AMERICAN LITERARY HISTORY. THE NEW LAND (1500-1800) LITERARY NATIONALISM(AMERICAN CLASSIC) (1800-1870) NEW FORMS (1870-1915) THE INTERWAR PERIOD (1915-1945) MODERNISM (1945 –1980) POSTMODERNISM (1980 -). THE NEW LAND (1500-1800). HISTORY:
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THE NEW LAND (1500-1800)
LITERARY NATIONALISM(AMERICAN CLASSIC) (1800-1870)
NEW FORMS (1870-1915)
THE INTERWAR PERIOD (1915-1945)
MODERNISM (1945 –1980)
POSTMODERNISM (1980 -)
a) Fascination with the wilderness(needed to civilize the new land > ’the lonely hero’ who is able to survive in the wilderness)
b) A devotion to fair government(the European Americans did not want to reinstitute the feudal system of Europe>e.g. large-scalebanking made it possible for middleclasspeople to establishtheirownbusinesses)
c) A concernwithpracticalaffairs(needed to survivewhile ’civilizing’ the new land)
In Hector de Crevecoeur’sWhat is an American? The riddle of nationhood and identity is discussed - thiswouldalsobecome a central theme for most American writers to come.
a) Physically/psychologically: The new settlers had increased the nation by settling/civilizing an increasingnumber of squaremiles and in the minds of peopletherewasalways new land to beexplored and settled. Youwerealwaysable to beginanew.
b) Culturally: America had beencritized for not producing ’American Culture’ and it stung the national pride > appearance of new distinctively American literatureappeared:
The frontiercharacter/heroic action/The beauty of nature/The celebration of the common/thehumanitarianspirit
The Puritans’ belief in the notion of the original sin and determinismwerereplaced by Emerson’stranscendentalism. The new focuswas upon the beliefs in the basicgoodness and innatefreewill of the individual. The transcendent (or spiritual) reality ratherthan the materialworld, is the ultimate reality. Individualism and self-relianceareimportanttraits.
a) Ralph Waldo Emerson is thought to have discovered/inventedtranscendentalisme.g. Nature and Self-reliance
b) Henry D. Thoreau was a goodfriend of Emerson’s and healsoopposed the conformity to values of society, when it conflictedwith his ownvalues. Withdrawal and contemplation of nature were his dogmase.g. Walden and Civil Disobedience (M. Gandhi wasinspired by Thoreau whendeveloping his techniques of passive resistance)
b) Peace><wars (World War I and II)
a) Rearranged time sequences
b) A focusonuneventful, but emotionallycrucial moments
c) Stream-of-consciousnessnarration (inspired by new psychological studies)