Brief Survey of American Literature

Topics: Romanticism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Updike Pages: 18 (3339 words) Published: October 12, 2011
Brief Survey of American Literature
1. Beginnings to 1700
Great mixing of peoples from the whole Atlantic basin
Bloody conflicts between Native Americans (or American Indians) and European explorers and settlers who had both religious and territorial aspirations - Native American oral literature / oral tradition

- European explorers’ letters, diaries, reports, etc., such as Christopher Columbus’s letters about his voyage to the “New world”. - Anglo (New England) settlers’ books, sermons, journals, narratives, and poetry Native American / American Indian oral literature / oral tradition creation stories(起源神话)

trickster tales(恶作剧者传奇)
rituals / ceremonies(典仪)
songs / chants(曲词)

Anglo Settlers’ Writings
Highly religious and pragmatic
- John Smith, founder of Jamestown, Virginia; Pocahontas
- John Winthrop, “A Model of Christian Charity”: “… We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us…” - William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation (1630-50, pub. 1856) - Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672), The Tenth Muse (1650), the first volume of poems published by a resident of the New World - Edward Taylor (1642- 1729), Preparatory Meditations (1682-1725, pub. 1939, 1960) - Mary Rowlandson (1636-1711), A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson (1682) American Literature 1700-1820

From Colonies to Nation
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), whose passionate sermons helped revive religious fervor during the “Great Awakening”(大觉醒运动, 1730s-1740s) Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
Olaudah Equiano (1745?-1797)
Philip Freneau (1752-1832)
Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784)
Hannah Webster Foster (1758-1840)
Enlightenment and establishment of the nation
Benjamin Franklin
a second-generation immigrant of English descendent
Writer, printer, publisher, scientist, statesman, and diplomat, he was the most famous and respected private figure of his time. Benjamin Franklin recorded his early life in his famous book The Autobiography. Benjamin Franklin

He was the first great self-made man in America, a poor democrat born in an aristocratic age supported the cause of independence,, and aided Jefferson in writing the Declaration of Independence. Practical yet idealistic, hard working and enormously successful. the Scottish philosopher David Hume called him America's "first great man of letters”.

Major Works
Franklin’s place in literature owes much to his
almanac and autobiography:
Poor Richard’s Almanac (1732)
Published from 1732 to 1758 under the name of Richard Saunders Full of proverbs which teach people thrift, carefulness, and independence Poor Richard’s Almanac
“lost time is never found again”
“a penny saved is a penny earned”
“God helps those that help themselves”
“Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” The Autobiography
First published in Paris in March of 1791 entitled “Memoires De La Vie Privee” The first English translation, "The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin. Originally Written By Himself, And Now Translated From The French," was published in London in 1793. Faithful Puritan account of the colorful career of America’s first self-made man. The writing process lasted for 40 years, yet the book was still not completed when he died。 13 virtues followed by Franklin

Temperance 节制(饮食)
Silence 沉默
Order 条理
Resolution 决心
Frugality 节俭
Industry 勤劳
7. Sincerity 真诚
8. Justice 公正
9. Moderation 温和
10. Cleanliness 整洁
11. Tranquility 平静
12. Chastity 贞洁
13. Humility 谦卑
Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
Political Pamphlets during the revolutionary period:
- Common Sense (1776) urges immediate independence from Britain - Crisis (1776-1783) shore up the soldiers’ spirits
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
Third president of US (1801-9)
Advocated religious freedom
Major drafter and writer of The Declaration of Independence (1776) Author of Notes on the State of...
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