Moby Dick 1851
for the most part, he wrote about life at sea, the American experience, American democracy,
ship, the Pequod carries men of all races and religions, symbol of humanity and perhaps American democracy. Moby Dick is the study of a cosmic universe. Moby dick can symbolize God, nature, the Unconscious, good or evil
trying to discover what is below the surface.
The whale and the ocean can also symbolize the frontier. forehead like the praire, hump like a buffaloe. sea = praire, meadow, or sometimes dessert
Ahab is the hunter, the frontiersman
Jack Kerouac coined the term.
wanted to express the rebellion of middle class youth who were only offered repression and humiliation. they were forced to conform, the military industrial complex was overwhelmingly big, dominant capitalist values, communist witch hunts,
Shown clockwise from left: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, Lafcadio Orlovsky, and Gregory Corso in 1956. The Beat movement was characterized by a rejection of the materialism, militarism, consumerism, and conformity of the 1950s, in favor of individual freedom and spontaneity.
they wanted to show they were free, free to be creative and to think for themselves,
beat = beat down, depressed
Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, Allan Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs,
Ezra Pound - "Make it new!"
Early modernist writers, especially those writing after World War I and the disillusionment that followed, broke the implicit contract with the general public that artists were the reliable interpreters and representatives of mainstream ("bourgeois") culture and ideas, and, instead, developed unreliable narrators, exposing the "irrationality at the roots of a supposedly rational world"
fragmented structure, and the absence of an obvious central, unifying narrative. This is in fact a rhetorical technique to convey the poem's theme: "The decay and fragmentation of Western Culture
The modernist period also saw a radical experimentation in literary form and expression. In part this developed in response to new insights provided by recently established disciplines such as psychology. This was certainly true of the stream-of-consciousness technique
Stevens, Frost, Williams, Marianne Moore (1887-1972), F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Hemingway
Faulkner often employs stream of consciousness narrative, discards any notion of chronological order, uses multiple narrators, shifts between the present and past tense, and tends toward impossibly long and complex sentences.
Although its origins were European, naturalism was an important movement in American literature from the 1890s until the 1920s. While it is strongly associated with realism, in the shared emphasis on depicting surface reality, naturalism is more than a literary technique, involving as it does the philosophy of determinism. Naturalism is antiromantic in emphasizing the limited ability of humans to impose will upon their own destiny, and also in devaluing the imagination's embellishment of reality. For the naturalist, it is the duty of the writer to present to the reader reality without illusion, to offer a scientific, detached view of it rather than to adorn or mislead or simply please the reader. The writer is also seen to have a diagnostic function, scrutinizing the ills of society, and the scientific element of naturalism has its origins in the theories of Darwin and, after Marx, in the development of the social sciences during the nineteenth century. American naturalism developed broadly in two directions, one examining the social and political dynamics of American urban life and the other examining the biological aspects of deterministic thought. The influence of Marx is frequently evident in the former branch and that of Darwin in the second.
Frank Norris, Jack London, Stephen Crane
MAGGIE, A GIRL OF THE STREETS (1893)
naturalist writing is closely linked to American social change during a period of dramatic capitalist growth and the rise of big business. Social Darwinism forms an important part of naturalism at the end of the 19th century
The first major movement of African-American literature, beginning around 1923 and flourishing until the depression, but providing a stimulus that lasted through the 1940s.
The renaissance mainly involved a group of writers and intellectuals associated (often loosely) with Harlem, the district of Manhattan that, during the migration of African Americans from the rural South, became the major center for urbanized blacks
"The New Negro" is the closest to a manifesto or statement of ideals that the Harlem Renaissance has. In it he writes of the Negro who is no longer apologetic for blackness but who takes a new pride in a racial identity and heritage, of the "renewed self-respect and self-dependence" felt in the contemporary black community, which is "about to enter a new phase."
One characteristic of the Harlem Renaissance was a move toward so-called "high art" in black writing, rather than the use of folk idioms, comic writing, and vernacular that had often been considered the special realm of African-American writing up to that time. In some respects this shift mirrors the change from rural to urban life for many blacks in this period. However, several of the Harlem writers made powerful use of folk idioms such as the blues, particularly Langston Hughes (1902-67). The Harlem writers also engaged in an intense debate regarding the place of the African American in American life, and on the role and identity of the African-American artist.