American Literary TimelineNative American Works Colonial PeriodPuritanismRomanticism Transcendentalism Realism Naturalism Regionalism Modernism Contemporary
Native American Oral Tradition Before 1492Native Americans before Columbus developed a body of myths and stories handed down by word-of-mouth. Many of these explained why the world looks as it does.Stories of This PeriodCoyote Finishes His Work, The Sky Tree
The Colonial Period and Puritans Early America-1776 This period was at the very beginnings of America and it made way for the rest of the countrys literature. Writers of this period included the first African American Writers.Others that dominated this era were the Puritans whose definition of good writing was writing that brought home a full awareness of the importance of worshipping God and of the spiritual dangers that the soul faced on Earth.Authors of This PeriodOlaudah EquianoPhillis WheatleyJonathan Edwards
Age of Reason Late 1770s to Early 1800s This period was a time when authors were focused more on their own reasoning rather than simply taking what the church taught as fact. During this period there was also cultivation of patriotism. The main medium during that period were political pamphlets, essays, travel writings, speeches, and documents.
Authors of This PeriodBenjamin FranklinPatrick HenryThomas Jefferson
After the Age of Reason came to an end, the people of America were tired of reality; they wanted to see life as more than it was. This was the Era of Romantics. During this era, as appose to the Age of Reason the imagination dominated; intuition ruled over fact, and there was a large emphasis on the individual/common man, and on nature or the natural world. Authors of This PeriodWashington IrvingWilliam Cullen BryantNathaniel HawthorneEdgar Allan Poe
Transcendentalism1840-1855This branch of Romanticism stressed individualism, nature and self-reliance. Often Transcendentalists used nature to gain knowledge or to return to a life of self-reliance and individualism. It also stressed the fundamental idea of a unity between God and the world.Authors of This PeriodRalph Waldo EmersonHenry David ThoreauWalt Whitman
This literary movement took place after the Civil War; at a time when a war was taking place people were tired of fanciful literature. People wanted to see things how they were, so Realism came about.Realist authors tried to write truthfully and objectively about ordinary characters in ordinary situations. Authors of This PeriodHenry JamesMark TwainKate Chopin
The Naturalism literary movement that took place in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, tended to view people as helpless victims of powerful natural laws. Naturalism is closely related to Realism only it usually views the world in a darker perspective. In Naturalism it is widely shown that free will is an illusion that things that happen in the universe, happen and could not happen any other way.
Authors of This PeriodStephen CraneJack London
Regionalism was a literary movement in which authors would write a story about specific geographical areas.
By writing about regions the authors explore the culture of that area; including its languages, customs, beliefs, and history.
Authors of This PeriodWilla CatherWilliam FaulknerJoel Chandler Harris
This type of writing is one of the most experimental types. Modernist authors used of fragments, stream of consciousness, and interior dialogue. The main thing that authors were trying to achieve with Modernism was a unique style, one that they could stand out for, and be known for.During this period Technology was taking incredible leaps and two World Wars took place, there was destruction of a global scale. The younger generation began to take over the main stage. Authors of the ModernismErnest Hemingway F. Scott Fitzgerald John Steinbeck Robert Frost
In the years since the Modernism period, American authors have begun to write from a plethora of genres. Americans have realized that the best way to go is have many authors writing what ever it is they are best at. Thats exactly what has happened, there are more different types of writing being done at one time than at any other period in history; Fantasy, fiction, science fiction, horror, Political writings, romantics, plays, and poems, anything and everything. Authors of the ContemporaryJ. D. Salinger Stephen King Joyce Carol Oates Robert Jordan
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Edward Taylor (c. 1644-1729) Taylor was a Minister who studied at Harvard College, and whose works were never published by Taylor, himself, until they were discovered in 1930s. He wrote such pieces as Metrical History of Christianity, which mainly a history of Christian martyrs. Colonial Period
John Woolman (1720-1772) The best known work by a Quaker was written by this man, simply named Journal in 1774, this journal was a complete and full account of his life in a pure, heartfelt style of great sweetness that have attracted many American and English writers for many years after Woolman had past away.
Anne Bradstreet (c. 1612-1672)The first publication of a book of poems in America, was also the first publication by a woman in America. She also wrote The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America in 1650.
William Bradford (1590-1657)He was elected governor of Plymouth shortly after the pilgrims landed in on Plymouth Rock. He was essentially the first historian of the new colonies. His participation in the voyage of the Mayflower and being governor made him the ideal person for this job. He wrote Of Plymouth Plantation in 1651.
Abigail Adams (1744-1818)She wrote letters that campaigned for womens rights. Her grandson, Charles Francis Adams, published The Familiar Letters of John Adams and His Wife Abigail During the Revolution, which were just what they said they were, letters written by Abigail and her husband.
Age of Reason
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)Franklin is well known worldwide for his discoveries in the world of science and also for works that he contributed to, such as the Declaration of Independence, and his theories on electricity. His works were all new ideas things people never thought of before because they always took what they got as fact.
Age of Reason
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)Jefferson is bets know for writing the Declaration of Independence, the document came about as a response to these times, people were thinking for themselves, and one of the major thing the Americans discovered was that they didnt need England. So Jefferson wrote the D of I to formally state that.
Age of Reason
Thomas Paine (1737-1809) Paine wrote mostly pamphlets that would spur ideas and immediate action. In the document "The American Crisis," Paine wrote about the oppression that America suffered from Britain, and propelled America into a war with Britain. Paine, to this day, is well known for his propaganda.
Age of Reason
Washington Irving (1789-1851)Irving was the first famous American author; hes also known as the Father of American Literature. He wrote travel books, short stories, and satires. Some of his works include; Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Rip Van Winkle, and Devil and Tom Walker.
Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849)Poe had a bad childhood that made him despise the world, and his works reflected his work. He is credited for creating the modern short story, and the detective story. He also challenged two long-standing theories, one, a poem had to be long, and two, a poem had to teach you something. Some of his works include, "The Raven", "Bells", "Annabel Lee", and "Dream." Romanticism
Herman Melville (1819-1891)In his time Melville was not entirely recognized, however, in the more recent years he has been considered one of the most top rated novelist of all time. He is most well known for his epic novel Moby Dick.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)Emerson had a strong sense of a religious mission though he was accused of subverting Christianity. He left the church saying, to be a good minister, it was necessary to leave the church. Some of his mayor works include Nature, published in 1836.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)Thoreau Lived his life, to do just that, live his life. He was never rich and for the most part lived with little money all his life. His work he is most well known for is Walden, published in 1854.
Walt Whitman (1819-1892)Whiteman was born on Long Island, and was, for most of his job life, a carpenter; he was a man of the people. Most of his learning career was done on his own, after he left school the age of eleven. His major work was entitled His Leaves of Grass, published in 1855; over the years he made many rewrites for this book. Some of his famous poems are, "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking," and "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd."
[Sarah] Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) Fuller was born in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. She learned Greek and Latin at a very young age, and later learned German and Italian. After her father, a congressman, died she became a schoolteacher. She worked with Ralph Emerson as editors of The Dial, a literary and philosophical journal,