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- Explore Native American and Colonial literature, including oral stories, Puritan writing and early American political writing.
- Encounter authors of the Romantic Period, including Washington Irving and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
- Discover the characteristics of Dark Romanticism.
- Learn about the impact of transcendentalism on American literature.
- Find out how the Realism Movement grew out of Romanticism.
- Discuss literary modernism in the United States.
- Learn about characteristics of naturalism in literature.
- Explore the Imagist Movement in modern poetry.
1. Native American and Colonial Literature
What types of writing were popular during the early days of the United States? In this lesson, we'll look at three major categories of 17th and 18th century American writing in more detail: Native American oral stories, Puritan writing, and early American political writing.
2. The Romantic Period in American Literature and Art
This video introduces American Romanticism, a movement where literature focused on intuition, imagination and individualism. Authors such as Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow contributed to what became known as the American identity, as the new country did its best to distance itself from European tradition.
3. The Dark Romantics in American Literature
This video introduces the characteristics of Dark Romanticism, a movement at the end of the Romantic period where literature embodied creepy symbols, horrific themes, and explored the psychological effects of guilt and sin. Authors, such as Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne, wrote short stories, poems, and novels that encouraged Americans to see evil in everything.
4. Transcendentalism: Impact on American Literature
This video defines Transcendentalism, a literary movement of the mid-19th century. Authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman used their literary platforms to encourage Americans to transcend society's presumptions and create a personal, progressive relationship with spirituality and nature.
5. The Literary Realism Movement: A Response to Romanticism
In this lesson, we will learn about Realism in American literature, how this new literary movement grew out of Romanticism and what circumstances in our changing nation made that literary shift possible.
6. Naturalism in Literature: Authors and Characteristics
Nature is indifferent; humans are just animals. So it goes in naturalism. In this lesson, we'll explore this literary movement. Authors discussed include Stephen Crane, Jack London and Theodore Dreiser.
7. Modernism in American Literature
In this lesson, we will discuss the concept of literary modernism in the United States. We will explore its historical backdrop along with the very unique characteristics and authors that define American modernism which lasted from 1914-1945.
8. The Imagist Movement: Poems, Examples & Key Poets
The Imagist movement in modern poetry focused on describing objects as opposed to the long philosophical discussions of traditional poetry. Read on to find out more about Imagism and read poems by two of its founders, H.D. and Amy Lowell.
9. The Harlem Renaissance: Novels and Poetry from the Jazz Age
The Harlem Renaissance was a movement in the 1920s and 1930s during which there was an explosion of African-American art and literature. This lesson looks at the themes, causes, and important figures of the Harlem Renaissance.
10. The Contemporary Period in American Literature
Learn about how Contemporary literature developed and understand its fundamental characteristics. Find out how American history and cultural norms really defined and developed the Contemporary period in American literature.
11. Contemporary American Literature: Authors and Major Works
This lesson helps you decipher pieces of contemporary American literature by looking at famous examples from some of the greatest authors of the time.
12. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser: Summary & Themes
This article discusses Theodore Dreiser's 1925 novel An American Tragedy, and the themes found therein. Read the article, then test yourself with the quiz!
13. Author Willa Cather: Biography & Works
A Pulitzer Prize winning author, Willa Cather is widely regarded as one of the great novelists who vividly depicted life on the American frontier. In this lesson, we will learn about Cather's experiences as a writer and editor. Her most notable novels and her unique, risk-taking style will be discussed as well.
14. Bartleby, the Scrivener: Summary, Characters, Themes & Analysis
This lesson provides a brief summary of Herman Melville's short story, 'Bartleby, the Scrivener.' You can learn about the conflict between the protagonist of the story, the lawyer and the antagonist, the lawyer's scrivener, Bartleby. Read about the humorous situations that occur throughout the story, and find out its tragic ending.
15. The Fountainhead: Summary, Characters & Analysis
In her novel, ''The Fountainhead'', Ayn Rand explores the struggle between the individual and society. This lesson will introduce characters, provide a summary, and give an analysis of the book.
16. Tony Kushner: Biography & Plays
Tony Kushner is a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, screenwriter, and author whose works have played everywhere from Broadway to HBO. Read on to find out more about him and a few of his most acclaimed works!
17. Western Literature: History & Canon
This lesson offers an overview of the major movements and authors of Western Literature, starting with William Shakespeare and proceeding to Twentieth Century authors, such as Virginia Woolf and Thomas Pynchon.
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