History and Anthology of American Literature • Part I. The Literature of Colonial America • Part II. The Literature of Reason and Revolution • Part III. The Literature of Romanticism
How to Define American Literature • Definition: • American literature is the literature produced in American English by American citizens. • Basic qualities of American Writers: • independent • individualistic • critical • innovative • humorous
How to define American Literature • Anylytical approach • Thematic approach • Historical approach
List of Works • Sherwood Anderson Winsburg, Ohio • James Baldwin Go Tell It on the Mountain • Saul Bellow Seize the Day, Henderson the Rain King • William S. Burroughs The Naked lunch • Willa Cather My Antonia • Kate Chopin The Awakening • Stephen Crane The Red Badge of Courage
Theodore Dreiser Sister Carrie, An American Tragedy • Ralph Ellison Invisible Man • William Faulkner Go Down, Moses, The Sound and the Fury • F.Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby • Alex Haley Roots
Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter • Joseph Heller Catch-22 • Ernest Hemingway The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Sea • James Jones From Here to Eternity • Maxine Hong Kingston The Woman Warrior • Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird • Sinclair Lewis Main Street
Jack London The Call of the Wild, MartinEden • Norman Mailer The Naked and the Dead • Carson McCullers The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter • James A.Michener Cennennial • Margaret Mitchell Gone with the Wind • Toni Morrison The Bluest Eye
Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn • Alice Walker The Color Purple • Robert Penn Warren All the King’s Men • Edith Wharton The Age of Innocence • Thornton Wolfe Look Homeward, Angel • Herman Wouk The Winds of War • Richard Wright Native Son
Vladimir Nabokov Lolita • Frank Norris The Ocopus • J.D.Salinger The Catcher in the Rye • Erich Segal Man, Woman and Child • Upton Sinclair The Jungle • John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath • Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom’s Cabin • William Styron Sophie’s Choice
Mark Twain The Adventurous of Huckberry Finn • Alice Walker The Color Purple • Rober Penn Warren All the King’s Men • Edith Wharton The Age of Innocence • Thomas Wolfe Look Homeward, Angel • Herman Wouk The Winds of War • Richard Right Native Son
Part I. The Literature of Colonial America • Historical Introduction • Early American writers and Poets • Puritan • Puritanism
Part I. Historical Introduction • I. The native American and their culture– Indians • II. The historical background of the colonial Time • ChristopherColumbus discovered the American continent in 1491. • Captain Christopher Newport reached Virginia in 1607. • Puritans came the New England area, by Mayflower in 1619. • The first settlement was established in Plymouth in 1620.
Early American Writers and Poets • South, Jamestown, Virginia: • Captain John Smith---first American writer 8 works • Contributions: his description of America were filled with themes, myths, images, scenes, characters and events that were a foundation for the nation’s literature. He lured the Pilgrims into fleeing here and creating a New land. • North, New England, Puritan Writers • William Bradford: first governor of Plymouth, The History of Plymouth Plantation, simplicity, earnestness, direct reporting, readable, moving. • John Winthrop: first governor of Boston, The History of New England, candid simplicity, honesty • Two Poets: Anne Bradstreet, Edward Taylor
Puritans • One division of English Protestant. They regarded the reformation of the church under Elizabeth as incomplete, and called for further purification from what they considered to be unscriptural and corrupt forms and ceremonies retained from the unreformed church. • The 17th century American Puritans included two parts: Separatists and Massachusetts Bay Group • Their Religious Doctrines: original sin, total depravity, predestination and limited atonement through a special infusion of grace from God. • They regarded themselves as chosen people of God. They embraced hardships, industry and frugality. They favored a disciplined, hard, somber, ascetic and harsh life. They opposed arts and pleasure. They suspect joy and laughter as symptoms of sin.
Puritanism • A religious and political movement. Through it, one sees emerging the right of the individual to political and religious independence. • Their religious doctrines: original sin, total depravity, predestination, limited atonement. • Their attitudes toward entertainment: joy and laughter are symptoms of sin. • Their attitudes toward work: work itself is a good in addition to what it achieves, that time saved by efficiency or good fortune should be spent in doing further work.
Puritanism’s influence on American literature • Purpose: pragmatic • Contents: practical matter-of-fact accounts of life in the new world; highly theoretical discussions of religious questions. • Form: diary, autobiography, sermon, letter • Style: tight and logic structure, precise and compact expression, avoidance of rhetorical decoration, adoption of homely imagery, simplicity of diction.
Part II. The Literature of Reason and Revolution • Historical Introduction • Benjamin Franklin • Thomas Paine • Thomas Jefferson • Philip Freneau
Part II. Historical Introduction(1) • Industrial Revolution: spurred the economy in American colonies. • Independence War: the industrial growth led to intense strain with Britain. The British government tried to suppress their growth economically, and ruled them from abroad politically and levied heavy tax on them. these aroused bitter resentment in colonies. Constant conflicts resulted in American revolutionary war.
Part II. Historical Introduction (2) • Spiritual life of the colonies—Enlightenment. • Philosophical and intellectual movement. • Advocated reason or rationality, the scientific method, equality and human beings’ability to perfect themselves and their society. • Agreed on faith in human rationality and existence of discoverable and universally valid principles governing human beings, nature and society. • Opposed intolerance, restraint, spiritual authority and revealed religion
Benjamin Franklin (1) • The only good writer of the colonial period. • Printer, enlightener, inventor, scientist, statesman, diplomat • Aid Jefferson in writing The Declaration of Independence. • Seeking help from France in American Independent War.
Main Works: Poor Richard’s Almanac It contains many proverbs Autobiography With it he set the form for autobiography as a genre. Style: he developed an utilitarian and didactic style. His style is characterized by simplicity, frankness, wit, clarity, logic and order. Benjamin Franklin (2)
Benjamin Franklin (3) • Autobiography: inspiring account of a poor boy’s rise to a high position. It is a how-to-do-it book, one on the art of self-improvement. • Contents: It covered Franklin’s life only until 1757 when he was 51 years old. It described his life as a shrewd and industrious businessman and narrates how he owned the constant felicity of his life, his long-continued health and acquisition of fortune. • Significance: It presents a prototype of American success which inspired generations of Americans. It is an embodiment of Puritanism and enlightening spirits.
Benjamin Franklin (4) • Analysis of Selected Parts • A. 3 paras a. He was interested in reading as a child. • b. Being an apprentice to his brother, he began writing. • c. How he improved his argumentation. • Summary: Franklin was thirsty for knowledge and improved his writing with practical methods. How he gained success through one’s consistent effort and hard working. (self-improvement/education) • B. 5 paras a. The way of learning language. • b. Practice makes perfect---a piece of advice on how to teach language. • c/d. Relations with his relatives. Life experience. • e. Learning Club: devoted on the improvement of young man, influence public opinion. Summary: Franklin was a practical, diligent man. In learning language, he had a great power of endurance and clever mind. He always tried his best to achieve his goal, no matter in life or study. (self-reliance)
Why Franklin is admired and read widely? • He is a typical American, model of the self-made man, a cultural hero whose life exemplified the American dream of the poor boy who made good. • He stressed the importance of working hard to make money, happiness depending in the first place on economic success and optimistically believed that every American could do so. • He was convinced that no man could be virtuous or happy unless he did his best to improve the life of his society and his own life.
Why say Franklin is the representative of American Enlightenment? • 1.He believed in reason or rationality, the scientific method, equality and human beings’ ability to perfect themselves and their society. • 2. He opposed intolerance, restraint, spiritual authority and revealed religion. Deist • 3. He favored the education. Self-education, educating and disseminating knowledge among people by his newspaper and Autobiography, establishing learning club, college and library. • 4. He favored freedom of thoughts. He set up the ideas of democracy in the USA.
Thomas Paine (1) • Propagandist, pamphleteer, a master of persuasion who understands the power of language to move a man to action. • Main works: • The American Crisis • Common Sense • The rights of man • The Age of Reason
Thomas Paine (2) • Study of the Selected Part • 1. In what sense does Paine use the verb “try” in the first sentence of the essay? • Paine used the word in the sense of “test to the limit”, “subject to great hardships”. • 2. To what 3 types of criminal does Paine indirectly compare George III? What is Paine’s attitude toward the British troops? • 3. What does the writer think of the Tories? • 4. What does Paine mean by an offensive war? What reasons does he give for not supporting such a war? • 5. What kind of war does he believe the American revolution to be? • 6. How do you understand the title of the essay?
Thomas Jefferson (1) • Enlightener, planter, aristocrat, lawyer, a symbol of American democracy. • Man of many talents: scientist, inventor, musician, linguist, architect, diplomat and writer.
ThomasJefferson(2) • Political Career: He served his country as Minister to France(1784-1789), Secretary of State(1789-1793), Vice President(1791-1801) and third President(1801-1809). • Thoughts: Jeffersonian Democracy, which includes faith in the individual and common man, dislike an overly strong government, and emphasis on the importance of education and on agrarianism and land ownership as they brought responsibility and true judgment. Politically, he is considered the father of the democratic spirit in his country. The society he thought of as ideal was one where landowning farmers could live under as little government as possible. • Style: dignity, flexibility, clarity, command of generalization
ThomasJefferson(3) • The Declaration of Independence: The essay, adopted July 4, 1776, not only announced the birth of a new nation, but also set forth a philosophy of human freedom which served as unimportant force in the western world. • It is a statement of American principles and a review of the Causes of the quarrel with Britain, presented the American view to the world with classic dignity. • It instilled among the common people a sense of their own importance and inspired struggle for personal freedom, self government and a dignified place in society.
Father of American Poetry Teacher, political journalist, seaman, humanitarian, polemist, propagandist, satirist, loyal follower of Jefferson Main Works: The Rising Glory of America (1772) The British Prison Ship (1781) The Wild Honey Suckle (1786) The Indian Burying Ground (1788) Philip Freneau (1)
The Wild Honey Suckle • It is a deistic celebration of nature, romantic use of simple nature imagery, inspired by themes of death and transience. Much of the beauty of the poem lies in the sounds of the words and the effects created through changes in rhythm. • Flower vs Human Being, Duration vs Life • Show us how to live an useful life. • In a revolution, one should not do nothing for his country for fear of being hurt, harmed and destroyed.
Summary of each stanza • Stanza 1 The first Stanza of the poem treats the advantages as well as disadvantages of the flower’s modest retirement—it is designed with beauty and well protected in solitude; whereas its beauty might be admired by few. • Stanza 2 The second stanza suggests that the honey suckle bears a special relationship with nature which has advised it to keep away from “vulgar eye”, it has sent the soft waters flowing
Gently by. However, in spite of all the nature’s kindness, the flower can not escape its doom. The best time of its life is fading, for death is waiting. • Stanza 3 The third stanza reveals the indifference of nature---the “unpitying frosts” are as much a part of nature as the “spft waters”. Thus, the notion that nature has provided a “guardian shade” for the protection of the honey suckle is a sentimental fancy.
It is relative, but death is absolute. • Stanza 4: In the fourth stanza, the poet sees his fate mirrored in that of the flower. Human beings, as any other creatures or flowers, are a part of nature. They originated from nature and will surely return to nature some day, thus their reduction to nature in the day ahead will constiture no real loss.
Historical Introduction Washington Irving James Fenimore Cooper William Cullen Bryant Edgar Allan Poe Ralph Waldo Emerson Henry David Thoreau Nathaniel Hawthorne Herman Melville Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Part III. The Literature of Romanticism
Part III. Historical Introduction • Stability, Prosperity, Freedom • Geographically, America expanded its frontier. Economically, it began the industrialization and urbanization. Politically, people enjoyed more freedom. Culturally, cultural business prospered. • Literary Ideas:Romanticism and Transcendentalism
Romanticism (1) • 2 stages: pre-romanticism (1770s-1830) post-romanticism(1830-60,65-75) Rise of Romanticism: appeared in England in the 18th century. Reaction against the prevailing neoclassical spirit and rationalism during the Age of Reason.
Romanticism (2) • Moral enthusiasm: passion, emotion, fancy and imagination. • Faith in the value of individualism and intuitive perception: display personalities, express feelings and ideas, stress men’s rights for freedom and happiness. Human nature is of good will. Man can know the world through his own ability/conscience/intuition. • Nature was a source of goodness and man’s societies a source of corruption.
Romanticism (3) • The literary works of romanticism mostly reflected the fantastic and thrilling stories taking place long ago and far away, rich in mystic color. The romantic had a persistent interest in the primitive literature, in which he found inspiration of various kind. • The romantic showed a profound admiration and love for nature. The beauty and perfection of nature could produce in him unspeakable joy and exaltation.
Transcendentalism (1) • Appeared in 1830, marked the maturity of American romanticism and the first renaissance in the American literary history. • The term was derived from the Latin verb transcendere: to rise above , to pass beyond the limits. • Rise of Transcendentalism: the product of combination of foreign influence (German idealistic philosopher, neo-Platonism, Oriental mysticism, Confucius and Mencius) and American native Puritan tradition.
Transcendentalism(2) romantic idealism, philosophical romanticism • Spirit or Oversoul: the universe is composed of Nature and Soul. Spirit is everywhere. • Individualism: the most important element in society, the divinity of individual. • Nature: is a connecting link between God and man. It is a symbol of the Spirit. • Community living and dignity of manual labor. • Relying on Intuition and Conscience, man can transcend the limits of the senses and of logic and directly receive higher truths and greater knowledge denied to more mundane methods of knowing.
Ralph Waldo Emerson(1) • Transcendentalist Bring Transcendentalism to New England • Believe in individualism, independence of mind, self-reliance • Prose, poetry, speech
Reading Nature • Para 1: Nature has a restorative, comforting, purifying influence on Men. • Para 2: Nature is sublime, respectable, kind, profound and inspiring. • Para 3: The definition of Nature. • Para 4/5: Men always feel delightful and young in Nature. • Para 6: The power of delight resides in men or in a harmony of both.
Washington Irving (1) • Father of American Short Stories • First American author to make a living by his pen, first great prose stylist of American romanticism,. • author of the first American short stories and familiar essays. • the first American author of imaginative literature to achieve international distinction
Main Works: The Sketch Book Tales of a Traveler, The Life of George Washington Style: simplicity, lucidity, poise and ease flow, discursive and leisurely, slow, graceful presentation, careful phrases and cadences. Washington Irving (2)
Washington Irving (3) • Significance: his literary innovations • 1)author of first modern American short stories and the first great American juvenile literature. It was him who introduced the familiar essayfrom Europe to America. • 2)He ranked among the first of the modern men of letters towrite history and biography as literary entertainment. • 3)He was the leaders of the world-wide Romantic Movement. • 4)His humor, which gave an impetus to the growth and popularity of American indigenous humor. His humor was always well-meaning, mild and prone to be accepted. • 5) Irving’s genial writing also improved the feeling of American toward the British.
Washington Irving (4) • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: tells a miraculous story about the unsuccessful love affair of Ichabod Crane, a country teacher, which is combined with the legend of a headless horseman. The two stories share legendary elements, which the critics either interpret as an expression of the author’s conservative attitude toward the American Revolution and his nostalgia for the life before the Revolution, or doubt for their credibility.
James Fenimore Cooper(1789-1851) • Cooper’s life experiences: Cooper town Yale college sailor Precation(1820) The Spy(1821) The Pioneers （1823） • His literary achievements: thirty two novels social critic—conservative themes in his novels are wildness vs civilization, freedom vs law, order vs change, aristocratic vs democrat, and natural rights vs legal rights. • He developed three kind of novels: 1. novels about revolutionary past. The Spy. 2. sea novels: The Pilot(1824) 3. Novels about American frontier • Leatherstocking series: Natty bumppo—an ideal, innocence and purity， wildness and the frontier for the first time
Understanding the selected chapter • The plot of the novel--- The Last of Mohicans • Hawkeye Chingachgook Uncas Magua • Monro and his two daughters Alice and Cora Major Duncan David