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American Literature Genres

Puritanism
Mostly diaries and histories, which express the connection between God and their every day lives

Puritanism
Desire to purify the Church of England by reforming to the simpler forms of worship and church organization described in the New Testament

Puritanism
Religion is a personal, inner experience

Puritanism
Plain style of writing

Rationalism “The Age of Reason” “The Enlightenment”
Philosophers and scientists writing speeches and pamphlets for the purpose of distributing information

Rationalism “The Age of Reason” The Enlightenment”
Human beings can arrive at truth (God’s rules) by using deductive reasoning, rather than relying on the authority of the past, religious faith, or intuition

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God – Jonathan Edwards
Puritanism

Rationalism “The Age of Reason” “The Enlightenment”
Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death- Patrick Henry

Romanticism
Value feeling, intuition, and idealism

Romanticism
Place faith in inner experience and the power of imagination

Romanticism
Shun the artificiality of civilization and sought unspoiled nature as a path to spirituality

Romanticism
Champion individual freedom and the worth of the individual

Romanticism
Find poetry to be the highest expression of the imagination

Romanticism
Flowery, descriptive language/writing style

Romanticism
Dark Romantics/Gothic Style: use dark and supernatural themes/settings

Romanticism authors
Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman

Transcendentalism
Everything in the world, including human beings, reflect the Divine Soul

Transcendentalism
People can use their intuition to behold God’s spirit revealed in nature or in their own souls

Transcendentalism
Self-reliance and individualism must outweigh external authority and blind conformity to tradition

Transcendentalism
Self Reliance – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Transcendentalism
Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau

Realism
Feelings of disillusionment

Realism
Common subjects: slums of rapidly growing cities, factories replacing farms, poor factory workers, corrupt politicians

Realism
Attempt to represent the manner and environment of everyday life and ordinary people as realistically as possible

Realism
Desire to explain behavior (physiologically and socially)

Realism
Regret, A Respectable Woman – Kate Chopin
Frederick Douglass
Mark Twain

Modernism
Sense of disillusionment and loss of faith in the American Dream

Modernism
The independent, self-reliant individual will triumph

Modernism
Emphasis on bold experimentation in style and form instead of relying on the traditional

Modernism
Interest in the inner workings of the human mind (stream of consciousness)

Modernism
The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Complete Distruction – William Carlos Williams
Dawn – William Carlos Williams
This is Just to Say – William Carlos Willams
Robert Frost
e.e. Cummings

Harlem Renaissance
Black cultural movement in Harlem, New York

Harlem Renaissance
Some poetry rhythms based on spirituals and jazz with diction from the streets of the ghetto

Harlem Renaissance
Some poetry used conventional lyrical forms

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