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Development of American literature from the colonial period

This solution traces the development of American literature from the colonial period through the Romantic era.


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You may want to explore how the style of this genre was "matter of fact" prose. This literature embodied many narrative and poetic pieces. Topics often ranged from voyages or adventure pieces, descriptions of the colonial landscape, or informative and persuasive piece for British readers. When discussing style associated with this genre, notice how these writers used descriptions. John Smith's descriptions of Virginia (and his encounters there) offer some basic examples.

Besides style, you might want to examine Folgers's A Looking Glass for the Times or Benjamin Thompson's poetry. His New England's Crises is a commentary about King Philip's War. You might want to discuss the political implications of this early writing. You could also use some narrative examples such as A Brief Account of the Agency of the Honorable John Winthrop. Notice how Wolcott writes about Charles II's settlement and the history of the colonies.

You probably will want to focus on the Utilitarian writers of John Stuart Mills and Mary Wollstonecraft. Mills' Autobiography On Liberty, Punishment," or "Bentham" provide some concrete examples. Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman, The Wrongs of Woman, or Maria...offer other examples for your essays. Anne Bradstreet's poetry offers great discussion. Roger Williams is also a good reference point.

Finally, you may want to look and religion and morality under this genre. The Puritanism embedded in Winthrop's writing is important. Here ...