First, American literature reflects beliefs and traditions that come from the nation’s frontier days. The pioneer ideals of self – reliance and independence appear again and again in American writings. American authors have great respects for the value and importance of the individual. They tend to reject authority and to emphasize democracy and the equality of men.
Second, American writers have always had a strong tendency to break with literary tradition and to strike out in their own directions. Writers of other countries seem to absorb their national literary traditions without giving them much thought. But in the United States, many authors have rejected the old in order to create something new.
Third, a lively streak of humor runs through American literature from earliest times to the present. In many cases, a dash of salty humor saves a serious theme from becoming too sentimental. American humor tends to be exaggerated rather then subtle. It reflects the people’s ability to laugh at themselves even during the most difficult times.
2) 2) The Age of Romanticism
The Romantic period, 1820-1860: Essayists and Poets
Romantic ideas centered around art as inspiration, the spiritual, aesthetic dimension of nature, metaphor of organic growth. The romantics underscored the importance of expressive art for the individualism, affirmed the value of the common prison, and looked to the inspired imagination for its aesthetic and ethical values.
_ Social background: From the beginning of 19th century, American step by step developed and became prosperous country. At that time, Americans had a comfortable life with high standard, so they paid attention to their personal desire. To satisfy their spiritual life, they borrowed literature of Germany and they built up their own literature.
· The solidification of national identity and the surging idealism and passion of romanticism nurtured the masterpieces of “the American Renaissance”...