Essays on English and American Literature
Publication Year: 2015
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Published by: Princeton University Press
Series: Princeton Legacy Library
I. On Yeats's Poem "Leda and the Swan"
II. Explication De Texte Applied to Walt Whitman's Poem "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking"
IV. A Reinterpretation of "The Fall of the House of Usher"
V. The "Ode on a Grecian Urn," or Content VS. Metagrammar
VI. Marvell's "Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn"
VIII. Herrick's "Delight in Disorder"
IX. Three Poems on Ecstasy: John Donne, St. John of the Cross, Richard Wagner
X. Spenser, "Shepheardes Calendar, March" (Lines 61-114) and the Variorum Edition
XI. Explication De Texte Applied to Three Great Middle English Poems
Appendix: American Advertising Explained as Popular Art
Page Count: 308
Publication Year: 2015
Series Title: Princeton Legacy Library
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American literature, the body of written works produced in the English language in the United States.
Like other national literatures, American literature was shaped by the history of the country that produced it. For almost a century and a half, America was merely a group of colonies scattered along the eastern seaboard of the North American continent—colonies from which a few hardy souls tentatively ventured westward. After a successful rebellion against the motherland, America became the United States, a nation. By the end of the 19th century this nation extended southward to the Gulf of Mexico, northward to the 49th parallel, and westward to the Pacific. By the end of the 19th century, too, it had taken its place among the powers of the world—its fortunes so interrelated with those of other nations that inevitably it became involved in two world wars and, following these conflicts, with the problems of Europe and East Asia. Meanwhile, the rise of science and industry, as well as changes in ways of thinking and feeling, wrought many modifications in people’s lives. All these factors in the development of the United States molded the literature of the country.
This article traces the history of American poetry, drama, fiction, and social and literary criticism from the early 17th century through the turn of the 21st century. For a description of the oral and written literatures of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, seeNative American literature. Though the contributions of African Americans to American literature are discussed in this article, seeAfrican American literature for in-depth treatment. For information about literary traditions related to, and at times overlapping with, American literature in English, seeEnglish literature and Canadian literature: Canadian literature in English.