Colonial literature[ edit ] Because of the large immigration to Boston in the s, the articulation of Puritan ideals, and the early establishment of a college and a printing press in Cambridgethe New England colonies have often been regarded as the center of early American literature. However, the first European settlements in North America had been founded elsewhere many years earlier.
Literature has gone through many phases and was impacted by great events and ideas in American history.
The earliest form of literature in what would one day be known as America were far from what modern day people would consider "Literature". The Natives who inhabited this land first had unwritten ways of passing on experiences, beliefs, and stories.
Natives relied heavily on the verbal telling of these stories to younger generations. The same stories, fables, or belief structures were told repeatedly, each time identical to the last, and were memorized by the listeners so they would be able to pass these on to the next generation.
They also used pictures, carvings, or special mementos such as bones, teeth, feathers, or skins as reminders of great hunts or wars.
If an entire tribe and all its descendants were killed off, the specific stories and history of that tribe would also be gone. Other tribes may speak of the first, but never in the same The history of american literature essay or with the same perspective as the original tribe members.
Long before settlers arrived in America, explorers reported on their voyages to the continent. Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci provided some of the earliest European descriptions of the American continent. The writings of Captain John Smith, an explorer whose travels took him up and down the eastern seaboard of America, represent a shift from exploration narrative toward early history.
Early histories, however, were written mostly by settlers rather than by explorers. Another important historian of early America was Thomas Morton, whose New English Canaan used humor in portraying what he considered to be the overbearing and intolerant qualities of the Puritans.
Nearly all events could be explained from this religious perspective: Her story became the model for a new genre of early American literature: Such accounts became staples of American literature and eventually provided material for American fiction.
While still religious in tone and purpose, captivity narratives emphasized the experiences of individuals. They also incorporated many of the fundamentals of fiction, making use of characters, dramatic action and setting.
The Salem witch trials of were another period in early American history that affected literature. Cotton Mather remained an important literary figure in the 18th century.
Like his earlier works, it is religious; however, its interest in the human side of the Puritan founders marked a new achievement in American literary history. A new genre for American writers, the travel narrative, would become especially influential late in the s.
Travel stories often blended observations on nature and landscape with tales of personal courage and achievement.
At a time when newspaper journalism was concerned primarily with reporting political events, the New-England Courant, started by James Franklin inbecame the first newspaper to include literary entertainment. Magazines also appeared for the first time in the colonies during the mids. During the s Boston and Philadelphia became centers of publishing in addition to being political and commercial centers.
Benjamin Franklin was key in establishing a writing community in Philadelphia. Members shared printed works and discussed topics of the day. Such reading and discussion clubs became an important part of American culture.
Women organized literary circles in the s and s. They also encouraged members to compose their own work, mainly poetry, but very few of these works were preserved.
By the mids American writing was primarily political. In America the 18th century was known as the Age of Enlightenment. Americans held a growing belief in the supremacy of reason over church; they also stressed the importance of the individual and freedom over authorities and institutions.
Thomas Paine became a leading figure in the cause of American independence with the pamphlet Common Sense Our early American literature history before can be separated into four different categories, where different famous authors' writings can fall.
First, the early puritan era effected the country's basic beliefs and, second, the revolutionary era introduced us to writers that immediately set high standards for American patriotism.
The Influence of History on American Literature Essay Words | 7 Pages. this statement also shows that history influences American Literature. Throughout history, there has been a connection among literary works from different periods.
The connection is that History, current events, and social events have influenced American Literature.
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The History of American Literature The same stories, fables, or belief structures were told repeatedly, each time Identical to the last, and were memorized by the listeners so they would be able to pass these on to the next generation.
The events of American history are very much connected to the influence of American literature and what it has become today. The inspiration that a writer needs is mostly gathered by the effects of the world around him/her, and this is how the geography and history of America have made an impact on American literature/5(17).
American Literature Essay The 19th century saw the birth of science fiction and the detective novel, the heavy use of American dialects and the vernacular by such authors as Mark Twain and George Washington Cable, and the psychologically complex novels of writers like Henry James.