History of American Literature

The biography of John Smith, Washington Irving, Hugh Henry Brackenridge, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Philip Freneau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman. General characteristics of American romanticism.

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Higher and Secondary Special Education Ministry of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Gulistan State University

History of American Literature



In the tenth century brave Scandinavian sailors reached the Western coast of the Present USA. On 12th of October 1492 Christopher Columbus landed on one of the islands (in the region of Cuba). About 1500 Florentine Amerigo Vespuchi came to the shores of the New World. But only at the beginning of the XII century did Europeans begin to open up Western Coasts of the North America. At that time the Spaniards founded settlements along the Atlantic coast (in the territory of the present day Florida, Georgia and South California). The Dutchmen settled in the district of Hudson. In Manhatten island (Hudson-) 1613 the Dutch settlement became New Amsterdam. In 1604 Frenchmen founded the first settlements in Canada. Englishmen set about to colonize America, a little later, the first English colony was Virginia which was founded in 1607. In 1620 Mayflower brought from England the first detachment of the colonists = puritans, who founded New Plymouth (near present day Boston). Later near that place there sprang up New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and these united under the name of New England. In 1634 there appeared Maryland and in 1681 William Penn founded the Quaker colony, Pennsylvania.

American Literature can not be captured in a simple definition. It reflects the many religious, historical and cultural traditions of the American people, one of the world's most varied populations. It includes poetry, fiction, drama and other kinds of writing by authors in what is now the US. It also includes non written material, such as the oral literature of the American Indians and folk tales and legends. In addition, American literature includes accounts of American written by immigrants and visitors from other countries, as well as works by American writers who spent all of their lives abroad.

The United States became an independent nation by winning the Revolutionary War in America (1775-1783). Much of the literature of this period addressed issues relating to American independence.

American literature begins with the legends, myths and poetry of the American Indians, the first people to live in what is now the US. Indian legends included stories about the origin of the world, the histories of tribes and tales of tribal heroes. With rare exceptions this oral literature wasn't written down until 1800's.

The earliest writing in America consisted of the journals and reports of European explorers and missionaries. These early authors left a rich literature describing their encounters with new lands and new civilizations. They publicized their adventures, described the New World, and tried to attract setllers in words that sometimes mixed facts with propaganda.

Colonists from England and other European countries began settjing along the eastern coast of North America in the early 1600's and created the first American colonial literature. The colonies in Verginia and New England produced the most important writings in the 1600's. In the 1700's, Philodelphia emerged as the literary center of the American colonies.

Captain John Smith wrote what is regarded as the first American book, A True Relation of Virginia (1608). It describes how he and other colonists established the first permanent E. settlement in America at Jamestown, John Smith wrote A Description of New England) in 1616. Smith told a version of the famous story of Pocahontas in The General Histories of Virginia, New England and the Summer Isles (1624). The story claims that Pocahontas, the daughter of an Indian chief, saved Smith's life when her father was about to have him killed.

In The History of the Present State of Virginia (1705) historian Robert Beverley wrote about the tragic destruction of the American Indians.

To Beverley, the Indians represented possibilities for happiness, innocence, harmony and freedom. In 1620, the Pilgrims founded Plymouth Colony the second permanent E.settlement in America. Many Pilgrims belonged to a group of E. Protestants called Puritans.

The Puritans recorded their own history out of a desire to communicate with fellow believers in England, to attract new coloniests, and to justify their move to a new country. Cotton Mathew wrote more than 400 works on many subjects.

Historical works aimed at recording the life of the Puritans, their journey to America, and the major events, as well as the everyday chronicle, of their life in the New World. William Bradford, History of Plymanth Plantation. Adward Johnson History of New England, Coblun Mather Masnalia Christi Americana. Underlying all these writings, one always finds the idea of Providence; the worldwhich is described is always seen as a reflection of the divine order so that constant analogies are drawn between the beauty of nature and the still of the Architect who created it. Sermons were by far the most common sort of literature in American Colonial communities totally controlled by the church. Dozens of ministers published the sermons that they had written, the best known being those of Thomas Hooker, Increase and Colton Mather.

In spite of the Puritans admiration for the classics and poets like Milton, poetry was often distrussed for appealing for much to the senses and the imagination.

John Smith (1580-1631)

John Smith lived a life crammed with adventure and achievement during a great age of exploration. It had not taken long for adventurers and merchants to begin to explore the New World Columbus had discovered. The Spanish to the south, the French to the north, the English along the mid-Atlantic coast, the Dutch, the Swedes, the Portuguese - all of Europe seemed to be moving west. By Smith's time, about 1600 exploration and the search for gold were still important, but the desire to establish permanent settlements was growing. Smith strong-willed, imaginative, a born leader - was in the right place at the right time.

In 1607 the first permanent English settlement Jamestown, Virginia, was formed. It was made up of one hundred men and four boys, and the man in charge was the twenty-seven year-old Captain John Smith. The colony would not have survived without John Smith. As it was, over half the colonists died during the first winter. After two years in Jamestown, Smith returned to England.

In 1614 a group of English merchants, who hoped to get rich from gold, whale oil, and furs, financed a six-month expedition to New England for Smith. He explored the coast of Main to Cape Cod, made maps, traded with Indians, and went back to England, never to return to America. Yet Smith wanted to return as we can see from his Description of New England, published in 1616. Although he calls this work a description, Smith's main purpose is not to describe but to persuade. This pamphlet is essentially and advertisement, a kind of seventeenth - century commercial. It is an effort to raise money for another new expedition and to convince Englishmen to join Smith in establishing a new colony of which he hoped to be governor.

The United States became an Independent nation by winning the Revolutionary War in America (1775-1783). Much of the literature of this period addressed issues relating to American independence.

Thomas Paine soon became famous for his fiery essays in support of the American patriots. His pamphlet Common Seuse (1776) called for complete independence from Great Britain. In a series of pamphlets called The American Crisis (1776-1783), he encouraged the rebels to persist during the darkest days of the Revolutionary War.

James Hector St. John De Creve Coeur the French - born essayist (1735-1813), helped the colonists think of themselves as American rather than Europeans. Crevecoeur saw America as a new land where individuals could throw off old Prejudices, suffocating social Customs, and tyrannical government.

Franklin, Paine and Creve Coeur wrote in disnified, but Plain and clear, prose. This style reached its peak in the ringing eloquence of the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson. The same type of writing appears in the sober language of the Constitution of the U.S-s, much of which was dratted by Gonverneur Morris, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay used this clear style in The Federatist (1784-1788), and series of public letters that persuaded New Yorkers to ratify the Constitution.

William Cullen Bryant

William Cullen Bryant merits a claim to be one of America's first naturalist poets. Born after the Revolutionary War, Bryant turned to nature as a source for poetic inspiration. Thanatopsis, the name of his most famous nature poem, is a Greek word meaning view of death. The opening lines assert:

To him who in the love of nature holds

Communion with her visible forms, she speaks

A various language

Edgar Allan Poe, was also a master of the prose tale. A gifted, tormented man, Poe thought about the proper function of literature for more than any of his predecessors, with the result that he became the first great American literary critic

The next great American Romanticist, however, drew on America for both characters and seltings, and his work, though theoretical and philosophical, does mirror the attitudes and moves of the time. He was a Shy New Englander named Nathaniel Hawthorne. Although he wrote no poetry his short Stories and novels still rank among the best that America has produced.

Abolitionism. Harriet Beacher Stowe Uncle Tom's Cabin

Transcendentalism. Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Great Awakener the founder of Transcendentalism, deeply influenced American literature. His Speeches The American Scholar (1837) and Divinity School Address (1838). His treatise Nature (1836). In 1840 started publishing The Deal, the Transcendentalism review. 1841. Essays, first series. (Second series in 1844). 1845-1846 Lectures on Representative Men (published 1880); Poems.

Literature of a young nation (1788-1917)

Washington Irving rose to fame with humorous and its past in the magazine Salmagundi (1807-1808) and in a book, A History of New York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty (1809). The book is also called Knickbocker's History of New York because Irving wrote it under the name Diedrich Knickerbocker. In The Sketch Book of Geoffren Crayon, (1819-1820), Irving combined the style of the essay and the sketch to create the first short stories in American literature. The book includes Rip Van Wirkle and The legend of Sleepy Hollow two of Irving's most famous tales. In Rip Van Wirkle the title character awakens from a 20_year sleep to find everything changed by the Revolutionary War. Irving's doubts about American independence, his hostility toward New E-d culture, and his desire to mountain cultural ties with E-d run through all his early writing.

The poet William Cullen Bryant adapted the style of E. romantic poetry to describe the American landscape and to find moral significance in its beauty. Such poems as Thanatopsis (1817), To a Waterfowl (1818), and To the Fringed Gentain (1832) reflect Bryant's admiration of nature.

Origin of the American Novel. Hugh Henry Brackenridge (1748-1816)

Hugh Henry Brackenridge was Scotch. He came to America still a child and he grew up in Pennsylvania. In 1768 he entered the Princeton University. On graduating from the University Brackenridge worked at school. During the War for Independence he served as a priest in the revolutionary army.

In 1776 he wrote his poem Battle at the Banker Hill and his play General Montgomery's Death appeared.

After the War he moved to Pittsburgh; there he edited a newspaper and took an active part in the social life of the country, he supported Jefferson's party. He became the Member of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The activity supplied him with material for his satirical novel Modern Chivalry ( ). The first part of which saw the world in 1792 and the second one came into existence in 1805. Brackenridge is seen in this novel as the founder of American realistic novel.

The writer showed how the American bourgeoisie used democratic aciements of the revolution for their goals =aims; how the American bourgeoisie streugthened it's rule () Modern Chivalry is written in spirit of the English Englighteument novel of the XVIII century. The heroes of the book are Captain John Tarrago and his servant from Ireland Treg O - Riggee. They visit distant plays of the frontier, they were at inns, fairs; they watehed Eleetious to the local. Captain Farrago was well read and clever man. Being a democrate he does not believe American democracy blindly; he could see its dark sides as well.

He tried to bring up honest citizens of America showing them the stupidity of ambitious pretentious Braskenbridge's traditions would be continued and deepened by the realists of the XIX century.

The Era of Expansion (1831-1870)

During the mid 1830's the United States gained control of Texas, California, Oregon, and other western lands. The Indians who occupied many lands from coast to coast were forced to surrender their claims and to resettle an reservation.

To glorify the frontier

To praise the beauty of nature

In 1861, The Civil War broke out between the North and South. The North won the war in 1865.

Two main forms of fiction were practiced by American writers in the mid - 1890's: 1) the sentimental novel and 2) the romance.

The sentimental novel, which had been developed by author Samuel Richardson in the mid - 1700's, became immensely popular in the United S-s in the mid - 1800's. This type of novel emphasized feelings and such values as religious faith, moral virtue, and family closeness. Its stress on traditional values appealed to many people during a period of rapid social and political change.

The sentimental novel also used reform. It became the means for rousing concern about the plight of black slaves, poor people, and other unfortunate members of society.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

He was born in 1706 in Boston, the son of a tallow-chandler. In 1718 he became a printer's apprentice. In 1722 he began to write satirical papers under the name Silens Dogood for the New England Courant as a writer - enlightener. He was a philosopher, scientist. In 1729 he came to Philadelphia and found work as a printer. In 1726 set up his own press. In 1727 Benjamin created the Junto Club for the pursuit of scholarly knowledge.

In 1729 he bought the Pennsylvania Gazette, it was later turned into Saturday Evening Post. In 1732 he started issuing Poor Richard's Almanack. In 1742 he invented the Franklin Store and this is a collection of proverbs moral reflections, advertisements, recipes and advice, also remained popular for generations. In 1743 he founded the American Philosophical Society. In 1751 he makes experiments and observations in Electricity. In 1757 he went to London, as an agent for the Pennsylvania Assembly. In the same year he published The Way to Wealth. During 1765-1770 he is very active against the Stamp Act in London.

In 1771 Benjamin wrote the first part of his Autobiography. In 1775 he was sent as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. In 1776 he helped draft the Declaration of Independence. He is sent to Paris to negotiate the treaty of alliance. In 1783 he signed the Treaty of Paris. In 1784 he started working on the Autobiography again. In 1785 he returned to America. He wrote against slavery. Died in Philadelphia in 1790.

In 1773 he wrote a satirical pamphlet Rules by which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One. In 1784 he published another pamphlet in England Remarks Concerning the Savages of North America in defense of American Indians. His satirical pamphlet On the Slave Trade became his political precept - will.

Herman Melville called him Jack of all trades, master of each and mastered by none - the type and genius of his land and indeed Benjamin Franklin's life bears testimony to the variety of his pursuits and talents. It is the story of a gradual rise to power and a constant success: as a printer, and a scientist (he studied earthquakes, invented bifocal spectacles, was the first American to enter the Royal Society of London for his discoveries on electricity), in his municipal responsibilities in Philadelphia (where he created both a fire company and a police force, and introduced paving), and in his national duties as a tireless diplomat. He was the perfect representative of the Enlightenment, of the tolerant, reasonable, scientific intellect of the 18th century, believing in the perfectibility of man.

Franklin's writings are the varied - essays, letters, speeches, satirical works-but his literary masterpiece is his Autobiography. Written in a simple and direct style aimed at being understood by all, it relates his rise to success and maturity. Through the varied steps and careers of his life, we see him assuming different poses and roles which the elderly narrator describes with lucidity and distance. His pragmatic insistence on virtue, industry and self - reliance was later to be criticized as bourgeois and utilitarian, but there is deep sincerity in the Autobiography; one feels that Franklin tried to better his fellowmen's physical, intellectual and social conditions, that he was mainly concerned with the common benefit of mankind.

Franklin's first book, Poor Richard's Almanac also remained popular for future generations.

1. Over 200 tears ago, Benjamin Franklin wrote:

The rapid progress true science now makes occasions my regretting something that I was born too soon. It is impossible to imagine the heights to which may be carried, in a thousand years, the power of man over matter. Oh, that moral science were in as fair a way of improvement, that men woiuld cease to be wolves to one another, and that human beings would at length learn what they now improperly call humanity! In your own words explain what Franklin meant by this statement and then in a short written essay, agree or disagree with his point of view as it applies to your life.

A piblic-spirited citizen - Yet, civic affairs was only one of his many interests.

He was also a scientist, patriot, businessman, statement, and man of the world

Franklin, the Scientist,

Franklin, the Patriot,

Franklin, the Businessman,

Franklin the Statesman.

Charles Brockden Brown (1771-1810)

Charles brockden Brown was born in Philadelphia in the familty of hereditary gentleman by birth colonist His father was a trader. He prepared his son to the profession of a lawyer. Having left the lawschool Brown began engage himself as a lawyer, but in 1798 he left advocate's office, he did not want to stay as a defender of unjustice. Brown went to New York where he devoted himself wholly to litrary activity writing eight novels for four years. Simultaneously he published Monthly Magazine and American view (from 1799 by 1803) on the pages of whose he published his own stories and excerpts from his own novels. Litrary - critical activity he did not give up ever.

Brown belonged to a new past-war seneration of American writers. He grewv in the conditious of strengthened bourgeois system. Brown lost ties with paine and Frenan. For aim Hamilton the leader of feduralists was not private enemy; and Brown wrote about him sympatheticobituary but true did not lose ties with French and English Enlightenment, with Godwin, the influence of the latter on Brown is felt in his novels.

The crisis of Enlightenment novelis seen in Browns interests to the heroes with ill, cofused souls, to the mysterious and intricate adventures to fatal mysteries. The life became more complicated incause of the development of bourgeois relations. The power of money drew the death of patriarchal moral and manners. In this condition instead of Enlightenment nvels there appear Gothic novels full of horrors and mysteries. His first novel Wieland (1798) came into being and where the author coudemnsamusing literature

Brown defends the unity of meaning and form. In the article Standards of Taste (1806) Brown states that the meaning gives dignity an dweight to the worle not a form. He says that 6he form without meaning looks like a nut without kernel; it diappoints. Brown was the first in American literature to speak about literary critics tobe a science. Brown states that literature hasthe task to enlishten people and it snould serve social aims. He made an invention= discovery the reason of unhappines of a mans roots in (is founded on) not on his nature, but its reason is in social institutions.

Brown's easthetics prepared the appearance ofromanticism.

On Browns road went Hawthorne, Edgar Poeand Lippard. The narration is made on the name of Clara Wieland - the heroes (Theodore's) sister. The next novel is Ormond ( , 1799) in this novel the author makes one more step in the owning with American material. Stephen Dadleya New Yorkdruggist is honest and kind=well disposed. He is ruined by his adroitand inscrupulous impudent apprentice. Crais and to whom his drugstorepassed. To support his family Dadley becomes a clerk in a law.

Ormond is Dadley's acquantance, Whoseves Dadley's from hanger daeth. But later it turns out that the young man is a villain scoundrel. Ormond's aim is to seduce =pervert Coustance. It was he who made Stephen Dadley poor using Craig as a wqeapon. Ormond had already enticed one girl. His next saerife became Constance. The real hero of the novel is Constance.

A month later Browns next novel Arthur Mervin appeared Edgar Huntley, or Memoirs of the Sleep - Walker aws published in July1799.

Clara Howard (1800) and Jane Tacbot (1801) are novels which have happy end.

General Characteristics of American Romanticism

Romanticism, transcendentalism and abolitionists writers reflected complex, contradictory pictures of the first half of the XIX century development of American society. They leaned upon the aesthetics of Romanticism, which was the leading literary school of those years. Appearance in America was inevitable historically as well as in European literatures. American romanticism had the same historical precondition and it rested on the same aesthetically basic and methods as European romanticism. American romanticism sprang up on the soil of the American revolution of 1775-1783 by some of the results. The principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness declared in the Declaration of Independence came to a contradiction with social and economic structure, which secured freedom & happiness of only rich owners.

Humdrum the life of the American middle class society spurned the writers with its prisms, dry practicality & narrow - mindedness of approach. The romanticists tried to contradict such prisms in either the life of the Indians, which had not yet been defined with capitalist civilization, or the Reich of romantic dreams of higher & more reasonable system.

In this way, there sprang up, peculiar to the aesthetics of romanticism, contradictions between the dreams & reality. For the romanticists it was characteristic to the material worried, in aspiring to contradict reality with abstract ideals. Romanticists sought their ideals outside real life, in the realism of dreams, because they couldn't their ideals in the images taken from reality. Rejestiny the unattractive middle class worlds the romanticists imposed an invented world through their dreams. They also fried to depict real life, but the peculiarity of their creative methods defined the specific character and its reflection.

Events & stages in the romanticists works rise above the pettiness of every day life. The prosaic middle class is put against high romantic natures & every day practical interests as opposed to the struggle of mighty passions. Creation of fantastic characters who act in fantastic, imaginary situations - such were the methods of romantically typification & American romantic literature is not an exception to this. Romanticists consciously digressed from the ordinary, from the conditions of every day life, from every day concrete definition. In their artistic generalization, they were attracted by the symbolic & allegorical. Hidden & incomprehensible for romanticists were the reasons of social phenomena.

All the same, romanticism was a step forward in the development of literature. The romanticists widened the notion about life & deepened the understanding of life. They approached beauty of nature in a new fashion & they revealed deeply emotional perceptions of social existence.

The main achievement of romanticism was a steady attention to the inner world of man, to his spiritual life. The romanticists opposed the cult of sense, the cult of human passions, preferring enlightenment cult of realism. Thanks to it, they were able to express their protest against the suppression of the personality & to expose the complexity of people's spiritual life at the beginning of the XIX century.

Together with European romanticists, American writers of this direction widened the borders of world of knowledge for people of those days.

American romanticism had to understand a new, very contradictory & intricate world dying & being born again to understand new human interrelations, to refuse the settled & to dealer new criteria. It was extremely difficult. The romanticists were distressed, they sought, they foresaw. They were delighted with life. They struggled for the best, they appreciated the resent past & present, then created the images of indomitable heroes & rebels, who were full of high passion such as: recalcitrance, anger & the thirst for justice.

All romanticist theories glorified the individualistic ideal of human behavior, but none of them explained individualism with regularities of social development. This differentiates romanticism from realism.

Romanticism is an effective method of artistic mastery the assimilation of reality without which the process of the aesthetic development of any nation world not is full.

Romanticists went from the life of an individual to the life of the country, not paying attention to social groups, layers or classes.

American romanticists did not have a single ideological program, which they could defend in their works. Besides the transdentalists' club, there was no romanticists' group, schools or trends. Washington Irving was alone in his Anglo - American position as a intermediary between Europe & America. Nathaniel Hawthorn was also single in his fight against Puritanism. Edgar Allow Poe was in literary & social isolation. Herman Mellville's name was crossed out from literature when he still was alive. Yes!

But =Yet all of them were united in their protest against middle class morals, policy & aesthetical estimation, in their customs.

The sharpness of real contradictions determines the strife of romanticists to abstract & to oppose the beautiful with the ugly & good with evil. Positive is raised & negative is lowered. That is whelp in the creative methods of romanticists contrasting engage much place, we can notice the melioration for the exceptional & unique & the titanium of amigos & underlined hyperbole in the description of natural elements.

Romanticists introduce dramatic conflicts with mysteries & fatal chance - fortuity; the plot acquires of adventurous heralds, the intrigue is intricate, the hero's have sudden turns & troubles.

The heroes have a lot of obstacles. The events develop dynamic & the conclusion almost unexpected.

The idea of national originality & the idea of national character are typical for American romanticists. It was the American romanticists who raised the flag for Independent American literature not dependent upon European literature. They became the creators of the national literature of their mother country; they became the historians of the past & the judges of their present. This function will be inherited by the literature of a later deeded - of the critical realism.

Each of the romanticists tried to find his ideal outside the middle class surroundings & middle class practices & with it underlining antipoetic character of the mercenary word.

Washington Irving searched the ideal in the patriarchal surrounding of the colonists of the XVIII century & he created a poetical image of old worldly America; Fenimore Cooper & Herman Melville considered the ideal the free life of uncivilized nations of the islands of the Pacific or the Indians; S. Judd & I. Hippard searched for support in Christian socialism.

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Edgar Allan Poe is certainly one of the best known and most popular of American writers. His stories are read by children, probed with the tools of psychoanalysis by critics, and transformed into films. His poems, notably The Raven, To Helen and Annable Lee, are widely anthologized. And his critical notion that a poem should be readable in a single sitting so as not to mute its single effect is a familiar critical principle. More importantly, Poe's poetic theories, outlined in such pieces as The Poetic Principle, The Rationale of Verse and The Philosophy of Composition, had a profound influence on the French symbolist movement.

Before he became a famous poet and short - storey writer, Poe was known as a journalist and magazine editor. He wrote numerous reviews about works now forgotten while producing his own memerable tales and poems. And though he never realized his dream of founding a literary magazine of his own, be contributed to many, including those he edited. Aa a writer for popular periodicals like the Broadway Journals and Graham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine, and as an editor of literary periodicalssuch as the Southern Literary Messenger Poe came to understand very well the audiences who read his work. He aimed his work, as he wrote, not above the popular, or below the critical, taste turning the fictional conventions of his own time to odd account. In tales such as Ligeia and The Fall of the House of Usher, for example he put his personal stamp on the gothic horror story. He remodeled the tale of exploration in works like A Descent into theMaelstorm, and he developed the genre of the detective story, or tale of racionation as he called it, with such stories as The Gold Bug, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, and The Purlioned Letter. Still another genre he touched on was science fiction with his fantastic story The Balloon Hoax. As various as was Poe's genius and as varied as were the fictional subgenres he worked in, one element of his work remains consistent: his concern with the workings of the human mind.

Writers as diverse as Bandelaire and Dostoevsky admired Poe's work. Bandelaire, who translated many of Poe's tales, in fact, acknowledged Poe's influence by writing that if Poe hadn't existed Bandelaire would have had to invent him. Dostoevsky was unstiuting in his praise of Poe's revelations of minds at war with thenselves. Although Dostoevsky's own explorations of extreme states of consciosness and his dramatic depictions of behavior honed by guilt are more ambitious and monumental than Poe's sketches and tales, the Russian writer felt a kindship with Poe.

Poe's life was as tormented as the minds of his stories narrators. He was born to itinerant actors in Boston. His father died when he was a year old and his mother a year later. Edgar was and his brother and sister were taken as foster children into the Rome of a Richmond tobacco merchant, John Allan. Poe was educated in England and at the University of Vifginia, where he was provided with insafficient funds for food, books, and clothing by John Allan. Living among wealthy young men, Poe resorted to gambling, wich further worsened his financial situation and contributed what was an already seriously strained relationship with his foster father, who disapproved of his literary ambitions. The upshot was that Poe withdrew from the university and was left to make his own way as an author.

In 1837 he moned his familyfrom Baltimore to New York, where he published his only full-length fictional work, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. In 1840 he published his Tales of the Grotesqu and Arabesque (1840). Poe borrowed the terms grotesque and arabesque from the Romantic poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott, and meant them to suggest the terror associated with the bizarre and the beautiful associated with the poetic. He also meant to suggest that both elements were present in many stories in his collection.

The Fall of the House of Usher is among Poe's most famous and most accomplished tales. The house that falls is both the literal Usher habitation and the family it signifies. The house also represents the mind of Roderick Usher. In its density of detail, bizarre events, and uncanny tone, the story suggest gothic fiction. In its psychological richness and fainted family history, it reaches back to Greek tragedy.

The Cask of Amontillado examplifies Poe's genius at displaying a mad narrator whose intent is to convince his listeners of his sanity. Perhaps Poe's best - known example of this type is the narrator of The Tell - Tale Heart. But The Cask of Amontilado is an even richer story, with Poe pulling out all the stops in displaying multiple ironies while his narrator fels compelled to tell somebody of the perfect murder he committed fifty years before. The question is why he tells this tale after so many years.

In The Purloined Letter Poe gives way to his bent for stories of crime and punishment, this time from the outside point of view of the detective rather than from inside the criminals mind. Rather than considering what he would have done in like circumstances, the detective, Monsieur Dupin, must try to think the way the criminal thought, which is precisely what he does en route to to solving the case. The story celebrates Poe's appreciation of the rational mind and contains a number of examples of riddles and games in which Poe delighted. It also ends with an elaborate puzzle built on a complex literary allusion, which contains the key Poe uses to unlock the inticacies of the story's plot.

Poe's fictional performances delighted audience in his own time continue to engage and intrigue readers today. Even though his style is ornate and his language far from colloquial, he remains a most readable writer, largely because he builds suspense, creates atmosphere, and probes the psychological complexities of his characters' minds and hearts. If it is the horror of his stories that first draws readers in, it is Poe's psychological richness and his control of tone that continue to bring them back for repeated readings of some inmatchable stories.

The Transcendentalists

Transcendentalism emerged in the 30ies. This time witnessed noticeable sharpening of capitalist contradictions. People began their strikes, workers uprising and unions helped the appearance of romanticists, who stood agains mercantalism. There began chasses after dollars. The new literary trend leaked upon the aesthetics of romanticism and it was a new branch of romanticism.

In 1836 there was founded Transcendentalist Club at the head of which stood Ralph Waldo Emerson. The members of the Club were Henry David Thorean (1817-1862), Teodore Parker, George Reeply, Amos Alcolt, Elizabeth Pibody, Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) and others.

Transcendentalism is a specific American philosophical and literary trend.

To transcend something is to rise above it, to pass beyond its limits.

Transcendentalism is based on the belief that the most fundamental truths about life and death can be reached only by senses. The transcendentalism believed that each and every man and woman living as a true individual, free from restrain dogma and dull habits of thought, could know something spiritual reality but could not know it through logic or the data of the senses.

Transcendentalists did not have a strict doctrine or code. This trend is more a tendency, an attitude, than it is a philosophy.

Nature played an impotant role in the trenscendentalist view. Nature was divine, alive with spirit, the human mind could read nature, find truths in it. To live in harmony with nature, to allow one^s deepest intaitive being to communicate with nature, was a source of goodness and inspiration.

The trnscendentalists believed that deep intaition of a stiritual reality is available to us only if we allow ourselves to be individuals, and Transcentalist writing places a strong emphasis on individualism.

Trenscendentalists assert that the powers of the individual mind and soul are equally available to all people. These powers are not dependent upon wealth or background or education. We all have a potential equality as spiritual beings, and the divinity within each of us can be realized by the learned minister and the scholar. For Emerson every person can be a kind of poet, realising individual imaginative power.

Society, with its emphasis on material succes, is often seen as a source of corruption.

The tone of transcendentalism writing is often optimistic and aspiring. It frequently suggests that the individual, in hormony with the divine universe, can transform the world. The New England movement, as represented by Emerson and others, has characterized by the absence of a forcual system of thought, the exeltation of the spiritual in a general sense over the material, and the immanence of the divine all the creation, especially as set forth in Emerson's Oversoul. Transcendentalists state that only practice, experience, the surrounding world form a person. They thought that a man is by birth inherent in undestending truth and errors, good and evil and that these ideas transcendental, i.e. they come to a man without experience. But the transcendentalists condemned the moral and the practice of bourgeois America, its ideals. Transcendentalism became a kind of a protest form of American intellegentia against aethetically pushing sides of capitalist progress in the USA.

Transcendentalists thought that the society would develop homoniously, if evry person did his best. At the same time the transcendentalists were anxious about the corruption of the American society, wallowed in mercenary calculations, which ignored spiritual interestes.

Rejecting Calvinism and the materialism of society, Emerson and Thoreau asserted their beliefs in deism, in individualism and self-reliance, and in the for national literature. These ideas, most clearly expressed in Emerson's Nature (1836) or Self-Reliance (1841) and in Thoreau's Walden (1854) or Civil Disobedience (1848), directly influenced three groups of writers:

The writers of the American Renaissance, Hawthorne, Poe and Melvill, whose symbolic and imaginative works are however more pessimistic, dealing with the individual caught between his own values and those of society, (cf. Edgar Allan Poe's Tales; Nathaniel Hawthrone's The Scarlet Letter (1850) or The House of the Seven Gables (1851); Herman Melville's Moby Dick (1851).

Walt Whitman, the prophet and seer, the believer in democracy, in the vitality of man and in the necessary emergency of an American poetry (Leaves of Grass, 1855).

The Schoolroom or Household Poets, Longfellow, Lowell and Whittier, so called because of the tremendous popularity of their works which were read at home and in school. They often used historical themes, folk materials, and traditional forms such as the ballad (e.g. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Evangeline, 1847, or The Song of Hiawatha, 1855); John Greenleaf Whitter's Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyll (1866); James Russell Lowell's The Biglow Papers (1846-1848), and A Fable for Critics (1848).

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Ralph Waldo Emerson's life was rather quiet and well ordered, but it was full of ideas. Emerson was born in Boston. He attended Harvard University, studied theology. In 1829 he became a Unitarian minster. He made a trip to Europe after the trip he settled in the village of Concord, Massachusetts. At Concord he became a member of the Transcendental Club. It was at Concord that Emerson composed his first book, treatise Nature (1836). His address called The American Sholar (1837) has been an inspiration to generations of young Americans. Emerson achieved national fame after his Essays in 1841. Then came Essays: Second Series (1844), Representative Men (1849) and The Conduct of Live (1860).
When he was a young man, Emerson began writing what he called his Savings Bank the remarkable journals and notebooks that were not published in full until almost a centure after his death. We read in those writings his daily thoughts and observations. He traveled widely throughout the coutry, delivering lectures in a rich and beautiful voice. His optimism, his believe in the vast possibilities of mind and spirit suited the American nation.
He wanted us to live in harmony with nature. He said that the universal spirit is the sorce of all unity and growth. Emerson was sure that if we see truly we will live truly.
Nature is a lyrical expression of the harmony Emerson felt between himself and nature. Self - Reliance (a treatise) is also at the core of Emerson's ideas.
Whenever the romantic mind turns to philosophical speculation, it is quick emphasize that which is innate or intuitiul in preference to that which is rational or intellectual. In America during the first half of the nineteenth century there grew up a coterie of such thinkers who came to be known as Transcendentalists, although the name was used very loosely and vaguely to define almost any writer of mistical indinations. There was general agreement, however, that a transcendalist believed for the most part that man's ideas, ideals, and beliefs were not to be based on experience alone, but rather should transcend exp. The whole tendency of these thinkers was to revolt against the empirical, take-the-world-as-you-find-it philosophy of the seventeenth and eighteenth century deists.
Among these American transcendentalists Emerson was by far the greatest and most influential. He was born in Boston, the son of a minister, and prepared himself to follow in his father's path. He graduated from Harvard in 1821, an average student with, however, some unusual promise in the writing of poetry and in oratory as well as general intellectual aliveness. He proceeded at once to divinity school and in 1829 became pastor of the Second Church in Boston.
But his inquisitive mind had already outgrown the limitations of creed and dogma. He found himself unable to administer with conviction the Sacrament of the Last Supper, proposing to omit it from his ministerial service: and when his congregation failed to support him on this issue, he resigned from the ministry (1882). After a trip to Europe, in the course of which he met Wordworth, Coleridge, and Carlyle, he returned to settle in the quiet village of Coneord, Massachusetts (1834), where he became known as the great secular preacher of his age. His full recognition asa a major American writer had been achieved by the tince if the American Civil War.
Emerson wrote essays and distinguished verse. The long line of useful essays was inaugurated by Nature (1836), which is an admirable statement, not only of the romantic veneration and warship of Nature, expressed it in verse, but also of the majority of Emerson's favourite moral ideas. The American Scholar (1837) is in most respects the true Declaration of Independence for American thought and American literature; The Divinity Shcool Address (1838) caused a sensation and alienated Emerson from Harvard for some thirty years. His essays and lectures were gathered into three collections: one in 1841, another in 1844, a third in 1849.
Representative Men (1850) consists of a group of biographical essays suggested by his friend Carlyle's Heraes and Hero-Worship; these two works are classic statements of the importance to 19th century thought of the lonely but mighty individual genius, are idea which reaches a logical conclusion in Nietzsche and his concept of the Superman.
English Traits (1856) recounts his pleasant experiences on a trip to England The Conflict of Life (1860) is in reality a fourth book of essays. His poems were collected in 1847. No consederation of Emerson's work, moreover, canomit the Journals, not published for the first time as a whole until1909-1914.
Emerson is not a systematic philosopher; rather he gives the impression of one thinking about in comptete freedom. It is useless to attempt to outlinein brief a typical Emerson essay. His style is aphoristic; his paragraphs are often strings of pithy sayings, and his sentences are more often terse than periodic. His gift of utterance is always arresting, however and his felicity of phrase is often memorable. Moreover, always there lies a fundamental unity down underneath all his superticial formlessness. This unity comprehends and is altrehed to one or more of the following tenets of his thought, most of them obviously Platonic; reality is of spiritual nature: to rely on oneself rather than on others is of supreme significance: man is born to hope and fight toward some chosen goal. With such valiant weapons in his arsenal, Emerson fully deserves the encomium of Matthew Arnold, who called him the friend and aider of those who would live in the spirit.
In America during the first half of the XIX century there grew up a coterie of such thinkers who came to be known as Trauceudentalists, although the name was used very loosely and vaguely to define almost any writer of mistical inclinations. There was general agreement, however that a transendentalist believed for the most part that man's ideas, and were not to be fasel on experrience alone but rather should transcend experience. The whole tendence of these thinkers was to revolt against the emprical take-the-world-as-you-find-it philosophy of the 1718 century deists. Among these transcendentalists Emerson was by for the greatest and most influental. He was born in Boston the son of a Uniterian minister and prepared himself to follow in his fathers path. He graduated from Harvard in 1821 an avarage student with however some unsual promise writing of poetry and in the writing as well as in general intellectual aliveness. He proceeded at once to divinity 1829 became of the Second Church in Boston.
But in his inquisitive mind had already outgrown the limitations of creed and dogma. He found himself unable to a minister with conviction the Sacrement of the Last supper proposing to omit it from his ministerial service and when his congregation failed to support him on this issue he resigned from the ministry (1832).After a trip to Europe in the course of which he met Wordsworth Coleridge, and Carlyle he returned to settle in the quite village of Concord Massachusetts (1834), which was to be his home for the remaining half-century of his life. Here he became known as the great secular preacher of his age his sermons were delivered chiefly from the lecture platform where he proved himself an ideal man to fill the part demanded by the Cravings of XIX century Americans for culture and uplift by way of the lyceum and later the Chantauqua circuits. his full recognition as a major American writer had been achieved by the time of the American Civil War.
The recognition was based in chief measure upon Emerson s essays, although he wrote some often distinguished verse. The long line of useful essays was inaugurated by Nature (1836), which is an admirable statement, not only of the romantic veneration and warship of Nature expressed in prose where Worsworth expressed it in verse but also of the Emerson s favourite moral ideas. The American Sendar (1837 is in most respects the true declaration of independence for American thought and literature it is the first notable plea for America to stand on her own culturally speaking. The Divinity School Adress (1838), in which Emerson sought to justify his unorthodox beliefs before graduating class of the Harvard divinity school caused a sensation and alienated Emerson from Harvard for some thirty years. Subsequently his essays and lectures were gathered into three collections: one in 1841, another in 1844, a third in 1849. Representative men (1850) consists of a group of biographical essays suggested by his friend Carlyle s `Heroes and Hero - Worship. These two works are classic statements of the importance to XIX century thought of the lonely but mighty individual genius an idea which reaches a logical conclusion in Neitzsche and his concept of the Supermen. Entglish Traits (1856) recounts his pleasant experiences on trip to England The conduct of life (1860) is in reality a fourth book of essays. No consideration of Emerson s work, moreover can omit the Journals, not published for the first time as a whole until 1909-1914.

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