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Identify the earliest types of American literature and how historical events shaped them - Essay Example

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Name of the Student World Literature Name of the Concerned Professor 10 February 2013 Earliest American Literature and Historical Influences There is no denying the fact that as is the case with literature of other nations; the earliest American literature was to a large extent shaped by the history of the country from which it emanated…
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Identify the earliest types of American literature and how historical events shaped them
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Download file to see previous pages Hence, it would not be wrong to say that the earliest American literature got influenced by a range of historical influences like religious zeal, colonial expansionism, a deep seated longing for land and adventure and the desire for gold. It would be fair and just to say that the literature of the Native Americans constituted the earliest American literature (Stensland 77). When the immigrants came to settle in Virginia and when the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, they came across Native American tribes, who had an assortment of a well developed body of poetry and mythology (Stensland 77). Literature and particularly the poetry constituted an integral aspect of the religion of the Native Americans. The Native Americans had songs attributed to each and every aspect of their daily life, are they hunting, fishing, wars, birth and death or sickness. These songs intended to inculcate tribal values and to present the history of the tribes as perceived by their members. When it comes to the earliest European settlements, it was these settlers that evolved into the founding fathers of the American nation. Most of the early European settlers came to America because they desired land and America offered to them much land and opportunity. Hence the earliest of the American literature comprised of the letters home and the accounts of hardship, adventure and discovery. Many more people came to America because they wanted to escape the religious and political persecution at home. Many paupers and convicts were forcibly sent to America. The later to arrive were the merchants and trading companies. Hence, it would be logical to say that the earliest American literature was written by people who considered themselves to be English, and thought and wrote with an English bent of mind. Jon Smith, a fortune seeker is credited with initiating the American literature (Trent et al. 55). His chief works included The General History of Virginia and New England and the Summer Isles (Trent et al. 55). Many similar narratives aimed at explaining the opportunities available in America were written by many other European settlers that included Brief Account of the Province of Pennsylvania by William Penn and Brief Description of New York by Daniel Denton (Trent et al. 222). These writers while professing their allegiance to Britain, at the same time asserted their different mental makeup that differentiated them from the Europeans. The literature of this era that is the earlier 17th century also included many biographies, adventurous accounts of voyages undertaken, sermons, treatises and shoddy but popular poetry. It does need to be mentioned that most of the earliest American settlers happened to be Puritans. Puritans comprised of very serious religious people who favored very stringent moral and religious principles. They brought to the new land a philosophy of life that is popularly referred to as the American Puritanism. Cotton Mather wrote the biography and history of New England under the puritan influence that tended to be a defense of the Puritan ideals (Trent et al. 398). Jonathan Edwards wrote a very potent and powerful sermon, Freedom of Will in the early 18th century that in a very precise manner and eloquently elaborated on his potent belief in the Calvinistic doctrine (Trent et al 432). The Dairy ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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