American literature is literature written or conveyed in the United States of America and its preceding colonies (for specific discussions of poetry and theater, see Poetry of the United States and Theater in the United States). Before the establishing of the United States, the British colonies on the eastern coast of the present-day United States were heavily affected by English literature. The American literary tradition thus began as part of the broader tradition of English literature. The Colonial and Early National Period (17th century to 1830) the main European settlers of North America wrote about their experience from beginning during the 1600s.
This was the earliest American literature: practical, straightforward, often derivative of literature in Great Britain, and focus. American literature is the written or literary work delivered in the area of the United States and its previous settlements. American literature is very important for the education of people as it reveals the culture and history of the United States. Moreover,
American literature studying in other countries gives foreigners the opportunity to get to know American culture, history, and great works of the great authors better.
The revolutionary time is remarkable for the political writings of Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Paine. Thomas Jefferson\'s United States Declaration of Independence solidified his status as a key American writer. \n It was in the late 18th and early 19th centuries that the country’s first novels were distributed. An early example is William Hill Brown\'s The Power of Sympathy published in 1791.
Brown\'s novel depicts a tragic love story between siblings who fall in love without knowing they are related. With an increasing desire to produce uniquely American literature and culture, several of key new literary figures emerged, perhaps most prominently Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe.
In 1836, Ralph Waldo Emerson began a powerful development known as Transcendentalism. Inspired by that development, Henry David Thoreau composed Walden, which praises independence and nature and urges protection from the direct of sorted out society. The political clash surrounding abolitionism motivated the writings of William Lloyd Garrison and Harriet Beecher Stowe in her well known novel Uncle Tom\'s Cabin. These efforts were supported by the continuation of the slave accounts, for example, Frederick Douglass\'s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.
In the mid-nineteenth century, Nathaniel Hawthorne published his masterpiece The Scarlet Letter, a novel about adultery. Hawthorne influenced Herman Melville, who is notable for the books Moby-Dick and Billy Budd. America\'s most prominent artist of the nineteenth century was Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. Mark Twain (the pen name used by Samuel Langhorne Clemens) was the first major American writer to be born away from the East Coast. Henry James put American literature on the international map with novels like The Portrait of a Lady. At the turn of the twentieth century a strong naturalist movement emerged that include writers for example, Edith Wharton, Stephen Crane, Theodore Dreiser, and Jack London. American writers expressed disillusionment following World War I. The short stories and novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald captured the mood of the 1920s, and John Dos Passos wrote too about the war.
Ernest Hemingway got well known with The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms; in 1954, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. William Faulkner got one of the greatest American writers with novels like The Sound and the Fury. American poetry reached a top after World War I with so many writers as Wallace Stevens, T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, and E. E. Cummings. American drama attained international status at the time with the works of Eugene O\'Neill, who won four Pulitzer Prizes and the Nobel Prize. In the mid-twentieth century, American drama was ruled by the work of dramatists Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, just as by the development of the American musical.
Depression era writers included John Steinbeck, remarkable for his novel The Grapes of Wrath. Henry Miller accepted an unmistakable spot in American Literature in the 1930s when his semi-autobiographical novels were banned from the US. From the end of World War II until the mid 1970s many popular works in modern American literature were produced, like Harper Lee\'s To Kill a Mockingbird. America\'s involvement in World War II influenced works such as Norman Mailer\'s The Naked and the Dead (1948), Joseph Heller\'s Catch-22 (1961) and Kurt Vonnegut Jr.\'s Slaughterhouse-Five (1969). The main literary movement since the 1970s has been postmodernism, and since the late twentieth century ethnic and minority literature has sharply increase.
American writing, both in the manner in which it was polished and the manner in which it was seen, became an adult in the period somewhere in the range of 1870 and 1920. During these years American writing isolates itself elaborately and specifically from the European tradition to which it had been compared for more than a century. American authors also increasingly gained respects as serious artist in the decades following the civil war as literary critics inside and outside the foundation began to respect the natural advantages of American poetry and prose.
The period from 1820s to 1860s is known as the romantic period of American literature or the American renaissance. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Ralph Waldo Emerson, David Thoreau and Walt Whitman were famous writers of this period. These authors experimented in style and developed importance to American identity and expression. The civil war writers are principally concerned with the war, slavery, and to a lesser degree, women’s suffrage. The other prominent writers of this period are Edith Wharton, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Mary Chesnut and John Parker.
At the same time, American Indian autobiography was developed, most markedly in William Apess’s “A Son of the Forest”. American dramatic literature, by difference remains reliant on European models, although many playwrights did attempt to apply these forms to American topics and themes, such as immigrants, westward expansion, temperance, etc. At the same time, American playwrights created several American character, types, especially the “Yankee”, the “Negro” and the “Indian”, exemplified by the characters of Jonahan, Sambo, and Metamora.
The Fireside Poets were some of America’s foremost poets nationally and worldwide. They were known for their poems being straightforward to learn due to their general devotion to poetic form and were often recited in the home as well as in school. They integrated Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Cullen Bryant, John Greenleaf Whittier, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes who achieved the premier level of acclamation. While the Civil War was taking, an inexorable course, the case for reunion was set forth by leader Abraham Lincoln. Once the war was over, literature steadily regained a national identity among expanding popularity, as writings of regional origin began to find a mass audience. \n The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925). Maybe the most looking through tale of the American Dream ever written, this sparkling novel of the Jazz Age paints an unforgettable portrait of its day — the flappers, the bootleg gin, the careless, giddy wealth. Self-made millionaire Jay Gatsby, determined to win back the heart of the girl he loved and lost, emerges as an emblem for romantic yearning, and the novel’s narrator, Nick Carroway, brilliantly illuminates the post–World War I end to American innocence. \n Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851). This sweeping saga of obsession, vanity, and vengeance at sea can be read as a harrowing parable, a gripping adventure story, or a semiscientific chronicle of the whaling industry. No matter, the book rewards patient readers with some of fiction’s most memorable characters, from mad Captain Ahab to the titular white whale that crippled him, from the honorable pagan Queequeg to our insightful narrator/surrogate (“Call me”) Ishmael, to that hell-bent vessel itself, the Pequod\n The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (1929). A modernist classic of Old South decay, this novel circles the travails of the Compson family from four different narrative perspectives. All are haunted by the figure of Caddy, the only daughter, whom Faulkner described as “a beautiful and tragic little girl.” Surrounding the trials of the family itself are the usual Faulkner suspects: alcoholism, suicide, racism, religion, money, and violence both seen and unseen. In the experimental style of the book, Quentin Compson summarizes the confused honor and tragedy that Faulkner relentlessly evokes: “theres a curse on us its not our fault is it our fault.”\n The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939). A powerful portrait of Depression-era America, this gritty social novel follows the Joad family as they flee their farm in the Oklahoma dust bowl for the promised land of California. While limping across a crippled land, Ma and Pa Joad, their pregnant daughter Rose of Sharon, and their recently paroled son Tom sleep in ramshackle Hooverville filled with other refugees and encounter hardship, death, and deceit. While vividly capturing the plight of a nation, Steinbeck renders people who have lost everything but their dignity.
The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (1881). James’s Portrait is of that superior creature Isabel Archer, an assured American girl who is determined to forge her destiny in the drawing rooms of Europe. To this end, she weds the older and more cultivated Gilbert Osmond, and eventually finds that she is less the author of her fate than she thought. Throughout, James gives us a combination of careful psychological refraction and truly diabolical plotting. The result is a book at once chilling and glorious.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884). Hemingway proclaimed, “All modern American literature comes from . . . ‘Huckleberry Finn.’ ” But one can read it simply as a straightforward adventure story in which two comrades of conve¬nience, the parentally abused rascal Huck and fugitive slave Jim, escape the laws and conventions of society on a raft trip down the Mississippi. Alternatively, it’s a subversive satire in which Twain uses the only superficially naïve Huck to comment bitingly on the evils of racial bigotry, religious hypocrisy, and capitalist greed he observes in a host of other largely unsympathetic characters. Huck’s climactic decision to “light out for the Territory ahead of the rest” rather than submit to the starched standards of “civilization” reflects a uniquely American strain of individualism and nonconformity stretching from Daniel Boone to Easy Rider.