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Ch 9: SAT Subject Test Literature: Literary Periods in American History

About This Chapter

Review the main literary periods in American history to prepare for the SAT literature subject test. Video lessons and self-assessment quizzes cover each literary period and movement in a concise, clear format.

SAT Subject Test Literature: Literary Periods in American History - Chapter Summary

Understand the main literary periods that have impacted the United States through these online review lessons. These lessons cover movements like transcendentalism and naturalism, so you'll be ready to take the SAT literature subject test. Lessons in the chapter go over the following literary periods and their effect on American society:

  • Native American and colonial literature
  • Romanticism
  • Transcendentalism
  • Realism
  • Modernism
  • Naturalism
  • The contemporary period
  • The Harlem Renaissance
  • The Lost Generation Era
  • The Beat Generation Era

Short and engaging video lessons provide examples of key authors and works for each of these literary periods and movements. Practice problems and quizzes are also given at the end of each lesson, and you may access transcripts if you need to read through any of the content.

SAT Subject Test Literature: Literary Periods in American History Objectives

The SAT literature subject test is a college-entry assessment exam that seeks to determine your ability to read and analyze various literary passages. About 40-50% of all questions on the test relate to American literature written by U.S. authors. Many of these lessons on American literary periods contain material that will be found on the actual SAT subject test. Objectives of the lessons include:

  • Identifying examples of the main authors, works and artistic characteristics for each literary period
  • Analyzing the key themes found in works from each literary period
  • Understanding the effects of these literary movements on American culture and society

The SAT literature subject test is an entirely multiple-choice exam. You'll have one hour to complete about 60 questions. These questions are divided into 6-8 different sets, with each set corresponding to a given literary passage. Passages may come from novels, poems, plays and essays, to name a few main examples.

11 Lessons in Chapter 9: SAT Subject Test Literature: Literary Periods in American History
Native American and Colonial Literature

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.

The Romantic Period in American Literature and Art

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.

The Dark Romantics in American Literature

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.

Transcendentalism: Impact on American Literature

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.

The Literary Realism Movement: A Response to Romanticism

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.

Modernism in American Literature

6. 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.

The Imagist Movement: Poems, Examples & Key Poets

7. 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.

The Harlem Renaissance: Novels and Poetry from the Jazz Age

8. 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.

The Contemporary Period in American Literature

9. 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.

The Lost Generation: Expatriate Writers of the 20th Century

10. The Lost Generation: Expatriate Writers of the 20th Century

In this lesson, we will explore the effects of WWI on the American literary community. We will take a look at the Lost Generation of writers, the characteristics of their work and the ways in which they represented post-war attitudes both in the U.S. and abroad.

The Beat Generation: Characteristics of Beat Poetry

11. The Beat Generation: Characteristics of Beat Poetry

It's a movement that began with a howl, and it had a major impact on both poetry and culture in America. In this lesson, we'll cover the Beat Generation and review the defining characteristics of their style.

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