American Literature: American Renaissance

What is the origin of American Renaissance?
Scholar originated the phrase “American Renaissance: Art and expression in the age of Emerson and Whitman

In American literature, the American Renaissance was a period of what?
During which many literary works most widely considered America masterpieces were produced.

The American Renaissance was inspired in part by what?
A new focus on humanism as a way to move from calvinism (Puritanism)

What was the thematic center of the American Renaissance according to Matthiessen?
The devotion of all five of his writers to “the possibilities of democracy”

What did he present the American renaissance text as?
“Literature for our democracy” and challenged the nation to repossess them

What is this period generally defined as?
The mid 19th century but especially the years roughly from 1850 to 1855

What are some of the major authors from those years?
1. Ralph Waldo (1850)
2. Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850, and 1851)
3. Herman Melville (1851)
4. Henry David Thoreau’s (1854)
5. Walt Whitman (1855)

What is the American Renaissance been criticized for?
Overemphasizing a small number of (1) white (2) male writers (3) artifacts of high culture [i.

e race, gender]

What women made her way into the “canon”?
Emily Dickinson, who began her poetry in the 1850’s

When did Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) rise to prominence?

What is the message of the opening graphic?
That American literature begins with the puritan religious calling

What is wrong with that?
It excludes other colonies and Native American’s

What is the message and what is wrong with opening explantation?
It implies that the diverse groups some how got together and created “American literature.

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What is wrong with the opening explanation of the “Literature of the Period”?
It assumes that we can ignore the actual beliefs & culture of the Native Americans, and abstract something from their myths called “literary quality”

What are the three versions of the History of American Literature?
1.20th century literary History
2.Political Correctness Inclusion
3. Contemporary Culture Studies

What is the 20th century literary History?
-Religion & politics are retroactively identified as “literature” (this approach had stuck to some extent; however it was also rejected)

What is Political Correctness Inclusion?
Say since the civil rights movement of the 60’s-70’s to keep the idea of the literary tradition unchanged; add authors from exclude groups to it

What is Contemporary Culture Studies?
Use of critical social science to reconstruct the idea of “literary” (main stream approach in academia)

What is the traditional literary canon?
A more realistic historical account of the development of literary writers in America, and the idea of such

What is the romantic period?
The appearance of poets & novelists, in the early 19th century, thought to be respectable relative to european greats

What is “The American Renaissance”?
The theory, developed in the 1940’s & 50’s of the appearance of truly American literary voice.

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American Literature: American Renaissance. (2018, Feb 26). Retrieved from

American Literature: American Renaissance
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