A Concise History of American Literature

A Concise History of American Literature - A Concise...

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A Concise History of American Literature What is literature? Literature is language artistically used to achieve identifiable literary qualities and to convey meaningful messages. Chapter 1 Colonial Period I. Background: Puritanism 1. features of Puritanism (1) Predestination: God decided everything before things occurred. (2) Original sin: Human beings were born to be evil, and this original sin can be passed down from generation to generation. (3) Total depravity (4) Limited atonement: Only the “elect” can be saved. 2. Influence (1) A group of good qualities – hard work, thrift, piety, sobriety (serious and thoughtful) influenced American literature. (2) It led to the everlasting myth. All literature is based on a myth – garden of Eden. (3) Symbolism: the American puritan’s metaphorical mode of perception was chiefly instrumental in calling into being a literary symbolism which is distinctly American. (4) With regard to their writing, the style is fresh, simple and direct; the rhetoric is plain and honest, not without a touch of nobility often traceable to the direct influence of the Bible. II. Overview of the literature 1. types of writing diaries, histories, journals, letters, travel books, autobiographies/biographies, sermons 2. writers of colonial period (1) Anne Bradstreet (2) Edward Taylor (3) Roger Williams (4) John Woolman (5) Thomas Paine (6) Philip Freneau III. Jonathan Edwards 1. life 2. works (1) The Freedom of the Will (2) The Great Doctrine of Original Sin Defended (3) The Nature of True Virtue 3. ideas – pioneer of transcendentalism (1) The spirit of revivalism - 1 -
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(2) Regeneration of man (3) God’s presence (4) Puritan idealism IV. Benjamin Franklin 1. life 2. works (1) Poor Richard’s Almanac (2) Autobiography 3. contribution (1) He helped found the Pennsylvania Hospital and the American Philosophical Society. (2) He was called “the new Prometheus who had stolen fire (electricity in this case) from heaven”. (3) Everything seems to meet in this one man – “Jack of all trades”. Herman Melville thus described him “master of each and mastered by none”. Chapter 2 American Romanticism Section 1 Early Romantic Period What is Romanticism? An approach from ancient Greek: Plato A literary trend: 18c in Britain (1798~1832) Schlegel Bros. I. Preview: Characteristics of romanticism 1. subjectivity (1) feeling and emotions, finding truth (2) emphasis on imagination (3) emphasis on individualism – personal freedom, no hero worship, natural goodness of human beings 2. back to medieval, esp medieval folk literature (1) unrestrained by classical rules (2) full of imagination (3) colloquial language (4) freedom of imagination (5) genuine in feelings: answer their call for classics 3. back to nature nature is “breathing living thing” (Rousseau) II. American Romanticism 1. Background (1) Political background and economic development (2) Romantic movement in European countries Derivative – foreign influence - 2 -
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2. features
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This note was uploaded on 01/28/2011 for the course ECON 101 taught by Professor Prolin during the Spring '10 term at College of Southern Nevada.

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A Concise History of American Literature - A Concise...

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