THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 9)

After the mysterious voice's prediction is validated a new and rather bizarre character is introduced by the narrator, “I now come to the mention of a person with whose name the most turbulent sensations are connected. It is with a shuddering reluctance that I enter on the province of describing him. Now it is that… Continue reading THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 9)

THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 8)

In a critical consideration of Brown's narrative deployment of uncertainty let us consider two antagonists within American fiction: Hannibal Lector, from Thomas Harris' Hannibal Rising and Leonid Danilovich Arkadin from Eric Van Lustbader's The Bourne Objective. Both are intelligent, cunning and ruthless yet sympathetic characters with a predilection for ultra-violence. Hannibal is a young man… Continue reading THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 8)

THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 7)

Shortly after the transformation of the Wieland Sr.'s temple, we are introduced to the theme of voice and rhetoric, a theme which will form the backbone of many of Brown's subsequent social and philosophical critiques as well as a sizable portion of the novel's plot. This theme takes the form of Wieland, Jr.'s intensive interest… Continue reading THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 7)

THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 6)

To better help the reader understand the religious and social criticism and commentary in Wieland, it is pertinent to examine the historical context in which it was written. Brown's novel was published in 1798 and subsequent republication in 1811 which places the writing of the piece just around the beginning of what has come to… Continue reading THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 6)

THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 5)

W I E L A N D The following work is delivered to the world as the first of a series of performances, which the favorable reception of this will induce the writer to publish. His purpose is neither selfish nor temporary, but aims at the illustration of some important branches of the moral constitution… Continue reading THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 5)

THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 4)

Early American Novels: The Sentimental Period The first novel ever written in America of which anything is today known is The Power of Sympathy which was penned by the largely unknown author, William Hill Brown. For many years it was thought to have been written by a woman due to a erroneous attribution by Arthur… Continue reading THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 4)

THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 3)

John Winthrop (1588-1649) is primarily known for his journal which documents the development and daily goings-on of the Massachusetts Bay Colony between the period of 1630 well into the 1640s. Winthrop, just like Smith, was a immigrant, who moved from England to the colony of Massachusetts in 1630 after losing a prominent and profitable political… Continue reading THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 3)

THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 2)

Early American Writings: The Pre-literary Period The first recorded piece of American writing is, by scholarly consensus, considered to be A True Relation of Virginia (1608) which was written by the prolific soldier of fortune and early leader of the Jamestown colony, John Smith (1580-1631). The book, though non-fiction and quite thoroughly English in its… Continue reading THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 2)

The Origins of the American Literary Tradition (Part 1)

Introduction How distant, my fellow Americans, is the comfort of our modern urban and suburban and, indeed, even our rural spaces to the harsh and unyielding wilderness of the colonial era. Wild tribes of vibrantly painted, bow wielding natives wary or wrathful of foreign rule, disease, starvation and the vast pitfalls of the “virgin” land,… Continue reading The Origins of the American Literary Tradition (Part 1)