Faculty of Letters and Languages
Departement of English
RESEARCH PAPER PREPARED ON :
An Overview of the American Literary Periods
Submited by :
2012 / 2013
Early American Fiction (1492-1789)
Literature is told through the oral tradition.
Works largely consist of origin myths, legends, chants, and other stories.
Spiritual forces show up in water, land, animals, etc. which shows a major theme in Native American literature…reverence for nature.
The next period goes from the people that were already here to the people that “discovered” America. This period is called the Exploration Period.
The main writers during this time were explorers (Christopher Columbus, John Smith, William Bradford) who mainly wrote their accounts down in diaries, journals, and histories. Many of which are more fiction than fact.
The Early Colonial Period the main writers were Puritans which is why this age is often referred to as “Puritanism”.
Puritan life focused on two things…God and work. They lived what we would consider to be lame lives from the way they dressed to their conversations.
The main writers from the Puritan age: Edward Taylor “Huswifery”, Anne Bradstreet “To My Dear and Loving Husband”, and Jonathan Edwards “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”
Early American Fiction features the birth of two unique narratives.
The captivity narrative are stories of people captured by "uncivilized" enemies. The narratives often include a theme of redemption by faith in the face of the threats and temptations of an alien way of life. The most famous of these being Mary Rowlandson’s Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.
The second unique genre is the slave narrative which is an autobiographical account of life as a slave.
The most famous of these are The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Narrative of the Life