Movements in American Literature

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Last updated: May 9, 2019

Colonialism
17th century Puritan era of literature that focuses on God and simple everyday life

Romanticism
a movement in literature and art during the late 18th and early 19th centuries that celebrated nature rather than civilization; (focused on nature, beauty, and the exotic)

Transcendentalism
a philosophical and literary movement of the 1800s that emphasized living a simple life and celebrated the truth found in nature and in personal and imagination

anti-Transcendentalists
writers like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, and Herman Melville who disagreed with the transcendentalist view of returning to nature and believed that nature was not always benevolent or accepting toward man. (also called the Dark Romantics)

Realism
This was the new style of literature that focused on the daily lives and adventures of a common person. This style was a response to Romanticism’s supernaturalism and over-emphasis on emotion

Naturalism
grew out of realism and like realism attempted to depict life truthfully and accurately, but naturalists believed that a person’s fate was determined by heredity, chance, and the elements of his or her environment; by forces of nature and society a person could not control or understand

Regionalism
an element in literature that conveys a realistic portrayal of a specific geographical locale, using the locale and its influences as a major part of the plot

Fireside Poets
mid-nineteenth century poets; given name because their poetry was read next to fire in the evening as a form of entertainment; (includes Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, William Cullen Bryant, James Russell Lowell, and John Greenleaf Whittier)

Modernism
was an artistic and literary movement of the early 20th century that championed experimentation, technicality, primitivism, impersonalism, aestheticism, and intellectualism

Puritan Plain Style
typical writings in the 1600s in America; short words, direct statements, ordinary objects refrenced, practical, useful, purpose to serve God, appeal to sense or emotion is dangerous

local color
writing which presents the mannerisms, dress, speech and customs of a particular geographical region (Regionalism)

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