3/14/22, 12:07 AMAmerican literature - Wikipedia1/27Main reading room at theLibrary ofCongressAmerican literatureAmerican literatureisliterature predominantly writtenor produced inEnglishin theUnited States of Americaand itspreceding colonies. Before thefounding of the UnitedStates, theThirteen Colonies on the eastern coast of thepresent-day United States were heavily influenced byBritishliterature. The American literary tradition thus is part of thebroader tradition ofEnglish-language literature. A smallamount of literature exists in otherimmigrant languages.Furthermore a rich tradition oforal storytelling existsamongstNative American tribes.The American Revolutionary Period (1775–83) is notable forthe political writings ofBenjamin Franklin,AlexanderHamilton,Thomas Paine, andThomas Jefferson. An earlynovel isWilliam Hill Brown'sThe Power of Sympathypublished in 1791.Writer and criticJohn Neal in the early-mid nineteenth century helped advance America's progresstoward a unique literature and culture, by criticizing predecessors likeWashington Irving forimitating their British counterparts and influencing others likeEdgar Allan Poe.Ralph WaldoEmerson pioneered the influentialTranscendentalism movement;Henry David Thoreau, author ofWalden, was influenced by this movement. The political conflict surroundingabolitionism inspiredthe writers likeHarriet Beecher Stowe. These efforts were supported by the continuation of slavenarratives.Nathaniel Hawthorne'sThe Scarlet Letter(1850) is an early American classic novel and HawthorneinfluencedHerman Melville, author ofMoby-Dick(1851). Major American poets of the nineteenthcentury includeWalt Whitman andEmily Dickinson.Edgar Allan Poe was another significant writerwho greatly influenced later authors.Mark Twain was the first major American writer to be born awayfrom the East Coast.Henry James achieved international recognition with novels likeThe Portrait ofa Lady(1881).American writers expressed both disillusionment and nostalgia followingWorld War I. The shortstories and novels ofF. Scott Fitzgerald captured the mood of the 1920s, andJohn Dos Passos wroteabout the war.Ernest Hemingway became famous withThe Sun Also RisesandA Farewell to Arms;in 1954, he won theNobel Prize in Literature.William Faulkner was another major novelist. Americanpoets also included international figures:Wallace Stevens,T. S. Eliot,Robert Frost,Ezra Pound, andE. E. Cummings. PlaywrightEugene O'Neill won the Nobel Prize. In the mid-twentieth century,drama was dominated byTennessee Williams andArthur Miller, as well as themusical theater.Depression era writers includedJohn Steinbeck, author ofThe Grapes of Wrath(1939). America'sinvolvement in World War II influenced works such asNorman Mailer'sThe Naked and the Dead(1948),Joseph Heller'sCatch-22(1961) andKurt Vonnegut Jr.'sSlaughterhouse-Five(1969).