://www.famouspoetsan...
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Langston, Hurston, Tan

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Basic information on American Literature

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Langston, Hurston, Tan

  1. 1. American Literature 1700 - Present
  2. 2. American Literature American literature has grown and been influenced by many events and people who witnessed or were directly involved in those events that shaped America. American Literature is comprised of the body of written works produced in the English language. A body of works that were shaped by the history of America (Blair, Dickstein, & Giles, 2013). These events surround our Constitution, Industrialization, Woman’s Suffrage, and others. And there are various writers that were greatly influenced by these events.
  3. 3. Rationalism The rationalists era was also known as “The Age of Enlightenment or Age of Reason.” The is was an era in our country’s history in which the Revolutionary War was coming to an end. The U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights were being adopted into our country’s legal governing laws. And the majority of all news and laws had influenced literature greatly. Authors like Thomas Paine and Voltaire were very popular. Very popular throughout the 18th century among the American colonies. The Age of Enlightenment was widely known for its belief of “science and industrialism. This was an era that no longer looked at being burned at the stake as a result of heresy. The Age of Reason was known as the era in which mankind was becoming ‘an open society’ where individuals were free to pursue individual happiness and liberties; new ideas in scientific thought and exploration” (All About.com, 2014). It was an era in which people began to see things differently and express their thoughts and ideas without reserve.
  4. 4. Romanticism - Industrialization America was moving away from its dependency upon other countries. The Romantic Age lasted from 1783 to 1830, however had a great impact on literature that is still very influential today. With religious freedom also brought individual freedom. Many people believed that the great secret of mortals is love (Smith, 2011). This was a time where individual freedom sparked value in one’s own feelings and reasoning. People began to have great faith in their inner experience and the power of their imagination. Poetry was the highest form of imagination and widely used to encourage “valued feeling, intuition, idealism, and inductive reasoning” (EOCT Study Guide, n.d.). The works of writers such as Washington Irving, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Walt Whitman were very popular during this time.
  5. 5. Transcendentalism Ralph Waldo Emerson and Louisa May Alcott are two great writers from the Transcendental age in American literature. Transcendental era in America focused in individualism and simplistic creativity. This era later became known as the American Renaissance. This was a period in the 19th century, during the years of 1840 to 1855 in which the principles for the “American Dream” as we know it today, was established. It is grounded in the “existence of pure forms of the sensibility and of the intellect that are essential to reason” (RUS, 2013, p. 247). Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of the great literary authors of this time. His work ‘Self Reliance” helped to explain this era of reasoning and understanding. It was also during this transcendental age that America was embarking on the abolitionists and women’s suffrage ideals. America was looking to the abolishment of slavery and the rights of women. Louisa May Alcott’s novel, “Little Women” became the first real account of life as a woman of four sister’s during the American Revloution.
  6. 6. Modernism This time period in America took place in the 1890’s shortly before the height of World War 1 in 1918. It wa in this time when people were looking for positive, more happy times due to the Great Depression. This era was known for the experimentation in literary form and expression. Modern experimentation brought on “the intense interaction between literature and other art forms such as paintings, sculpting, and music” (Matterson, 2003). American modernism came from the few expatriate cosmopolitan writers that were trying to internationalize literature. Along with other modernist writers who also developed a style that was embedded in American tradition. Writers like Lorraine Hansberry used their writing to call attention to those interested in American values and traditions; or in many cases, equality and fairness. This included the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. Literature during this time helped to connect the reader with reality.
  7. 7. Harlem Renaissance The Harlem Renaissance was an era known as “The New Negro Renaissance.” It lasted roughly from 1920 to the mid 1930’s, struggling through the Great Depression. In Harlem, NY is where southern blacks or African-Americans migrated from the south in order to find work and a new way of life after slavery. The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement amongst black in music, literature, and the arts. Harlem was eventually known as the epicenter for artistic explosion among African-American culture (Foner & Garraty, 2009). This movement gave “African-Americans the ability to express their freedom, racial pride, and want for equality, and hope for a better future. These elements that expressed the hardships of slavery and racism, and how many African=Americans were searching for a new identity” (Gamble, 2008). African-Americans had their own little piece of America in the big city of Harlem. Here in Harlem, literary authors such as Alain Locke, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and others were able to flourish and flaunt their talents in a manner that would make the whole world stand-up and take notice. photo courtesy of http://harlemrenaissancegamblec.blogspot.com/2008/05/harlem- renaissance-background.html.
  8. 8. Harlem Renaissance History
  9. 9. Literary Writers during the Harlem Renaissance Langston Hughes - Dreams, The Weary Blues, The Trumpet Player Claude McKay - Harlem: A Negro Metropolis Zora Neale Hurston - Their Eyes Were Watching God W. E. B. Dubois - The Souls of Black Folks
  10. 10. Contemporary (Post-modernism) The contemporary era was also knows as the Post-modern era. It began around 1950 and governs our present state of literature and the arts today. Contemporary or postmodern literature focuses less on the self-conscious and more on duplication. Our post-modern era today is “influenced by studies of the media, language, trends, and modern technology. It is a culture that copies and duplicates others, incorporating and experimenting with the combination of fiction and nonfiction, as well as the physical appearance of a literary work (EOCT Study Guide, n.d.). Writer’s such as James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Amy Tan, Sandra Cisneros and many, many others made it possible for new authors such as Eric Jerome Dickey, E. L. James, Stephanie Meyer, and many others to be creative and go beyond traditional writing. While contemporary writing once looked at capturing the ideals of the world around them, this literary world has grown. In both fiction and non-fiction contemporary writing covers so many aspects of life.
  11. 11. And the authors are: Voltaire - Rationalism Emily Dickinson - Romanticism Walt Whitman - Romanticism Nathaniel Hawthorne - Romanticism Ralph Waldo Emerson - Transcendentalism Lorraine Hansberry - Modernism William Faulkner - Modernism Zora Neale Hurston - Harlem Renaissance Langston Hughes - Harlem Renaissance Amy Tan - Contemporary (Post-modernism) Sandra Cisneros - Contemporary (Post-modernism)
  12. 12. Emily Dickinson Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830. She was one of America’s most famous female writers during a time when women weren’t allowed the freedom to be a writer. Dickinson like most women during this time spent most of her days in isolation. This is where most of her writing took place. It wasn’t until after her death however, that her poems and manuscripts became public.
  13. 13. Voltaire Voltaire was a French philosopher, poet, dramatist, and historian who was born in Paris, France. Voltaire’ s works were the examples of his acceptance and fondness for English thought; the relationship between free government and wealth. Because of his own persecutions from his father and society, Voltaire spent the majority of his life securing justice for victims of persecutions or intense harassment. Voltaire’s most famous work is “Candide.” This story make fun or satirizes the subtleties of noble birth as Voltaire believed in free will.
  14. 14. Walt Whitman Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819. Whitman is known for his style of writing that is different from others and peculiar to only him. His writings are full of meaning, beauty, and interest (Famous poets, 2010). Leaves of Grass is one of Walt Whitman’s most famous collection of poems. His work is very influential on American literature from the romantic age. Like Emily Dickinson, his work focuses widely on the ideas of individual freedom and the acknowledgement of feelings and reasoning.
  15. 15. Nathaniel Hawthorne Nathaniel Hawthorne was born July 4. 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts. Much of Hawthorne’s work have a Puritan influence because of his upbringing. Most is most famous for his novel, “The Scarlet Letter.” This novel is said to be Hawthorne’s magnum opus. Photos courtesy of www.sk.wikipedia.org Photo http: //lengual11eraria. wikispaces.com
  16. 16. Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson was famous for his thought-provoking American writing. Although his ideas and actions were seen as unconventional, yet his work was looked at as brilliant and positive. He became America’s leading transcendentalist, as he “believed in a reality and a knowledge that rose above the everyday reality that America was accustomed to” (Emerson, 2015). In his work ‘Self-Reliance’ that we are reading in this assignment, Emerson attempts to explain his beliefs in the inborn goodness of man, the joys of nature, and their spiritual significance, and a universal God. These beliefs are very evident in many of Emerson’s works. Because Emerson was America’s leading essayist for almost half a century, he was mourned greatly by America and most of the Western world. Emerson is often described as “one of the wisest, most sincere, and a bearer of the possibility of the human spirit” (Emerson, 2015)
  17. 17. Lorraine Hansberry Lorraine Hansberry was born May 19, 1930 n Chicago, IL. She was the youngest of four children. Lorraine Hansberry was a playwright whose novel “A Raisin in the Sun” became the “first drama by an African-american woman to be produced on Broadway” (BHS, 2011). It’s controversial subject of racism, survival, and the need to want a better life came from what she called a “hellish hostile white neighborhood” that she grew up in. “A Raisin in the Sun” is a novel that shows the struggle to financial freedom and acceptance for blacks by white America. The struggle comes from the main characters inability to move forward from his current job, living situation, and life as a black man, until his pride kicks in and he is left with no choice. This novel was one of Lorraine Hansberry’s most famous works. Lorraine Hansberry was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 1963. She continued to write and be active in civil rights and other political causes. Right before her death, hansberry completed a work, “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” that would go on to open at Broadway’s Longacre Theater in 1964. It closed when she died in 1965. After her death, a collection of unfinished pieces, letters, and diary entries were adapted into a play -- “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black.” It became the longest running of Broadway plays that season. It was later published into a book (BHS, 2011).
  18. 18. Zora Neale Hurston
  19. 19. Langston Hughes Famous poems ● The Trumpet Player ● The Weary Blues ● Dreams ● Negro Speaks of Rivers More information can be found at : http://www.biography.com/people/langston_huges-936313 http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/langston_hughes.
  20. 20. Faulkner & Cisneros http://www.life123.com/arts-culture/american- authors/william-faulkner/william-faulkners-short-stories. shtml. OR http://www.famousauthors.org/william-faulkner. Sandra Cisneros is a favorite author of the Hispanic-American community. She has written several novels for young adults and continues to be a writer and activist through her work for women’s rights. More information can be found at http://www. famousauthors.org/sandra-cisneros and http://www. sandracisneros.com/major_works.php?work=house photo courtesy of http://www.famousauthors. org/william-faulkner
  21. 21. Amy Tan is a Chinese-American writer who has made great contributions to American Literature through her stories and accounts of life in China from her mother and her families perspective. She has written several adult books and many children’s novels as well. Amy Tan is still alive and well and she is still writing. For more information about her you can visit - http://www.amytanauthor.com/ and http://www.biography.com/people/amy-tan-9542574 (photo on this slide was borrowed from the latter web link) Amy Tan
  22. 22. References All About History. (2014). Age of Reason - What was the Age of Reason? Retrieved from http://www.allabouthistory.org/age-of- reason.htm. BHS. (2011). Lorraine Hansberry. Black History Now. Black History Biographies from the Black heritage Commemorative Society. Retrieved from http://blackhistorynow.com/lorraine-hansberry. Blair, W., Dickstein, M., & Giles, J. R. (2013). American Literature. Academic Room. Retrieved from http://www.academicroom. com/topics/what-is-american-literature. Boyd, V. (2015). The Official website of Zora Neale Hurston. Sonnet Media -- The Estate of Zora Neale Hurston. Retrieved from http://www.zoranealehurston.com. “Emerson.” (2015). Ralph Waldo Emerson Biography. Encyclopedia of World Biography online. Retrieved from http://www. notablebiographies.com/DU-Fi/Emerson-ralp-Waldo.html.
  23. 23. References EOCT American Literature Study Guide. (n.d.). American Literature timeline. Retrieved from http://www.cobbk12. org/pope/Academics/EOCT%20Review/EOCT%20American%20Lit%20timeline%20study%20guide. pdf. Foner, E. & Garraty, J. A. Eds. (2009). Harlem Renaissance. History.com: A + E Networks. Retrieved from http://www.history. com/topics/black-history/harlem-renaissance. Gamble, C. (2008). Harlem renaissance - background information. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http: //harlemrenaissancegamblec.blogspot.com/2008/05/harlem-renaissance-back-ground.html. Matterson, S. (2003). American literature: 1890-1940s Modernism. Educational broadcasting corp: Thirteen/WNET New York. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americannovel/tmeline/modernism.html. RUS, Dana. (2013). The role of transcendentalism in shaping American culture ideology. Studia Universitatis Petri Maior -- Philogia. Iss. 14. pp. 247-254. Retrieved via Ashford University library, Accession No. 90240450.
  24. 24. References “Walt Whitman.” (2010). Walt Whitman biography. Famous poets and poems. Retrieved from http://www.famouspoetsandpoems. com/poet/Walt_whitman/biography.

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