No longer was it sufficient to write a straightforward third-person narrative or (worse yet) use a pointlessly intrusive narrator. • Some prominent works: The Sun Also Rises, 1896 - 1940 F. Scott Fitzgerald Certainly the New England Transcendentalists -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and their associates -- were inspired to a new optimistic affirmation by the Romantic movement. 20TH CENTURY AMERICAN DRAMA PLAY. Business boomed after the war. But chaos and destruction are embraced, as they signal a collapse of Western civilization's classical traditions. Common themes in American literature include the great journey, the loss of innocence, the great battle, love and friendship, and revenge. Toni Morrison James Baldwin (1924-1987)  James Baldwin https://prezi.com/nmkv3p7wpqvo/major-themes-in-american-literature No story would be worthwhile without a multi-faceted main character, an interesting setting, an engaging plot (or series of events), a conflict to overcome, and a central theme or message. Yet with the exception of outstanding political writing, few works of note appeared during or soon after the Revolution. Common Themes in American Literature Common Themes throughout American Literature Many authors contributed to American literature between 1865 and 1914. A major theme is an idea that a writer repeats in his literary work, making it the most significant idea in the work. Pound's 1914 anthology of 10 poets, Des Imagistes, offered examples of Imagist poetry by outstanding poets, including William Carlos Williams, H.D. Major and minor themes are two types of themes that appear in literary works. The theme is an underlying message of bravery, or hope, or love. Whatever the style or genre, certain themes remained constant. That's the beauty of artistic expression. Obviously only the leisured and independently wealthy, like Washington Irving and the New York Knickerbocker group, or the group of Connecticut poets known as the Hartford Wits, could afford to indulge their interest in writing. • Writing style - playwright and essayist • Major works include Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, Misfits, & All My Sons • Major Themes: American Dream and the common man's inability to achieve it. In literature, Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) developed an analogue to modern art. Richard Hugo   • Some prominent works: The Red Pony, Grapes of Wrath, Cannery Row, East of Eden, The HARLEM RENAISSANCE 1919-1937 (also a part of Modernism), 1908 - 1960 Richard Wright was born on a Mississippi plantation.  As an adult he lived in Chicago and New York, where he became an influential writer, speaker, and member of the Communist party.  He was the first black writer to reach a large audience. You can get started with these tips on writing a bestseller. But his short life ended in poverty. Despairing of purifying the Church of England from within, "Separatists" formed underground "covenanted" churches that swore loyalty to the group instead of the king. Romanticism – (1800-1840) - Romanticism was a literary and artistic movement of the nineteenth century that arose in reaction against eighteenth-century Neoclassicism and placed a premium on fancy, imagination, emotion, nature, individuality, and exotica.  There’s a movement here from personal and political documents to entertaining ones.  Purely American topics were introduced such as frontier life.  Romantic elements can be found in the works of American writers as diverse as Cooper, Poe, Thoreau, Emerson, Dickinson, Hawthorne, and Melville.  Romanticism is particularly evident in the works of the New England Transcendentalists. Love drew these two characters to one another, and nothing was going to stop them from coming together. They contain brilliant passages, but their allusions to works of literature and art from many eras and cultures make them difficult. • Related literary movements: Naturalism, Modernism, Harlem Renaissance Americans were painfully aware of their excessive dependence on English literary models. American books were harshly reviewed in England. Only journalism offered financial remuneration, but the mass audience wanted light, undemanding verse and short topical essays -- not long or experimental work. Here are a few examples of the beauty of friendship in major works of literature: Of course, love can move the world. By World War I, the United States had become a major world power. Known as the "Pilgrims," they were a small group of believers who had migrated from England to Holland -- even then known for its religious tolerance -- in 1608, during a time of persecutions. Ezra Pound was one of the most influential American poets of this century. John Updike Now that we know the different movements, let's look at the common themes found in t… Ezra Pound (1885-1972) Using simple, concrete words as counters, she developed an abstract, experimental prose poetry. • Related literary movements:  Transcendentalism, 1811-1896 Harriet Beecher Stowe • Key themes and features:  • "American hunger"  • strength through struggle  • autonomy, equality, and individuality  • communist ideals, 1902 – 1967 Langston Hughes The Puritan definition of good writing was that which brought home a full awareness of the importance of worshipping God and of the spiritual dangers that the soul faced on Earth. Reformer • Related literary movements:  Puritanism, Revivalism • Related literary movements:  Realism, Naturalism, 1862 - 1937 Edith Wharton In 1860, most Americans lived on farms or in small villages, but by 1919 half of the population was concentrated in about 12 cities. Modernism describes the avant-garde styles of the early twentieth century, while postmodernismdescribes the period of art that evolved after World War II. Carey's men would sail out to meet the incoming ships in the harbor and speed the pirated books into print using typesetters who divided the book into sections and worked in shifts around the clock. Literary forms of the period were extraordinarily varied, and in drama, poetry, and fiction the leading authors tended toward radical technical … All Rights Reserved. Alice Walker. Between 1630 and 1690, there were as many university graduates in the northeastern section of the United States, known as New England, as in the mother country -- an astounding fact when one considers that most educated people of the time were aristocrats who were unwilling to risk their lives in wilderness conditions. The ideal American of the post-Civil War period became the millionaire. 1783 – 1859 Washington Irving Harlem Renaissance – Part of the Modern Age, The Harlem Renaissance, which occurred during the 1920’s, was a time of African American artistic creativity centered in Harlem, in New York City.  Writers of the Harlem Renaissance include Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes, and Arna Bontemps. Nevertheless, the cheap and plentiful supply of pirated foreign books and classics in the first 50 years of the new country did educate Americans, including the first great writers, who began to make their appearance around 1825. During the First World War, the world witnessed the chaos and destruction of which modern man was capable. 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 writing. • Some prominent works: Leaves of Grass (poetry) Companions… Students will trace the evolution of American literature while exploring such themes as "The American Dream," "Coming of Age," "Justice and Injustice," "The Pursuit of Happiness," "War and Peace," and "Freedom and Dignity." (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use). Piracy starved the first generation of revolutionary American writers; not surprisingly, the generation after them produced even less work of merit. • Related literary movements:  Transcendentalism It can be whatever the author deems appropriate, and there can also be more than one theme. Modern Age – (1915-1946) – An age of disillusionment and confusion—just look at what was happening in history in the US during these dates—this period brought us perhaps our best writers.  The authors during this period raised all the great questions of life…but offered no answers.  Faulkner, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Frost are all examples.    It also gave industrial leaders valuable experience in the management of men and machines. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure." Description: STUDY. Reformer. • Key themes and features:  • defense of church authority vs. secularism  Beautyof simplicity 2. Other terms to know: • Tragic Figure (Aristotle) • Jewish American, Communism, and Hollywood ARTHUR MILLER (1915–2005) 19. For all men live by truth, and stand in need of expression. Petals on a wet, black bough. This era in American literature is responsible for notable first works, such as the first American comedy written for the stage—"The Contrast" by Royall Tyler, written in 1787—and the first American Novel—"The Power of Sympathy" by William Hill, written in 1789. This can be a great theme if your goal is to tug at the heartstrings of your readers. Some poets to investigate: A. R. Ammons Here are a few examples of death and dying in major works of literature: Valued friendships can completely alter one's life. The whole narrative revolves around the major theme of matrimony. Stieglitz's salon influenced numerous writers and artists, including William Carlos Williams, who was one of the most influential American poets of the 20th century. dear it means a whole steadiness. Bad as the law was, none of the early publishers were willing to have it changed because it proved profitable for them. But this buried plot does not challenge the aristocratic social structure of England. If, according to Romantic theory, self and nature were one, self-awareness was not a selfish dead end but a mode of knowledge opening up the universe. James often restricted the information in the novel to what a single character would have known. Although individual Puritans could not know, in strict theological terms, whether they were "saved" and among the elect who would go to heaven, Puritans tended to feel that earthly success was a sign of election. Description: The 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. The more you read, the more you'll spot some of the popular literary themes. Life was seen as a test; failure led to eternal damnation and hellfire, and success to heavenly bliss. Naturalism – An outgrowth of Realism, Naturalism was a literary movement among novelists at the end of the nineteenth century and during the early decades of the twentieth century.  The Naturalists tended to view people as hapless victims of immutable natural laws.  Early exponents of Naturalism included Stephen Crane, Jack London, and Theodore Dreiser. You'll notice the characters embracing - or turning away from - the theme time and again, and you'll see how their relationship to the theme impacts the events that unfold. Regionalism – Another outgrowth of Realism, Regionalism in literature is the tendency among certain authors to write about specific geographical areas.  Regional writers like Willa Cather and William Faulkner, present the distinct culture of an area, including its speech, customs, beliefs, and history.  Local-color writing may be considered a type of Regionalism, but Regionalists, like the southern writers of the 1920’s, usually go beyond mere presentation of cultural idiosyncrasies and attempt, instead, a sophisticated sociological or anthropological treatment of the culture of a region. Published until his death does n't it and creative essayists across more than 1,000 be whatever the author several! Spy ( 1821 ), was pirated by four different printers within a month of its appearance and were! Influential American poets of this important element 's work under a four-factor balancing test work making. 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