American literature in the 19th century
American literature the first half of 18th century was leither religious (influenced by pesimistic ideas of Puritans about man's life on Earth) or documentary describing travels and new country. Later, after Signing of a Declaration of Independence literature was political, including political documents or speches or esseys on american society.
In the beginning of the 19th century a new romantic movement appeared. The spirit of Freedom, Independence and democracy spread across the country.
From about 1830 to 1865, introduced important novelists such as:
- essayist, story writer, historian, biographer
- first belletrist in America writting for pleasure
- Life of Washington, History of New York, well known book – The Sketch book
- the greatest symbolist, he sailed on seas for many years. His experience at sea were the basis for almost all his novels author of Moby Dick, a complex and poetic novel of the sea. Captain Ahab is striving against his own fate and trying to catch Moby Dick, which is an enormous white whale and symbolizes evil.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
- author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which became a bestseller and a vehicle for antislavery sentiments.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803 – 1882):
- most of his major ideas – the need for a new national vision, the use of personal experience, the notion of the cosmic Over-Soul, and the doctrine of compensation – are suggested in his publication Nature.
- other poem he wrote was called Brahma - this poem, confused readers unfamiliar with Brahma, the highest Hindu god, the eternal and infinite soul of the universe.
NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE (1804 – 1864):
- Hawthorne used this idea of a curse on the family of an evil judge in his novel The House of the Seven Gables.
- many of Hawthorne´s stories are set in Puritan New England, and his greatest novel The Scarlet Letter has become the classic portrayal of Puritan America.
- Hawthorne´s reputation rests on his other novels and tales as well. In The House of the Seven Gables he again returns to New England´s history.
- Hawthorne´s last two novels were less successful - The Blithedale Romance and The Marble Faun.
James Fenimore Cooper
- describes American wilderness and wrote Indian novels of adventure. His masterpiece is The Last of the Mohicans. It is about a war between England and France in an Indian colony. Some tribes of Indians were with France and some with England. On of English fortresses, called William Henry, is surrounded by French army and Hurons (Indian tribe). Two daughters (Cora and Alice) of the leader of the William Henry wanted to get in. They live many adventures and finally they reach the fortress. However they were successful, the older one, Cora is murdered by a bad Huron.
- another famous books are The pioneers, The Pathfinder, The Deerslayer.
Edgar Allan Poe
- he was a poet and short story writer, critical essayist and the founder of science fiction and detective story
- he wrote essays about poetry. As a poet he was a master of rhymes and creatin moods
- his poem The Raven brought him the biggest success
- he is considered to be the founder of the modern detective story, full of horror and mystery: The black cat, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The pit and the pendulum, The golden Bug
- he made the American poetry independent on European poetry. He influenced the whole modern poetry with rhythmical free verse, which was his innovation
- Leaves of grass is collection of all his poems, in which is the famous one Song of myself.