|Littérature US résumé
I.Puritanism in American Literature
The Puritans had a profound effect upon American culture. As a political, social, and cultural force, Puritanism lasted until around 1728. At this point the center of the country began a shift to the south. The “Age of Reason” was also ushered in by way of European social philosophy. Many other historical forces impacted the movement of America away from a religious haven towards an economic and political powerhouse.
The puritanical strands of religious thought and moral judgment continue to influence, in varying degrees, the social and political thinking in America.
Background of Puritanism
1620 - William Bradford came with a group of individuals from Europe and formed Plymouth Plantation. In the Fall of 1620 there were 101 men, women, and children present. By the Spring of 1621 there were only 50 survivors.
1628 - John Winthrop and followers came over from Europe in order to establish a “pure” religious movement.
The Puritans believed in the innate depravity of man. They also believed that some people were “predestined” to experience an afterlife with God. Only the “elect” or “chosen” were in a good relationship with God.
The Puritans believed that God was working in their daily lives.
The Puritans would “search” their daily lives in order to find any symbols from God.
The puritans were educated and taught their followers to be rational thinkers.
The Puritans believed in effective business practices but they also preached a separation from worldly pleasures.
The Puritans feared that humanistic learning would draw people away from the church. They were right about this!
This fundamental Puritan belief became complicated because it had to be determined who belonged to the group of “chosen” people.
How did Puritanism relate to literature?
There are many opinions about this question. Some would argue that American literature simply grew out of changing historical factors that had little or nothing to do with the religious questioning done by the Puritans. Others argue that the Puritans’ practice of examining their lives for acts of good and evil naturally shifted into creative writing and imaginative expressions. Still, the question becomes whether Puritan writing should be seen as simply historic documentation, or does their writing have literary merit???
Puritans wrote diaries in which they would often find spiritual meaning in what might be considered simple coincidences. The Puritans begin to see the Indians as “devils.” The Puritans’ success at defeating Indians on certain occasions was seen as a justification from God for killing Indians.
The Salem Witch Trials would become another episode of reading into the “religious meaning” of a situation.
The way Puritans express themselves changes as the strict codes of Puritan behavior changes. ARE THE PURITAN WRITERS AWARE OF WHAT THEIR WRITING IS BECOMING?
Anne Bradstreet’s poetry
Michael Wigglesworth's poetry
Edward Taylor's writing
Cotton Mather’s later writings
The above writers moved away from the strict questioning of what spiritual symbols are taking place in their lives . They began to use European poetic styles in their writing.
Questions to Consider
Is their movement towards more imaginative uses of language a break with the past? Are these writers simply reflecting the changing world around them?
By 1660 only 20% of the population of Massachusetts was a member of the church. The struggle between the secular (non-religious) aspects of daily life and the religious life was growing.
1662 - The “Half Way Covenant” was proposed in order to allow new members into the church. The former strict Puritan behavior and examination of daily life was ending.
Capitan John Smith: (1580-1631) he was not a Puritan he was an adventurer, explorer and a trader. He founded ‘James Town’ 1607. Captain John Smith was the very first explorer to write about his adventures in America. He wrote a book A description of New England published in, he also wrote a general history of Virginia published in 1624 in this book he tells about his exploits with the Indian princess Pocahontas.
William Brad Ford: (1590-1657) he participated in the may flower expedition and was governor of the Plymouth colony, his book called the history of Plymouth written between 1630-1657 tells about the origins of the separatist movement in England, the may flower expedition, the settling of Plymouth and about life in colony. The style is characteristic of the time, it is rich with images and strongly influenced by the Bible. Brad Ford’s story is about of a chosen people exiles in the wilderness struggling against adversity in Americans national conscious.
Thomas Morton: (1597-1647) he is someone who did not follow the rules of the theocracy. In the Puritan colony of Plymouth he traded rhum and arms, he associated with the Indians and organized a maypole at the merry mount.the book Morton wrote about this was the New England Canaan. This book is the first American satire. Morton used a mock heroic tone to make light of the customs and the behavior of the Puritans in Massachusetts.
At the end of the 17th century Puritanism began to decline for two reasons 1, because of the increase in wealth of individual and 2 because of repeated attacks against Calvinist doctrine. In order to counter this trend historical works were written to affirm the providential nature and the exemplary character of the Puritan experience in the New World. (Divine providence is God conceived a power sustaining and guiding human destiny)
Cotton Mather (1663- 1728) he wrote a book a history of the wonderful works of Christ in America published in 1702. this book trace the history of puritan in the world in order to sing the praises of Christ and exempt the works of his servants. No one described more movingly the hopes of the first generation of puritan but him.
II . Colonial Literature
Some of the earliest forms of American literature were pamphlets and writings extolling the benefits of the colonies to both a European and colonist audience. Captain John Smith could be considered the first American author with his works: A True Relation of ... Virginia ... (1608) and The General Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles (1624). Other writers of this manner included Daniel Denton, Thomas Ashe, William Penn, George Percy, William Strachey, John Hammond, Daniel Coxe, Gabriel Thomas, and John Lawson.
The religious disputes that prompted settlement in America were also topics of early writing. A journal written by John Winthrop discussed the religious foundations of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Edward Winslow also recorded a diary of the first years after the Mayflower's arrival. Other religiously influenced writers included Increase Mather and William Bradford, author of the journal published as a History of Plymouth Plantation, 1620–47. Others like Roger Williams and Nathaniel Ward more fiercely argued state and church separation.
Some poetry also existed. Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor are especially noted. Michael Wigglesworth wrote a best-selling poem, The Day of Doom, describing the time of judgment. Nicholas Noyes was also known for his doggerel verse.
Other early writings described conflicts and interaction with the Indians, as seen in writings by Daniel Gookin, Alexander Whitaker, John Mason, Benjamin Church, and Mary Rowlandson. John Eliot translated the Bible into the Algonquin language.
Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield represented the Great Awakening, a religious revival in the early 18th century that asserted strict Calvinism. Other Puritan and religious writers include Thomas Hooker, Thomas Shepard, Uriah Oakes, John Wise, and Samuel Willard. Less strict and serious writers included Samuel Sewall, Sarah Kemble Knight, and William Byrd.
The revolutionary period also contained political writings, including those by colonists Samuel Adams, Josiah Quincy, John Dickinson, and Joseph Galloway, a loyalist to the crown. Two key figures were Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine. Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin are esteemed works with their wit and influence toward the formation of a budding American identity. 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.
During the revolution itself, poems and songs such as "Yankee Doodle" and "Nathan Hale" were popular. Major satirists included John Trumbull and Francis Hopkinson. Philip Morin Freneau also wrote poems about the war's course.
III .Reason and revolution 1765-1820
Throughout the 18th century the influence of the Puritanism declined and the doctrine of reason and Deism spread. The marvels of supernatural world, the extraordinary manifestation of provident -----
That had terrorized the puritan soul in the preceding ---- gave a way to the doctrine of reason. People believed reason and common sense not religion would save men. Two assumptions held to be true by the most 18th century Americans, 1. The perfectibility of man and, 2. The prospect of man’s future progress. One of the consequences in terms of art and literature was a fascination for balance and restraint.
The Federal age did not favour the description of emotions and inner conflicts; literature was not turned towards the analysis of self but towards more rational aims.
By 1800 most of the books read in America were imported from England. These works were mainly novels of sentimental and gothic types and they were much enjoyed by the growing public of women readers. This popularity of British literature was partially due to the lack of the genuine copyright law in America. It was much easier to publish pirated edition of English works than to pay an American author.
Literature and society:
Much of the imaginative energy of the second half of the 18th century was expanded in correcting institutional injustices like that with the tyranny of monarchy. Few dealt it with application of intelligence, thus, the desire for freedom from British rule inflamed the colonies. The deceleration of independence of July 4th 1776 was the direct result of the events of the preceding decade. One of the main causes of the colonists’ discontent was what they considered to be unjust taxation. The stamp act 1764 which taxed all newspapers, legal documents and licenses infuriated Bostonians and resulted in the burning of the governor’s palace in Virginia. Patrick Henry 1736-1799, spoke furbontly against taxation without representation, in 1770 a Boston mob was fired upon by British soldiers. Three years later the famous ‘Boston tea party’ occurred, an act which drew hard lives in the matter of acceptance for British rule. Finally, Thomas Paine’s pamphlet ‘Common sense’ published in 1776 gave the needed push for revolution.
Literature in the revolutionary period:
All of the literary energy of the period was devoted to exalting the virtues of democracy. Prose about civil rights and poetry was patriotic.
Three essential authors of the period:
Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790: he takes part of the Enlightenment. He was a rational man of the 18thC, his mind approved and his behaviour demonstrated the fundamental concepts of the age of reason;
One, faith in the rarity of world as revelled to the senses,
Two, distrust of the mystical or mysterious
Three, confidence in the attainment of the progress by education and humanitarianism
Four, the assurance that an appeal to reason would provide solution to all human problems including those of the society and stake. Franklin was a man of many trades and many talents; he was a printer, an author, a diplomat, a philosopher, a scientist and an inventor
Thomas Paine, he was the prodigy of Benjamin Franklin, Paine was the author of the two most popular books in 18th century America. He writes for the cause of independence, his pamphlet ‘Common sense’ published in the country to awake immediate independence from British. he wrote the rights of man published in 1791-1792. Paine was charged with treason and he fled to France where the French government gave him citizenship and where he acted as a spokesman for the French Revolution. In his third book the age of reason published in 1794 he attempted to define his beliefs he was however accused of attaching Christianity and conventional society.
Thomas Jefferson 1743-1823, he was the third president of US, he was the secretary of state and minister to France. He was governor of Virginia and also a congress man.. He compiled the series of essay as he called Jeffersonian aggrasim. Deism and democracy combined to engender the Jeffersoniam ideal of a pastoral.
Portraits of America:
William Bartram, 1739-1823, he depicted the southern colonies in his book called the travels of William Bartram .Bartram depicts America of generous nature and the American society of the future. Nature constituted for him the cradle of a new social order.
James Hector John, 1735-1813, during the two decades before the American Revolution, he was one of the most enthusiastic interpreters of the ancient American society. His best known work the letters from the American farmer published in 1782 opened three fundamental prospects in the American tradition. Firstly, consisted in affirm ness, and the singularity of America which was not a simple extension of America but real nation. Secondly, exalts the independence of character and the personal energy of the American people, thirdly, explores a recurrent theme in American literature that of interspatial.
He exemplifies a number of ideas, subscribed to some degree idealism of natural man when free and subject to corruption only but artificial urban society. He was anticlerical.
Royal Tyler, 1757-1826, he wrote a play the contrast in 1787, which was in the vain of the English comedy of manners.
Phillip Freneau; 1752-1832, his recurrent vision was that of glorious future in which America would fulfill the collective type of mankind. His role as a poet and political journalist in the transition age of the revolution is consistent with the contradictions of his poetry. He was neo-classical by training and taste yet romantic in a sensual spirit. He was once a sentimentalist, a humanitarian, a poet of reason yet the celebrant of lovely fancy and finally a Deist optimist most inspired by the themes like death and transitions. He wrote impatient verse in support of wrote American Revolution and turned all of his rhetorical gifts against anyone who though take sympathy with British. He liked Thomas Paine and was a strong supporter of French Revolution, his obsession with beautiful things in nature and the conflict in his art between the sensuous and didactic are central to the concern of the American poetry. He illustrates the transition between the neo-classicism of 18th century and the romanticism of the 19th century. From this neo-classical tradition he bowered the satires, the epic mode, deist themes and certain dogmatism.
Joel Barlow, 1754-1812,he joined a literary circle ‘the Connecticut Wits’, this was a group of nine ambitious writers who wished to celebrated the American literary independence and also to keep a critical eye on the democracy. //essay in favour of natural rights of man and reflects the influence of Paine. Its publication in London forced Barlow to fly to France. He was a popular figure in France and was made a hounded citizen of France.
There was an in depth study of the writer of the period the most spectacular development of this period was the movement generally known as the renaissance of New England. It began in a new intellectualism starting both from Unitarianism and transcendentalism. It was crowded by the works of Emerson late 30’s and later by the works of Hawthorne. The half decade 1850-1855 saw the appearance of Emerson’s essay and rest of Hawthorne’s the scarlet and the house of the seven globes 1851. Melville’s works; Moby dick and Pierre 1852.
Romanticism and transcendentalism: transcendentalism was a mythical aesthetic movement, born near Boston and considered by many as the American version of romanticism. More than a philosophy it was a simple component of the great intellectual, spiritual and cultural up evil that took place in US after 1820. Transcendentalism was a philosophical dissent from Unitarianism which represented the compromise of rational Deism. With Calvinism it retained the rationalist acceptance of liberal scientific thought and dejected extreme concepts concerning the original depravity and the inherited guilt of man. Transcendentalism spoke out against the theological conservatism of Unitarianism. Transcendentalism was rooted in the transcendental philosophy of Immanuel Kant (and of German Idealism more generally), which the New England intellectuals of the early 19th century embraced as an alternative to the Locke "sensualism" of their fathers and of the Unitarian church, finding this alternative in Vedic thought, German idealism, and English Rromanticism. They asserted the doctrine a correspondence between the microcosmic of the individual and macrocosmic over soul of the universe. Transcendentalism preached a doctrine which was at once optimistic and liberating it was progressive it opened wider to artistic inspiration than neo-classicism had.
Ralph Waldo Emerson: 1803-1882, Emerson was an essayist, poet and the leader of the philosophical movement of transcendentalism. He was also influenced by the England romanticism and neo-Platonism and Hindu philosophy. He is noted for his skills in presenting his ideas elegantly in poetic language in both literature and philosophy. Emerson was the writer with whom every other significant writer of his time had to come to terms. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts and by the time he was 18 years old he graduated from Howard University. 7 of this ancestor were minister and he himself became minister of the 2nd church of Boston. However, he resigned from his pastor appointment 3 years later. He had personal doubts after travelling in England do he settled in Concord, Massachusetts, and became an active lecturer. His most detail statement of belief was reserved for his nature. In 1836, the volume was regarded as Emerson most significant work and this volume was essences of philosophy of transcendentalism. Emerson apprehend these ideas to culture and intellectual, in 1837 American scholar lecture delivered at the Harbour University he called for American intellectual independence. A 2nd address known as ‘the address divinity collage’ delivered o, 1838, aroused considerable controversy it attached formal religion, argues in self-reliance and spiritual experience. First volume of Emerson essay was published in 1841 and second series in 1844. he also wrote for the ‘dial’ which was the journal of New England found in 1840, which was American critic. He also has his collection of poems named under May Day published in 1867.
Henry David Thoreau: 1817- 1862, he was philosopher and a naturalist; who’s work demonstrate the abstract ideas of libertinism and individualism which can be effectively instil in person life. He lived in Emerson’s home where he met other transcendentalist as educator and philosopher Bronson Alcott, social reformer Margaret Fuller and literary critic George Ripley. In 1845, Henry moved to hut on the shores of Walden Pond. During his residence at the Walden Pond and else where at Concord he did odd jobs. The major part of his life was devoted to the study of nature, reading Greek. In Walden (1854)which is his most popular and enduring work, he explains his motives for living apart from his society and devoting himself to simple life style and nature. His writing style is seen plain and directs however, witty similes, etymological puns, allusions and play on conventional proverbs dislocate the conventional meaning and force a reader into a mode of reconsideration and revaluation. In 1846, he chose to go to jail rather than supporting the Mexican War. He clarified his position in his essay called Civil disobedience in 19849. In this essay he argues that people should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that people have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. That later wad adopted by Indian leader Mahatma Ghandi as a tactic against the British and also by civil right activist in US.
Nathaniel Hawthorne: 1804-1864, his works are deeply considered with the ethical problems of sin, punishments and atonement. His inspiration of these themes was related to the sense of guilt, he felt guilty about the roles of his ancestor in the 17th century persecution of the Quakers. He was born in Salem, Massachusetts, into an odd Puritan family; he graduated from collage and returned to his Salem home where he lived for 12 years writing his first novel called Fanshawe in 1828 but a failure. However, his first short stories in 1837 Twice-told tails established him as a leading writer his early works are largely historical sketches and symbolic and allegorical tails dealing with moral conflicts and the effect of Puritan on colonial New England. He was unable to earn a living by his works so in 1839 he worked as a waiter in Boston Custom House. He joined communal society near Boston his novel The Blithedale Romance in 1852 was inspired by this experience to serve he returned to government service in 1846 this time working in the Salem custom house, he was dismissed in 1849 because of a change in political administration by then he had already began The scarlet letter 1850, a gothic American novel. This novel was regarded as one of his classic of American literature and this novel both reveals Hawthorne craftsmanship and powerful psychological inside which provided guilt and anxiety in human soul. The house of the seven gables in 1851, so modern sociological inside Hawthorne proved the secret motivation in human behaviour and the guilt and anxiety that he believed had resulted from all sins against humanity especially those of pride. In his reoccupation with sin Hawthorne followed the tradition of his Puritan ancestor. Hawthorne character most of his books as a Romance a category of literature as strictly bound to realistic detail as novels.
V.The Prose Romance
The prose romance has its ancestors in the chivalry romance of the middle ages and the gothic novel of the late 18th century (double-origin). It has typically simple characters larger than life that are sharply discriminated as heroes or villains, masters or victims. The protagonist is often solitary and isolated from a sowed context; the plot often emphasizes adventure and is cast in the form of a quest for an ideal or a pursuit of an enemy. The non-realistic and occasionally mellow-dramatic events are sometimes blamed to project in symbolic from, the primly desires, hopes and terrors in the depth of the human mind and therefore to be analyses to the materials of dream, myth and ritual. Using the Romance Hawthorne manipulate the atmosphere of his scenes and the actions of his characters in order to represent symbolically the passion, emotions and anxieties of his character and to expose ‘the truth of the human heart’ that he believed are hidden beneath daily life.
Herman Melville: 1819-1891, he was a major figure whose explorations of sociological and metaphysical thesis foreshadow 20th century literary concerns. He was born in New York City into a family whose fortune was declined (financial troubles). At the age of 20 he shipped to Liverpool, England ad a cabin boy, he later sailed for the South Seas in a deserted ship; live among The Natives (cannibals). He was insisted as semen in US navy, after his discharge in 1844 he began to write novels based on his experiences he also took part in literary life of Boston and New York. His first five novels, all achieved quick popularity the names are; Typee: A pee at Polynesian life 1846, Omoo: A narrative of adventures in the South Seas 1847, Mardi: And a voyage thither 1849, Red Burn 1849 and White jacket 1850. In 1850, he moved to a farm in Massachusetts, he there became an intimate friend of Hawthorne. His next novel published in 1852 Pierre or, the ambiguities is a darkly allegorical exploration of the nature of evil, The pizza Tales published in 1856 contains some of Melville shorter works particularly Benito Cereno and Bartleby the scrivener his last work wad a novella Billy Budd sailor, An inside narrative 1924.
Edger Allan Poe: 1809-1849 (a voice apart), Poe was a poet and critic. He was also the first master of the short story from especially tails of the mysterious and macabre. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts but he became an orphan at an early age. Poe was rose by John Allan, a successful businessman from Virginia. Poe was taken to England by the Allan family at the age of 6 and placed in the private school. When returning to US he went to the University of Virginia for one year in 1827 his foster father John Allan who was displeased by his drinking and gambling refused to pay his debts and he was forced to work as a clerk for living. He disliked his new duties, quit the job and decided to write. In 1836, he married his cousin Virginia Clumm; she was 13 years old at the time. Throughout the next decade much of which was marked by his wife illness. Poe co-worked as an editor for various periodicals. Virginia died in 1847 and he himself became ill his disastrous addiction to liquor and abused use of drug recorded by contemporaries may have contributed to his early death. Among his poetic output about a dozen poems are remarkable for their flawless literary construction and for haunting themes and meters, among them are The Raven, The Bells and The sleeper, Annabel lee. He thought poetry should appeal only to the sense of beauty not truth.
Poe’s ideas were any sort of didactic. He was illegitimate in the course of his editorial work, he functioned largely as book reviewer and produced a significant body of criticism, and his essays were famous for wit and exposure of literary pretension and sarcasm. His theories on the nature of faction and particularly his writing as short story left an influence on American and European writers and many translated his works and French symbolist poet drew on him for his aesthetic ideas. He invented the detective story in the detective story which he invented when he was 32, one can find all of its major conventions.
William Cullen Bryant: 1794-1878, he was poet and a journalist, he wrote his finest poetry in his youth. He wrote the first draft of famous poems Thanatopsis when he was only 16. He was 27 when his first volume of poem published in 1821, from then until his death Bryant was known was one of the most distinguished poets in US. The major of part of his carrier was spent as a journalist, he became editor of the New York evening post as a journalist he companied for Free Trade, Free Speech, The Rights of Works and Abolition of Slavery.
He was instrumental in organizing The Republican Party during the Civil War. His poetry resembles to Neo-Classicism more than it does to Romanticism. Although his poems were didactic he is best remembered for his beautiful description of Massachusetts’s landscape for him nature was a symbol of power of God, and a moral influence on humanity. Among his other works are translations of lliad 1870 and Odyssey by Homer. These translations are still to be among the best in English verse.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: 1807-1882, he was one of the most popular poets of the time. He travelled to Europe, and become the first professor of modern languages at Bowdoin including Harvard. His first volume of poems was Voices of the Night 1839. Ballads 1841 which includes famous poems, three long narrative poems on American theme Evangeline 1844, this is about lover separated during French and Indian war. The Song of Hiawatha 1855, The Courtship of Miles Standish 1858 is about a love triangle in colonial New England, and Tales of a Wayside Inn 1863, these all poems are well known for their rhymes. His poetic works are characterised by familiar themes, easily grasped ideas and clear simple melodious language. He remains one of the most popular for his simplicity of style and theme. His poetry created an audience in America and contributed to creating American mythology.
John Greenleaf Whittier: 1807-1892, he was largely self-educated man, editor, a poet and an essayist. He was deeply religious man, as Quaker he was concerned by politics and social welfare, he served in Massachusetts’s legislature and devoted to the abolition of slavery in US. His earliest work including his book
Legends of New England (1831) were pastoral of farm life in New England, his master piece Snow-Bound 1866.
James Russell Lowell: 1819-1891, he was a poet, essayist, critic and a diplomat, he wrote a series of satirical verse in Yankee dialect. The Big low papers collected in book form 1848, same year he published a table critics a book of witty about famous authors. In 1855, he succeeded Longfellow as a professor of modern languages in Harvard, a position until 1876. His commemoration delivered at memorial services in 1865 for Harvard Civil war.
Oliver Wendell Holmes: 1809-1894, he was a physician as doctor as well as a writer; his wit and intellectual mentality are representations of the cultivated society of Boston. He was born at Cambridge, Massachusetts
He was educated at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and at Harvard College. He wrote series of essays called the auto craft of the Breakfast table which was monthly published.
Walt Whitman: 1819-1892, was an American poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist. In his poetry he asserts the work of the individual and the oneness of all humanity. He defined break with tradition, all poetic concerns and his style was a major influenced on American thought and literature. In his essays the poet ‘Ralph Waldo Emerson’ has called for the great poet to use America as if the answers to Emerson call. He appeared to find an authentically literature. He is a protean poet who spans the 19th century like Victor Hugo. One when reading Walt can be, disconcerted, puzzled, charmed and captivated. His works resembles his life with its contradictions, its terror, joys and its uncertainties. Despite his apparently chaotic imagination his poetry is highly worked and fruit of long years of attention, revising his most famous book leaves of grass with 9 different editions between 1855-1892. He was a romantic poet, a poet of nature as the self of joy, freedom of democracy and he was also a mystic, lyric and epic poet. leaves of grass had a new kind of versification, the long lines resembles that unrhymed verse of the James’ version of the Bible, this was a new translations of Bible and was accomplished during the reign of King James until after the fall of library of Constantinople 1453. The fall of Constantinople original text was in Greek because Walt modestly praised human body and glorified the sense he was forced to publish leaves of grass at his own expense. The long poem leaves of grass the best-known of which are "Song of Myself", it is a vision on a symbolic eye in enraptured by -------- vicoursaly embracing all people and places from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Other famous are Crossing Brooklyn ferry in which the speaker joins his readers and all passed and future ferry passengers, Out of the Cradle endlessly rocking is an allegory of clusters of poems Children of Adam and clamours deal with sexual love and male friendship. Another collection Drum-Taps reflects Walt’s deep awareness of the significant of the Civil War and his hope for reconciliation between North and South. Drum-Taps is a great allegory for President Lincoln and one of the most popular works of Walt, this collection also contains O captain! My captain!
Emily Dickinson: 1830-1886, she is America’s best known formal poet and one of the foremost authors in American literature. Although, she lived in 19th century she was way a head of her time and cannot be related to the social and political concerns of the 19th century. Her poetry is essential forerunners of modernity. She was born in Massachusetts, and was the middle child of 9. Her father was a prominent lawyer serving on the Massachusetts General Court and the U.S. House of Representatives, born and died in the same house. Emily never left her native land, she left home only for short trips to visit relatives and after 1872 she hardly ever left her house and yard. In those later years, she dressed in white avoided strangers and communicated with intimate notes and fragments of poems. She was still unknown to the rest of the world over 10 of 2000 of her poems were published, but it wasn't until the 20th century that she was appreciated as a poet. She fronted the essential facts of life, she had a clear and self-conscious conception of the poetry and poetic prose, her poetry despite its authenticable formal simplicity is remarkable for its variety and its richness. At various times and in various moods she returned repeatedly to certain subjects who concerned with the paradoxes and declinecene of the self that is conscious of being trapped in time. She is understood as a poet of genuinely philosophic and tragic dimensions, a poet who was actually responsible to the enduring question of nature and the meaning of human consciousness in the attempt to understand its origins, conditions relations and faith.
Mark Twain : 1835-1910, he was man of many trades; he was a printer, a steam boat captain in Mississippi, a reporter, humorist, satirist, writer, and lecturer. In 1865, he re-worked a tail that he had heard in California Gold fields; the tail was The celebrated jumping frog of calaveras country 1867. Within months Mark had became famous. In 1867 he attended a lecture in New York City and the same year he visited Europe and Palestine, after these travels he wrote The innocents Abroad 1869, in this bibliography he exaggerated aspects of European culture that to American tourists and Mark makes constant criticisms of various aspects of culture and society he meets while on his journey. Among his best works are Roughing it 1872, this book tells of Mark's adventures prior to his pleasure cruise related in Innocents Abroad and his early adventures as a journalist. Another bibliography, The adventure of Tom Sawyer 1876, this book deals with the adventures of boyhood in Mississippi river. The adventures of Huckleberry 1884 is considered as a master piece, A Connecticut Yankee 1889, the work is a very early example of time travel in literature; Mark turns to historical fiction by transplanting a common sensual Yankee back in time to Britain in Dark Age.
The popularity of Mark was marked at the end of the domination by New England writers; he played an important role in creating a truly American literature, he portrayed uniquely American subject in a humorous yet poetic language. His success in creating this plain evocative language preoccupied the end of American reverence for British and European culture and more formal language associated with those traditions.
VI.Realism and Naturalism:
The word Realism is used in two ways; firstly, to identify a literary movement of the 19th century especially in Poe’s fiction and secondly, to describe the attempt to represent human behaviour and surroundings or figures and objects exactly as they act or appeared in life.
Realist literature is defined particularly as the fiction produced in Europe and US between the 1840’s and 1890’s, when realism was superseded by Naturalism. This form of realism began in France with the novels of Gustavo Flaubert, the short of Guy de Maupassant, in Russia realism was represented by the plays and short stories of Chekhov, the novelist George Eliot introduced realism into English fiction. Mark Twain and William Dean Howells were pioneers of realism in US, their arts portrait the life, problem, customs and morals of the middle and lower classes. They wrote the unexpected, the ordinary, the humble, the unadorned and the consciously set. They set themselves to reproducing or ignore aspects of contemporary’s life and society, its mental attitudes physical setting and material conditions.
Naturalism in America:
In the 1890’s a harsher more prismatic trend appeared it was naturalism. The naturalist attached Capitalism as the Realist did but they also explained society in Darwinist terms in other words heredity and environment determined man in world where only the filthiest survived. In France Emile Zola did much and developed theory in what he called ‘le Roman experimental’. In America Stephen Crane, Frank Norris and Jack London attempted to present their subjects with an objective scientific attitude and with elaborate denunciation, they tended to chose characters with strong animal drives such as greed, brutal and sexual desire and who were victims of both of their grangler secretion within of social logical pressures.
Jack London: 1876-1916, his work combines powerful realism and humanitarian sentiment, his foremost schooling ended after primary. London worked at various odd jobs between 1897-1898. He participate the Alaska Gold Rush after he returned to San Francisco he wrote about his experiences a collection of short stories The son of the Wolf 1900, during his colourful life he published more than 50 books and a number of which were enormous popular success. London worked as a war correspondence and had two very difficult experiences as being married. He committed suicide when was 40, his master piece the call of the wild 1903. His style which is brutal, vial and exciting made him popular outside US. His other most important work The people of the Abyss 1903 is about poor in London and The Sea Wolf 1904 is a novel based on his experiences on a seal hunting ship.
Literature and philosophy:
William James: 1842-1910,(important philosopher) his philosophy is fundamentally linked to the ideas and the literature of the late 19th century, in his book Pragmatism 1907, he developed the idea that theories can he judged only by their consequences that is by weather or not they are followed by satisfactory results. This theory was valid for any truly, scientific, metaphysical or religion. The proof of the religion was to be found into a sort of life, this was a philosophy concerned with real life. A move from abstract thought towards fact, action and practical experience. In a world full of doubts James showed that man could survive with purpose and with despair. Those who misunderstood James saw it was as a justification of capitalism. William James despised material success which he called ‘The Bitch Goddess’ both his interest in vulgar reality and his distrust of sentimental and abstract notions made him the philosopher of realism and naturalism.
In the novel of Henry James, William James’s younger brother and those of Edith Wharton it is in our life and human relationship which are scrutinized.
Henry James: 1843-1916, his career is one of the largest and the most productive and most influential in American letters. He was master of prose fiction from and the one who practised it as a fertile innovator and enlarged the form and placed upon it the stamp of the highly individual method and style. He was one of the great prose writer and stylist of his century. He has been recognised in the late 20th century as one of the great craftsman who ever practised the art of novel his rendering of the life of his character made him the forerunner of the stream on consciousness. In the 20th century his work is characterized by leisurely passing and subtle dedication of character rather than by dramatic incidence or complicated plots. His major writing’s are highly sensitive. He wad born in New York, educated in New York, London, Paris and Geneva. James’s family were remarkable in 1875 he settled permanently in England and a year before his death he became a British subject. His early novels and tails have themes that concern the impact of English culture in American travel or living abroad example Roderick Hudson 1876, The American 1877, Daisy Miller 1876 and The portrait of a Lady 1881, in the middle of his career he wrote The Bostonians 1886 and The Princess Casamassima 1886, these two novels deal with social reformers and revolutionaries. In What Maisie Knew 1897, James changed his story telling method adhering closely to a given angel of vision and withholding information from the reader, making available to the reader only what the character see. His last three novels, The wing of the Dove 1902, The ambassadors 1903 and The Golden Bowl 1904, style of his late works is complex with the motives and behaviour of his character revelled by means of their conversation and observation of one another. Several of his works are turned into films like ‘The portrait of the lady’, ‘The Aspern papers’, ‘the turn of the screw’, ‘The European’ and ‘Washington square’. Lastly, James wrote a substantial body of criticism.
Edith Wharton: 1862-1937, she depicted in her novels the conditions of a society caught up in the quest of responsibility of Victorian era, her reputation was established by The House of Mirth 1905. Many of Wharton's novels are characterized by a subtle use of dramatic irony. Having grown up in upper-class pre-World War I society, Wharton became one of its most astute critics. In such works as The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence she employed both humour and profound empathy to describe the lives of New York's upper-class. She settled in France and completed her novel The Custom of the country 1913, in World War 1 she did a great deal of charity works, she had a house in Versailles where she is buried.