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Ch 10: American Literature Foundations

About This Chapter

This chapter covers foundations of American literature using examples from American authors of different periods. Use the self-paced video lessons taught by our experts to learn more about the early American writers and what influenced their styles.

American Literature Foundations - Chapter Summary

This chapter analyzes and interprets the foundations of American literature through an exploration of American authors like Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper. After completing this chapter, you should be able to do the following:

  • Explain the difference between Native American and colonial literature
  • Discuss the works of early American writers, such as John Smith, John Winthrop, and Roger Williams
  • Recount the life of Benjamin Franklin using his autobiography
  • Explain the Romantic period in American literature and art
  • Discuss American Enlightenment literature
  • Use the biographies and works of Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper to describe their different styles

Each video has an available transcription for those who are more comfortable reading the lessons. The convenient dashboard helps you keep track of where you are, and the timeline allows you to jump through the videos at your discretion.

7 Lessons in Chapter 10: American Literature Foundations
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.

Early American Writers: John Smith, John Winthrop & Roger Williams

2. Early American Writers: John Smith, John Winthrop & Roger Williams

John Smith, John Winthrop, and Roger Williams were early American settlers who influenced the politics and literature of the colonies. In this lesson, we'll look closer at each of these men and their important writings.

Benjamin Franklin: Quotes and Autobiography

3. Benjamin Franklin: Quotes and Autobiography

Everyone knows Benjamin Franklin flew a kite in a storm and that he signed the Declaration of Independence. But how much do you know about his writing? In this lesson, we'll look at two of his most famous works and how they influenced American literature.

James Fenimore Cooper: Biography & Books

4. James Fenimore Cooper: Biography & Books

James Fenimore Cooper was one of America's earliest and most famous writers, but was he a great writer? In this lesson, explore Cooper's unlikely writing career and his swift rise to fame, and determine the significance of his role in American literature.

American Enlightenment Literature

5. American Enlightenment Literature

Some of the greatest ideas of the American consciousness come from the American Enlightenment period. This lesson introduces the writings of the American Enlightenment and some of its major themes.

The Romantic Period in American Literature and Art

6. 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.

Washington Irving: Biography, Works, and Style

7. Washington Irving: Biography, Works, and Style

This video introduces Washington Irving, the father of American literature. Through his works, like 'Rip Van Winkle' and 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,' Irving developed a sophisticated yet satirical style while helping establish the American identity.

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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