LITERARY PERIODS AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS Genre/Style Effect/ Aspects Historical Examples Context And style Bradford's Of Instructive A person's fate is The Ivy League Plymouth Reinforces determined by schools are the Puritan Plantation authority of the God product of the Puritan Rowlandson's Bible and church All people are need to educate in "A Narrative corrupt and must order to understand of the be saved by Predestination.: God's light Captivity" Puritans believed Christ America today is a Edward's Given our that belief in product of those "Sinners in situation in the Jesus and Puritans. We need to the Hands of world today, do participation in an Angry know where they we still show the sacraments God" came from and how Puritan could not alone Though not they changed from influences? written during effect one's what came before to The painful, Puritan times, salvation; one what we are today. modern 86-year The Crucible cannot choose For excellent ideas & The Scarlet salvation, for that stretch of losing providing further Letter depict Boston Red Sox is the privilege of research: life during the God alone. All baseball, time when epitomized as the features of Puritan curse of the salvation are theocracy Bambino, for the us:8080/tserve/getbac determined by prevailed. k/gbpuritan.htm 1918 trade of God's The plain Their concern for Babe Ruth to sovereignty, style is the New York, which education was including simplest of important in the was broken only choosing those the three development of the a few days ago, who will be classical was taught by the United States, and the saved and those forms of elders of the Red idea of congregational who will receive style. In democratic church Sox Nation in God's irresistible choosing the government was Massachusetts grace. The plain style, carried into the and surrounding Puritans Puritan political life of the New England to distinguished writers state as a source of be a lesson in between eschewed modern democracy. Calvinism. "justification," or features This is the notion Prominent figures in the gift of God's common to New England the rhetoric of grace given to the that bad things Puritanism include will happen to elect, and the day; they Thomas Hooker , John good people "sanctification," declined to Cotton , Roger the holy behavior key tenet of stuff their Calvinist belief is Williams , Increase sermons with that supposedly Mather , and Cotton the rhetorical resulted when an that God so Mather . controls the flourishes and individual had world that been saved; learned everything in it is according to The quotations of pre-ordained, English the from Billy (For Literatures of metaphysical Cipriani :all America, style of "Sanctification is things connect) sermon, Buckner letting believing that evidence of the ball go salvation, but to be the does not cause it" between his legs province of to allow the (434) Archbishop scoring of the Laud and his

winning run in the 1986 World Series, down to the flight of the smallest sparrow. God knew this was going to happen. God made it happen. God always does something like this. God punishes us for our sins like this


18001860 For all

men live by truth, and stand in need of expression. In love, in art, in avarice, in politics, in labor, in games, we study to utter our painful secret. The man is only half himself, the other half is his expression. The development of the self became a major theme; selfawareness a primary method. If, according to Romantic theory, self and nature were one, selfawareness was not a selfish dead end but a mode of knowledge opening up the universe. If one's self were one with all humanity, then the individual had a moral duty to reform social inequalities and relieve human suffering. The idea of "self" -- which suggested selfishness to earlier generations -- was redefined. New compound words with positive meanings emerged: "selfrealization," "selfexpression," "selfreliance."

Poems and essays of Emerson & Thoreau Thoreau's Walden Aphorisms of Emerson and Thoreau Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" and "The Black Cat" Go further

Value feeling and intuition over reasoning Journey away from corruption of civilization and limits of rational thought toward the integrity of nature and freedom of the imagination Helped instill proper gender behavior for men and women Allowed people to re-imagine the American past

Expansion of magazines, newspapers, and book publishing Slavery debates Industrial revolution brings ideas that the "old ways" of doing things are now irrelevant

Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle" William Cullen Bryant's "Thanatopsis" Dunbar's "We Wear the Mask" Poems of Emily Dickinson Poems of Walt Whitman Romantic

http://www.cs lish/reuben/pa l/chap4/4intro .html

ideas centered around art as inspiration, the spiritual and aesthetic dimension of nature, and metaphors of organic growth. Art, rather than science, Romantics argued, could best express universal truth. The Romantics underscored the importance of expressive art for the individual and society. In his essay "The Poet" (1844), Ralph Waldo Emerson, perhaps the most influential writer of the Romantic era, asserts:


Writings of


Today in

RENAISSANCE/ TRANSCENDENTA LISM 1840-1860 (Note overlap in time period with Romanticism -some consider the antitranscendentalists to be the "dark" romantics or gothic)

Twain, Bierce, Crane The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (some st say 1 modern novel) Regional works like: The Awakening. Ethan Frome, and My Antonia (some say modern)

sts: *True reality is spiritual th *Comes from18 century philosopher Immanuel Kant * Idealists * Self-reliance & individualism * Emerson & Thoreau AntiTranscendentali sts: * Used symbolism to great effect *Sin, pain, & evil exist * Poe, Hawthorne, & Melville

literature we still see portrayals of alluring antagonists whose evil characteristics appeal to one's sense of awe Today in literature we still see stories of the persecuted young girl forced apart from her true love Today in literature we still read of people seeking the true beauty in life and in nature ... a belief in true love and contentment

Go further products/pubs/oal/lit3. htm Thoreau is the most attractive of the Transcendentalists today because of his ecological consciousness, do-ityourself independence, ethical commitment to abolitionism, and political theory of civil disobedience and peaceful resistance. His ideas are still fresh, and his incisive poetic style and habit of close observation are still modern. he U.S. Civil War (1861-1865) between the industrial North and the agricultural, slave-owning South was a watershed in American history. The innocent optimism of the young democratic nation gave way, after the war, to a period of exhaustion. American idealism remained but was rechanneled. Before the war, idealists championed human rights, especially the abolition of slavery; after the war, Americans increasingly idealized progress and the selfmade man. This was the era of the millionaire manufacturer and the speculator, when Darwinian evolution

REALISM 1855-1900 (Period of Civil War and Postwar period)

Novels and short stories Objective narrator Does not tell reader how to interpret story Dialogue includes voices from around the country As

Social realism: aims to change a specific social problem Aesthetic realism: art that insists on detailing the world as one sees it

Civil War brings demand for a "truer" type of literature that does not idealize people or plac In

industrializati on grew, so did alienation. Characteristic American novels of the period Stephen Crane's Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, Jack London's Martin Eden, and later Theodore Dreiser's An

1860, most Americans lived on farms or in small villages, but by 1919 half of the population was concentrated in about 12 cities. Problems of urbanization and industrialization appeared: poor and overcrowded housing, unsanitary conditions, low pay (called "wage slavery"), difficult working conditions, and inadequate restraints on business. Labor unions grew, and

American Tragedy depict the damage of economic forces and alienation on the weak or vulnerable individual. Survivors, like Twain's Huck Finn, Humphrey Vanderveyde n in London's The Sea-Wolf, and Dreiser's opportunistic Sister Carrie, endure through inner strength involving kindness, flexibility, and, above all, individuality.

strikes brought the plight of working people to national awareness. Farmers, too, saw themselves struggling against the "money interests" of the East, the socalled robber barons like J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller. Their eastern banks tightly controlled mortgages and credit so vital to western development and agriculture, while railroad companies charged high prices to transport farm products to the cities. The farmer gradually became an object of ridicule, lampooned as an unsophisticated "hick" or "rube." The ideal American of the post-Civil War period became the millionaire. In 1860, there were fewer than 100 millionaires; by 1875, there were more than 1,000.


and the "survival of the fittest" seemed to sanction the sometimes unethical methods of the successful business tycoon.

THE MODERNS 1900-1950

Novels Plays Poetry (a great resurgence after deaths of Whitman &

In Pursuit of the American Dream*Admiration for America as land of Eden *Optimism

Writers reflect the ideas of Darwin (survival of the fittest) and Karl Marx (how money and class structure control

Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby Poetry of Jeffers, Williams, Cummings, Frost, Eliot, Sandburg, Pound, Robinson, Stevens

Dickinson) Highly experimental as writers seek a unique style Use of interior monologue & stream of consciousnes s

*Importance of the Individual


he large cultural wave of Modernism, which gradually emerged in Europe and the United States in the early years of the 20th century, expressed a sense of modern life through art as a sharp break from the past, as well as from Western civilization's classical traditions. Modern life seemed radically different from traditional life -more scientific, faster, more technological, and more mechanized. Modernism embraced these changes. In literature, Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) developed an analogue to modern art. A resident of Paris and an art collector (she and her brother Leo purchased works of the artists Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, and many others), Stein once explained that she and Picasso were doing the same thing, he in art and she in

a nation) Overwhelming technological changes of the th 20 Century Rise of the youth culture WWI and WWII Harlem Renaissance

Rand's Anthem Short stories and novels of Steinbeck, Hemingway, Thurber, Welty, and Faulkner Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun & Wright's Native Son (an outgrowth of Harlem Renaissance-- see below) Miller's The Death of a Salesman (some consider Postmodern)

writing. Using simple, concrete words as counters, she developed an abstract, experimental prose poetry. The childlike quality of Stein's simple vocabulary recalls the bright, primary colors of modern art, while her repetitions echo the repeated shapes of abstract visual compositions. By dislocating grammar and punctuation, she achieved new "abstract" meanings as in her influential collection Tender Buttons (1914), which views objects from different angles, as in a cubist painting: A Table A Table means does it not my dear it means a whole steadiness. Is it likely that a change. A table means more than a glass even a looking glass is tall. HARLEM RENAISSANCE (Parallel to modernism) 1920s

Allusions to AfricanAmerican spirituals Uses structure of blues songs in poetry (repetition) Superficial stereotypes Gave birth to "gospel music" Blues and jazz transmitted across American via radio and phonographs Mass AfricanAmerican migration to Northern urban centers AfricanAmericans have more access to media and publishing outlets after they move Essays & Poetry of W.E.B. DuBois Poetry of McKay, Toomer, Cullen Poetry, short stories and novels of Hurston and Hughes Their Eyes Were Watching God

POSTMODERNISM 1950 to present Note: Many critics extend this to present and merge with Contemporary -- see below)

revealed to be complex characters Mixing of fantasy with nonfiction; blurs lines of reality for reader No heroes Concern with individual in isolation Social issues as writers align with feminist & ethnic groups Usually humorless Narratives Metafiction Present tense Magic realism


Erodes distinctions between classes of people Insists that values are not permanent but only "local" or "historical" ] Vision and

viewpoint became an essential aspect of the modernist novel as well. No longer was it sufficient to write a straightforward third-person narrative or (worse yet) use a pointlessly intrusive narrator. The way the story was told became as important as the story itself. Henry James, William Faulkner, and many other American writers experimented with fictional points of view (some are still doing so). James often restricted the information in the novel to what a single character would have known. Faulkner's novel The Sound and the Fury (1929) breaks up the narrative into four sections, each giving the viewpoint of a different character

Mailer's The Naked and the Dead and The Executioner's Song Feminist & Social Issue poets: Plath, Rich, Sexton, Levertov, Baraka, Cleaver, Morrison, Walker & Giovanni Miller's The Death of a Salesman & The Crucible (some consider Modern) Lawrence & Lee's Inherit the Wind Capote's In Cold Blood Stories & novels of Vonnegut Salinger's Catcher in the Rye Beat Poets: Kerouac, Burroughs, & Ginsberg Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Postmodern literature argues for expansion, the return of reference, the celebration of fragmentation rather than the fear of it, and the role of reference itself in literature. While drawing on the experimental tendencies of authors such as Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner in English, and Jorge Luis Borges in Spanish - writers who were taken as influences by American postmodern authors such as Norman Mailer, Thomas Pynchon, Kurt Vonnegut, Don DeLillo, John Barth, William Gaddis,

(including a mentally retarded boy). To analyze such modernist novels and poetry, a school of "new criticism" arose in the United States, with a new critical vocabulary. New critics hunted the "epiphany" (moment in which a character suddenly sees the transcendent truth of a situation, a term derived from a holy saint's appearance to mortals); they "examined" and "clarified" a work, hoping to "shed light" upon it through their "insights."

David Foster Wallace, and Paul Auster - the advocates of postmodern literature argue that the present is fundamentally different from the modern period, and therefore requires a new literary sensibility


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