The History of American Literature

3501 Words Jan 24th, 2006 15 Pages
The history of American Literature starts well before this land was even called America. It has been a great evolution to come from tribal symbols and drawings to today's Stephen King and Danielle Steele. Literature has gone through many phases and was impacted by great events and ideas in American history. The earliest form of literature in what would one day be known as America were far from what modern day people would consider "Literature". The Natives who inhabited this land first had unwritten ways of passing on experiences, beliefs, and stories. Natives relied heavily on the verbal telling of these stories to younger generations. The same stories, fables, or belief structures were told repeatedly, each time identical to the last, …show more content…
Mather's rewarding career included writings on science and medicine as well as theology and history. His Sentiments on the Small Pox Inoculated (1721) was instrumental in introducing the smallpox vaccine to New England. A new genre for American writers, the travel narrative, would become especially influential late in the 1700s. Travel narratives include Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America (1778) by Jonathan Carver and Travels Through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, etc (1791) by William Bartram . Travel stories often blended observations on nature and landscape with tales of personal courage and achievement. The first American newspaper, the Boston News-Letter, was founded in 1704, and joined by the Boston Gazette in 1719. At a time when newspaper journalism was concerned primarily with reporting political events, the New-England Courant, started by James Franklin in 1721, became the first newspaper to include literary entertainment. Franklin's younger brother Benjamin Franklin published humorous social commentary in the Courant under the pen name of Silence Dogwood . Magazines also appeared for the first time in the colonies during the mid-1700s. Before 1800 magazines were concerned primarily with measuring America's developing culture against the British model. During the 1700s Boston and Philadelphia became centers of publishing in addition to being political and commercial centers.
Open Document