American Authors Thesis

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With an increasing desire to produce uniquely American literature and culture, a number of key new literary figures emerged, perhaps most prominently Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe.

In 1836, Ralph Waldo Emerson started an influential movement known as Transcendentalism.

These efforts were supported by the continuation of the slave narratives such as Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.

In the mid-nineteenth century, Nathaniel Hawthorne published his magnum opus The Scarlet Letter, a novel about adultery.

This is a small number compared to the output of the printers in London at the time.

London printers published materials written by New England authors, so the body of American literature was larger than what was published in North America.

Inspired by that movement, Henry David Thoreau wrote Walden, which celebrates individualism and nature and urges resistance to the dictates of organized society.

The political conflict surrounding abolitionism inspired the writings of William Lloyd Garrison and Harriet Beecher Stowe in her famous novel Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Moreover, we are now aware of the wealth of oral literary traditions already existing on the continent among the numerous different Native American groups.

Political events, however, would eventually make English the lingua franca for the colonies at large as well as the literary language of choice.

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