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Ch 8: American Literary Periods Lesson Plans

About This Chapter

The American Literary Periods chapter of this course is designed to help you plan and teach the timeline for various styles of American writing in your classroom. The video lessons, quizzes and transcripts can easily be adapted to provide your lesson plans with engaging and dynamic educational content. Make planning your course easier by using our syllabus as a guide.

Weekly Syllabus

Below is a sample breakdown of the American Literary Periods chapter into a 5-day school week. Based on the pace of your course, you may need to adapt the lesson plan to fit your needs.

DayTopicsKey Terms and Concepts Covered
Monday Native American and Colonial literature;
The Romantic Period;
The Dark Romantics
The oral stories of the Native Americans, literature during the early European settlement, writing about political ideas;
Stories, poems and novels from 1830-1870, escapism, individuality, nature as a source of spirituality, wisdom of the past, the common man as hero;
Gothic writers and works of the American Renaissance, including Edgar Allen Poe and Herman Melville, their use of symbols and themes
Tuesday Transcendentalism;
Literary realism
Definition and key features of transcendentalism including personal spirituality, intuition and imagination;
writers including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman;
Characteristics of literary realism, such as realistic dialogue and everyday settings, important writers from 1865-1910, including Mark Twain and Henry James
Wednesday Naturalism;
Modernism
How naturalism differs from realism, characteristics of naturalism, writers of this genre, including Theodore Dreiser and Stephen Crane;
Definition of modernism, important authors from 1914-1945, including F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner
Thursday The Imagist Movemen;t
The Harlem Renaissance
Imagist poems and poets, rules of imagism, free verse;
African-American literature and art during the 1920s and 1930s, jazz, famous writers, the movement's impact on American society
Friday Contemporary Period;
Contemporary authors and their works
Origins and influences of contemporary literature, common themes;
Notable works and how they exemplify the period, expressionism, juxtaposition, quest for identity

11 Lessons in Chapter 8: American Literary Periods Lesson Plans
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
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.

Naturalism in Literature: Authors and Characteristics

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.

Modernism in American Literature

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.

The Imagist Movement: Poems, Examples & Key Poets

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.

The Harlem Renaissance: Novels and Poetry from the Jazz Age

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.

The Contemporary Period in American Literature

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.

Contemporary American Literature: Authors and Major Works

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.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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