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Ch 12: Periods of American Literature

About This Chapter

Call to mind what you know about the periods of American literature by going through this chapter. Take a closer look at the video lessons to recall details about how historical events and movements influenced these different literary periods.

Periods of American Literature - Chapter Summary

Read-up on the periods of American literature by opening up the lessons found in this chapter. Get reacquainted with the timeline of American literature from Colonial and Native American literature all the way through to more contemporary authors and their works. Other topics addressed in this chapter include:

  • Art and literature during the American Romantic period
  • American literature and the Dark Romantics
  • Influences of Transcendentalism
  • Literary Realism as a response to Romanticism
  • American literature and Modernism
  • Modernist poetry style shift and E.A. Robinson
  • Works from the Jazz Age and the Harlem Renaissance
  • Elements of the Contemporary period
  • Examples and terms for examining American poetry

One of the ways our study materials can help you get reacquainted with this information about the periods of American literature includes our specific technique of highlighting key terms and concepts with bold and italicized lettering. This formatting trick points you directly to the most essential information that you need to know. Doing so can help you recognize vocabulary words and memorize definitions, as you may need to know these terms for questions on upcoming exams.

The format we use for all of our transcripts and article-style lessons is done with you in mind. We build this information to read like a short study guide, and we construct these guides in a straight-forward, linear fashion. All of the headers indicate main concepts within a lesson. Body paragraphs go through the details of those main concepts, providing you with such info as definitions, background information, examples, and more. Visual aids are often included as well, either in the form of graphics or in video lessons.

11 Lessons in Chapter 12: Periods of American Literature
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.

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.

E.A. Robinson and the Shift in Modernist Poetry Style

7. E.A. Robinson and the Shift in Modernist Poetry Style

In the early 1900s, a new movement in poetry emerged. Find out about the Modernist movement in poetry and one of the first American Modernists, E.A. Robinson.

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.

Contemporary American Literature: Authors and Major Works

10. 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.

Analyzing American Poetry: Terms and Examples

11. Analyzing American Poetry: Terms and Examples

It can sometimes be tough to figure out what a poem means. This lesson provides some tools to help you analyze poetry and develop your interpretations.

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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