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4. American Literature

4. American Literature
1. the story of a quest in American literature a. American literature has recorded the story of a quest, and is the continuous narrative of the “pursuit of happiness” b. At different times the quest has taken different forms. a) In the 16th century Europeans came to the New World in search of gold and treasure and the passage to the East. b) At times the quest was a religious pilgrimage like that of the Puritans and the Mormons. c) The dreams of success have drawn many people from farms and small towns to cities in the hope of winning fame and fortune. d) Still other Americans were simply restless. They believed in “being on the road” 2. Washington Irving-------post-Revolutionary period History of New York------is supposedly an account of the Dutch settlement of Manhattan Island Works Father Knickerbocker------American’s first myth-hero Rip Van Winkle The Legend of Sleepy Hollow The Alhambra Tour on the Prairies-------showed Irving’s interest in the literary possibilities of the West 3. Fenimore Cooper The Spy------an exciting story of espionage in New York during the Revolution Works The Pioneers------ Cooper hit his stride as an author The Leather-stocking Tales The Last of the Mohicans The Prairie The Pathfinder The Deerslayer measured the conflicting values of nature and civilization—and found civilization wanting The American Democrat----- Cooper continued his examination of American civilization in a more direct fashion 4. Edgar Allan Poe a. Introduction: The greatest southern writer in pre-Civil War American; the master of the tightly wound tale of psychological horror; he invented the detective story with his detective-hero, Dupin, foreshadowing Sherlock Holmes; he developed a theory of poetic composition which emphasized tightness of form and unity of tone. b. Works: The Fall of the House of Usher, William Wilson, The Pit and the Pendulum Wiki: an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement… He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

* Yet in 19th century when Poe was a resident of New York, the true literary heart of American was a small town 20 miles northwest of Boston. Never before had Concord, Massachusetts, been known as an intellectual community. Now it was the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and —for a time—of Nathaniel Hawthorne. 5. Ralph Waldo Emerson-----19th century----“Know thyself,” said he. “Every heart vibrates to that iron string.” He emphasized the heart as the font of all wisdom, and believed the power of the individual to control his own fate; he wrote such essays as Nature, The American Scholar, Self-Reliance, and Experience; he was also a poet and a journal keeper. His most well-known poem is Concord Hymn. Wiki: an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays 6. Henry David Thoreau-----19th century He was one of the leading figures in the intellectual community of Concord, Massachusetts. Civil Disobedience------an essay; insisted that individual protest was the most revolutionary force in the word Works Walden-----his finest work; the record of the experience when he lived in Walden Pond A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers The Maine Woods Cape Cod Wiki: an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, etc. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state * Emerson and Thoreau were also poets and journal keepers. It would be hard to decide which writer’s journal is more fascinating document, for both men used their journals as a means of confessing their innermost thoughts. But in poetry Emerson was clearly the superior artist. Such poems as Brahma and The Rhodora dedicatedly observe the presence of God in nature. Every schoolboy knows Concord Hymn, Emerson’s stirring tribute to the minutemen of Concord who “fired the shot heard round the world.”

7. Hawthorne-----19th century-----American novelist and short story writer Scarlet Letter------one of the greatest American novels The House of Sven Gables The Blithedale Romance Works Marble Faun Twice-Told Tales; Mosses from an Old Manse-----his best-known collections A Wonder Book; Tanglewood Tales-----books for children 8. Herman Melville-----19th century Moby Dick------ America`s greatest sea tale, which was to become one of the most famous and most discussed works in the English language The story of a chase. Captain Ahab searches for the white whale that in a previous encounter had sheared off one of his legs, it is also a dramatization of good and evil, and of a man`s everlasting hunger to understand the mysteries of creation. Typee; Omoo-----were exciting adventure stories based on the author`s first-hand experience of the South Seas Mardi-----introduced philosophical issues concerning the moral nature of the universe in to a story of a chase; warmed up for Moby Dick Billy Budd----- Melville expressed both the tragedy of life, and his renewed faith in the beauty and basic strength and power of the human spirit Wiki: an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick. His first three books gained much contemporary attention (the first, Typee, became a bestseller), but after a fast-blooming literary success in the late 1840s, his popularity declined precipitously in the mid-1850s and never recovered during his lifetime. * California gave Mark Twain his literary start. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, Twain`s first success as a humorist, was set in a California mining camp


9. Mark Twain Twain was thoroughly American. His character`s speech, ideas, and behavior borrowed little from European models. He was basically serous and a master of satire, and he gave a sharp commentary on American society. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County------ first success as a humorist Roughing It books set of Europe The Innocent Abroad The Prince and The Pauper A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur`s Court The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Life on the Mississippi The adventures of Huckleberry Finn The Mysterious Stranger-----his last book; portrays the destruction of the universe


Wiki: an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called "the Great American Novel." He was lauded as the "greatest American humorist of his age,” and William Faulkner called Twain "the father of American literature." 10. Emily Dickinson: a. Dickinson`s poetry mixed gaiety and gloom. b. The subject of her poems are exotic things and places as well as things close at hand c. The poet was fascinated by life, but she also talked much about death in her poems d. Almost all of her poems are brief, but she packed an emotional charge of surprising force 11. Henry James a. one of the most distinguished novelist of the post-Civil War era b. he excelled at international novels and stories about Americans living in Europe. Books of this Theme are The American, Daisy Miller, and The Portrait of a Lady c. His writing focused on the psychology of his characters-that is their thoughts and emotions. 12. William Dean Howells A realist; his main aim was to give a true picture of ordinary, everyday life, such as A Modern Instance, The Rise of Silas Lapham; he also write Utopian novels. * Beat generation(implement): members of the generation that came to maturity in the 1950s, whose rejection of the social and political systems of the West was expressed through contempt for regular work, possessions, traditional dress, etc, and espousal of anarchism, communal living, drugs, etc

13. Two naturalists------to portray man and his environment in a coldly objective and scientific manner a. Stephen Crane Maggie: A Girl of the Streets----his first novel The Red Badge of Courage-----his finest book b. Frank Norris McTeague-----an unforgettable story of how the greed for gold lead a San Francisco dentist and his wife to destruction The Epic of the Wheat (a trilogy) The Octopus The Pit 14. Henry Adams-----writer of later 19th and 20th centuries a. He spent most of his life seeking order in what he considered a world of chaos b. Two of his books are The Education of Henry Adams and Mont-saint-Michel and Chartres in which he forecast trouble in the 20th century. 15. Theodore Dreiser a. He belong to the Chicago group of writers who were active before and following World War I b. His aim of writing was to describe life as it was c. His first book was Sister Carrie and his finest An American Tragedy 16. Sherwood Anderson a. He belong to the Chicago group of writers who were active before and following World War I b. Influenced by Sigmund Freud and others` psychological theories he examined the private problems of small-town Middle Westerners in Winesburg, Ohio and other books 17. Sinclair Lewis-----20th century a. The first American writher to win the Nobel prize for literature b. He focused on photographing small-town Middle Western life c. His major works are those of satire: Main Street, Nabbitt and Elmer Gantry 18. Edith Wharton The House of Mirth, The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome 19. Ellen Glasgow The Battleground, Barren Ground, Vein of Iron 20. O. Henry-----William Sydney Porter a. A tremendously popular writer in the early years of the 20th century b. He wrote short stories about people from every walk of life. Many of the stories ended with an unexpected twist that has some come to be called the O. Henry ending c. His most famous story is called The Gift of the Magi

21. Jack London a. The highest-paid, most popular writer living. b. His best book is The Call of the Wild, and other stories as The Sea Wolf, The Game 22. Edwin Arlington Robinson a. A 20th century American poet b. The first to defy the tradition of “pretty” poems and to present honest portraits of men who were misfits or out casts c. His major works are The Man Against the Sky, The Children of the Night, and Tristram 23. Carl Sandburg a. He is often called the Chicago poet because he celebrated that city`s strength b. Some of his work are Chicago poem; Cornhuskers; and Good Morning, American c. He also edited a collection of folk ballads called The American Songbag, has written a lengthy biography of Lincoln 24. Ezra Pound a. A 20th century imagist poet.

Imagist: They express themselves through a series of clear, exact images, or likenesses.

b. His work was carried on early issues of the monthly Poetry for which he was once the foreign correspondent c. He possessed a rare ability to recognize talent in other poets. Among those he introduced to American readers were Robert Frost and T. S. Eliot 25. Robert Frost a. A 20th century poet b. His definition of a poem was expression that “begins in delight and dens in wisdom” c. Some of his first books of verse were A Boy`s will, North of Boston. Some of poems are “Birches”, “Mending Wall”, and “The Death of the Hired Man” 26. Thomas Stearns Eliot a. A 20th century American poet b. His poetry is both traditional and modern. He quoted from Shakespeare, Saint Augustine and other writers, but he was original in presenting new poetic rhythms and giving new meanings to old words c. His major work is The Waste Land d. He influenced a whole generation of younger American writers, including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner e. He was also an influential essayist in the 1920s and 1930s. his later work was in the field of poetic drama

27. The ”lost generation” A term first given by the writer-critic Gertrude Stein. It refers to young people lost and embittered in a world that had been shaken to is foundations by World War I. Representative writers of this group were F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. 28. F. Scott Fitzgerald a. He was a writer of the “lost generation” who voiced the spiritual restlessness of the 1920s b. His first novel, This Side of Paradise, was a vivid description of the feverish, excitement lives of the youth of the “jazz age”. And in his finest book The Great Gatsby, he attempt to say something about what had happened to American life 29. The jazz age It refers to the 1920s when the jazz music originated by back Americans was very popular. It was an age of spiritual restlessness and of feverish excitement and extravagant life style. The writer who gave the most vivid picture of the jazz age was F. Scott Fitzgerald 30. John Dos Passos a. A 20th century American writer b. In his finest work, the trilogy U. S. A. he introduced into fiction the sweep of scenes and the quick shifts of focus that were often used in movies c. Other novels include Three soldiers and Manhattan Transfer. And he has also written travel books and works on American history 31. William Faulkner a. A 20th century American writer who was awarded the Nobel prize for literature b. He wrote about the varied lives and fortunes of several families in a mythical Mississippi town, and expressed profound truths about the South and about man`s fate c. His major works include The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, Absalom, Absalom! d. He was a master of both comedy and tragedy 32. Ernest Hemingway a. A well-known American writer who won the Nobel prize for literature b. He was famous for his literary style: spare, understated and direct. He was an expert in describing physical activity, especially bullfights, loin hunts and fishing trips c. His novels include The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls 33. John Steinbeck a. An American writer who won the Nobel prize for literature b. His books dealt mainly with social and economic themes during the depression of the 1930s c. His major works include The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men. And his The Red Pony is a favorite of young readers

34. Richard Wright-----black writer Native Son 35. Ralph Ellison----black writer Invisible man----follows a Negro from a south background to the horror of a race riot in New York`s Harlem 36. James Baldwin Go Tell It on the Mountain----a strong yet graceful story of a boy`s religious conversation The Fire Next Time-----an essay on racial conflict in the United States which was a major contribution to the understanding of one of the country`s most serous problems. 37. Eugene O`Neil a. America`s most renowned playwright and the winner of the Nobel prize for literature b. Insight into character, Emotional power, strong and poetic language are characteristic of his writing c. The scope of his plays is enormous d. His most important plays are Emperor Jones, Morning Become Electra, ah, Wilderness! Long Day`s Journey into Night. 38. Tennessee Williams a. A modern American dramatist b. He writes poetically of the isolated and lonely people of American society and is especially exert at creating sympathetic women c. Tragedy is his play`s major theme, but his sense of humor can also be seen even in his most serious works d. Some of his plays are The Glass menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Night of the Iguana 39. Arthur Miller a. A modern American playwright b. His most famous play is powerful tragedy-Death of a salesman. His later works are The Crucible, After the Fall, and Incident at Vichy

40. Edward Albee One of America`s leading dramatists; Who`s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

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