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American literature We could date modern America’s origins back to the 1500s when Spanish and Portuguese explorers began landing in places that are now Florida or Texas. Later, English explorers started sending colonists further north to places like North Carolina and Virginia. In 1607, one of the first colonies, Jamestown, was founded. The colonists weren’t the first people to live on this land. The Native Americans farmed and hunted all over the US long before them. While they didn’t have much written work, their stories and beliefs were handed down generation by generation. So, it’s clear that American literature is relatively young. The first books written in America were diaries of the newcomers, books of theological argument and political pamphlets. 18th and 19th Century This period is inseparable with romanticism and nationalism. Washington Irving Americans topics – the history of NY, biography of G. WashingtonWell known book The Sketch Book James Fenimore Cooper Described American wilderness and wrote Indian novels of adventure (The last of the Mohicans) Edgar Alan Poe A poet, short story writerHe is the father of horror and crime fictionHis best poem is The Raven – on a stormy night a tired student who has lost his love asks if he will ever meet her again in some other world. His doubts are underlined by the raven’s repetition of Nevermore.He wrote short stories such as The Black cat, The pit and the Pendulum, The Murders in the Rue Morgue and much more Herman Melville The greatest symbolistHe sailed on seas for many yearsSea experiences influenced almost all his novelsThe most famous novel is Moby Dick – captain Ahab hunts Moby Dick (white whale, symbol of evil) for free days, but it has tragic end – Ahab is pinned to the whale’s body by his own harpoon Mark Twain Novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are both set along the Mississippi River and describe the adventures of his boyhood. 20th century Quick American development in 19th century brought advantages and disadvantages too. Authors tried to describe these disadvantages like for example social problems. Theodor Dreiser Is famous for his masterpiece An American Tragedy Jack London Wrote popular adventurous booksHe was inspired by gold rushHe wrote for example White Fang or The Call of the wild The Lost Generation came after first world war. They were influenced by their ugly experiences from this hell. The most famous members of Lost Generation are Ernst Hemingway and Francis Scott Fitzgerald. Ernst Hemingway Is my favourite American writerHe wrote by method of iceberg. It means that he wrote only basic story and you have to think about feelings of characters.He wrote many books about 1st world war or about veterans from 1st world warHis famous books are for example A Farewell to Arms, From Whom the Bell Tolls or Fiesta.His masterpiece is definitely novella The old man and the seaIt is about old man - fisherman who didn’t catch fish for long time, a young boy helped him, but his parents forbid him hunting with old man. So the old man set out on the sea. He caught enormous fish, but sharks ate it, only bones stayed. But the old man fought to the end.Hemingway said: “A man can be destroyed but not defeated” Francis Scott Fitzgerald Is connected with the Jazz AgeHis best novel Great Gatsby is about a very rich man who earns all his money by smuggling John Steinbeck Won Nobel PrizeWrote The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Man and many others Norman Mailer One of the best writers about WWII.The Naked and the Dead is based on his own experience in the Pacific William Styron Was influenced by W. FaulknerWrote excellent novel Sophie’s choice about woman’s essential choices in her lifeWrote other novels, for example Lie down in Darkness Joseph Heller Wrote novels Good as a gold and God Knows Ray Bradbury Author of science fiction literature – The Martian Chronicles or Fahrenheit 451 Jack Kerouac Member of Beat GroupHis book On the Road is like bible of Beat Group Tennessee Williams Is famous for his masterpiece Cat on a Hot Tin Roof