The roots of American literature lie in the 17th century—before  there  actually  was  an  America.  Early texts  that  originated  in  North  American  settlements throughout  the  1600s  consisted  of  religious  tracts  that explored  the  relationship  between  church  and  state,  as well  as  works  that  could  be  referred  to  as  “utilitarian,” since they consisted of descriptions of everyday life. These fi rsthand  accounts  of  traders,  explorers,  and  colonists soon gave way to more compelling material, and the canon of American literature began to take shape. This volume traces the progress of the written word in a land that itself was evolving as a nation.
  The works of Jamestown leader John Smith, who wrote about his experiences in the fi rst permanent English settlement  in  North America,  are  considered  to  be  where American  literature  originated.  Smith’s  works,  which include A Description of New England (1616) and The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles (1624), were intended to interest other Englishmen in emigrating to  the  colonies.  Other  colonial  leaders  added  their  own volumes  to  America’s  early  literary  history.  Among  the most notable is William Penn’s Brief Account of the Province of Pennsylvania (1682). 

Introduction:   10
Chapter 1: Early American
Literature  21
John Smith 25
The State of Verse  25
Michael Wigglesworth           26
Bay Psalm Book 29
The Story of Mary 
Rowlandson  29
Chapter 2: The 18th Century        33
Great Awakening  34
Writers of the Revolution      36
Poor Richard 37
Thomas Paine  38
The New Nation   45
Notable Works of 
the Period  49
Poetry  49
Drama and the Novel        49
Other Signifi cant Figures 
of the Century   50
Joel Barlow   50
Robert Montgomery Bird   52
Hugh Henry 
Brackenridge  53
Charles Brockden Brown   54
William Hill Brown  56
William Byrd of 
Westover  57
Timothy Dwight  58
Olaudah Equiano  59
Elizabeth Graeme 
Ferguson  62
Hannah Webster Foster    63
Philip Freneau  64
Sarah Kemble Knight        65
Sarah Wentworth 
Apthorp Morton  67
Susanna Rowson  68
Mercy Otis Warren          69
Phillis Wheatley  70
Chapter 3: Early 19th-
Century Literature 73
Willliam Cullen Bryant          73
The North American 
Review 75
Washington Irving  76
James Fenimore Cooper       79
Early Years  79
Novels  82
Cultural and Political 
Involvement  85
Return to America  86
Edgar Allan Poe   100
      Life and Writings  102 
Appraisal   105
Sarah Helen Power
Whitman 108
Other Signifi cant Writers 
of the Age  109
Maria Gowen Brooks       110
Joseph Dennie   111
Joseph Rodman Drake      112
James Hall  113
John P. Kennedy  114
James Kirke Paulding       115
      John Howard Payne         116
William Gilmore Simms    117
Chapter 4: The American
Renaissance   120
New England Brahmins        121
Oliver Wendell Holmes    121
Brahmin 122
Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow   123
James Russell Lowell       127
Seba Smith 130
The Transcendentalists       130
Unitarianism 132
Ralph Waldo Emerson     132
Transcendentalism  139
Henry David Thoreau      140
Bronson Alcott   148
Orestes Augustus
Brownson   150
George Ripley  152
Jones Very  153
New England Reformers
and Historians   153
George Bancroft   154
Richard Henry Dana        157
Margaret Fuller  158
William Lloyd Garrison    160
Slave Narrative  164
Edward Everett Hale        167
Julia Ward Howe   168
John Lothrop Motley       169
Francis Parkman   170
Harriet Beecher Stowe     174
John Greenleaf Whittier   176
Hawthorne, Melville,
and Whitman   179
Nathaniel Hawthorne       181
Herman Melville  189
Walt Whitman  198
Free Verse 206
Epilogue  222
Glossary  223
Bibliography  225
Index  228

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