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Ch 13: 19th Century Literature

About This Chapter

Watch 19th century literature video lessons and learn about Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain and more. These lessons are just a portion of our online study guide and video collection.

19th Century Literature - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

This chapter looks at important literature and writers of the 19th century. Lessons begin with the poetry of Ralph Waldo Emerson and go on to cover Henry David Thoreau's most famous works. You'll analyze the poems of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, looking at their relation to realist and transcendental poetry. Lessons also cover the life and major works of regionalist writer, Mark Twain. Finally, you will be introduced to a number of important female writers of the 19th century, including Willa Cather, Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Edith Wharton. By the end of the chapter, you should understand:

  • Characteristics and themes of transcendental poetry and writing
  • Biographies and works of famous 19th century novelists
  • Themes and plot of the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Summary of the novel, My Antonia
  • Analysis of the novel, The Awakening
  • Importance of several short stories and novels written by 19th century female authors

Video Objective
Ralph Waldo Emerson's Transcendental Poetry: 'Self-Reliance' Understand the transcendental poetry of Ralph Waldo Emerson and his poem, 'Self-Reliance.'
Henry David Thoreau's Walden: Summary and Analysis Summarize and interpret Henry David Thoreau's transcendental book, Walden.
Henry David Thoreau's 'Civil Disobedience': Summary and Analysis Summarize and recognize the main points of Henry David Thoreau's essay, 'Civil Disobedience.'
Emily Dickinson: Poems and Poetry Analysis Name the main poems written by Emily Dickinson and understand their themes.
Walt Whitman: Transcendental and Realist Poet Explain how 19th century writer Walt Whitman is categorized as both a transcendental and realist poet.
Mark Twain: Biography, Works, and Style as a Regionalist Writer Understand the life of Mark Twain and how his major writings reflect the region he hailed from.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Plot Summary and Characters Summarize the main plot and list of characters from Mark Twain's novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Themes and Analysis List the major themes found in the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Willa Cather's My Antonia: Summary and Analysis Understand the plot and ideas of Willa Cather's novel, My Antonia.
Kate Chopin: Biography, Works, and Style Examine the life, works and writing style of 19th century author, Kate Chopin.
Kate Chopin's The Awakening: Summary and Analysis Analyze the themes and ideas running through Kate Chopin's novel, The Awakening.
Kate Chopin's 'Story of an Hour:' Summary and Analysis Summarize and interpret Kate Chopin's short story, 'Story of an Hour.'
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 'The Yellow Wallpaper': Summary and Analysis Explore the issues and themes of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story, 'The Yellow Wallpaper.'
Edith Wharton: Biography and Major Works Examine author Edith Wharton's life history and her major writings.

14 Lessons in Chapter 13: 19th Century Literature
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Self-Reliance: Ralph Waldo Emerson's Transcendental Essay

1. Self-Reliance: Ralph Waldo Emerson's Transcendental Essay

This video analyzes Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay 'Self-Reliance' for characteristics of transcendental ideas, including individualism, nonconformity, and intuition.

Henry David Thoreau's Walden: Summary and Analysis

2. Henry David Thoreau's Walden: Summary and Analysis

Henry David Thoreau was one of the most influential transcendental American writers and Walden was one of the movement's most important works. Let's explore why.

Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience: Summary and Analysis

3. Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience: Summary and Analysis

Henry David Thoreau wrote the essay Civil Disobedience to show his opposition to slavery and American imperialism. His essay has influenced many prominent civil rights activists, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Emily Dickinson: Poems and Poetry Analysis

4. Emily Dickinson: Poems and Poetry Analysis

Emily Dickinson was a well-known poet of the mid-1800s whose numerous works have stood the test of time. But what in the world did her poems really mean? In this video, we'll explore one of her most recognized pieces and analyze its meaning and purpose.

Walt Whitman: Transcendental and Realist Poet

5. Walt Whitman: Transcendental and Realist Poet

Walt Whitman is now considered one of the greatest American poets of all time, but his work was not so well-loved when it first debuted. Find out what made the man and his poems so controversial.

Mark Twain: Biography, Works, and Style as a Regionalist Writer

6. Mark Twain: Biography, Works, and Style as a Regionalist Writer

In this lesson, we will learn about Mark Twain's life, his most acclaimed writings and his place as a realist and regionalist writer in this country's literary history.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Plot Summary and Characters

7. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Plot Summary and Characters

In this lesson, we will learn about Mark Twain's most acclaimed work, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, through a close examination of characters and plot.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Themes and Analysis

8. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Themes and Analysis

In this lesson, we will continue our exploration of Mark Twain's most acclaimed work, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, through an analysis of plot, characters, and theme.

Willa Cather's My Antonia: Summary and Analysis

9. Willa Cather's My Antonia: Summary and Analysis

In this lesson, we will examine Willa Cather's most recognizable literary work, 'My Antonia'. We will take a look at the plot of this story while considering the ways in which this modernist novel uses language and setting to reflect character relationships and emotion.

Kate Chopin: Biography, Works, and Style

10. Kate Chopin: Biography, Works, and Style

In this lesson, we will learn about Kate Chopin, a Southern regionalist writer. First, we will consider how her life created a framework for stories that reflect early feminist values in a very traditional world, then we will look at her two most famous works, 'The Story of an Hour' and 'The Awakening.'

Kate Chopin's The Awakening: Summary and Analysis

11. Kate Chopin's The Awakening: Summary and Analysis

In this lesson, we will examine the acclaimed feminist novel 'The Awakening' by regionalist writer Kate Chopin. We will take a look at the protagonist, who wishes for freedom from her role as traditional wife and mother, while considering the 19th century world in which the novel was written.

Kate Chopin's 'Story of an Hour': Summary and Analysis

12. Kate Chopin's 'Story of an Hour': Summary and Analysis

In this lesson, we will examine the plot and characters of Kate Chopin's most widely read short story, 'The Story of an Hour.' We will consider the ways in which the author's topics of marriage and independence reflect her feminist sensibilities and make this an early work of feminist literature.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper: Summary & Analysis

13. Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper: Summary & Analysis

In this lesson, we will examine the famous short story The Yellow Wallpaper. We will consider the ways in which Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses the story to communicate about her own difficult experiences post-birth. Additionally, we will discuss her use of fiction as a vehicle to reveal what she felt was the less-than-equal existence of women during the 19th century.

Edith Wharton: Biography and Major Novels

14. Edith Wharton: Biography and Major Novels

Who was Edith Wharton? Only the author of over 40 books and the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. In this lesson, we'll explore her life and major novels.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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