From Puritanism to Postmodernism: A History of American by Malcolm Bradbury, Richard Ruland

By Malcolm Bradbury, Richard Ruland

From a Modernist/Postmodernist standpoint, this name addresses questions of literary and cultural nationalism. The authors show that because the 17th century, American writing has mirrored the political and old weather of its time and helped outline America's cultural and social parameters. specially, they argue that American literature has continuously been basically 'modern', illustrating this with a large variety of texts: from Poe and Melville to Fitzgerald and Proud, to Wallace and Stevens, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Thomas Pynchon.

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Extra info for From Puritanism to Postmodernism: A History of American Literature

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Passionatelyreasserted as a political aim in the early years of the Republic, repeated with growing confidence in Ralph \7aldo Emerson's "American Scholar" oration of 1837, in Herman Melville's rejection of "this leaven of lite rury flunkeyism toward England" in 1850, agaunin \ilhitman's disavowal of the "petty environage and limited area of the poets of past and present Europe" in 1888, and so onward into the rwentieth century, the conviction that Americans had a special purpose and would speak it in a special voice was to remain continuous, guiding the vision of American writers long after the devotion to Calvin's doctrines died.

Sent to England for his education like so many of the wealthy, then and since, he learned Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French and Italian. He prepared for the bar at the Middle Temple, learned the tobacco business in Holland, became a member of the Royal Society and made his friends among the courtiers, wits and writers of AugustanEngland: Wycherley, Congreve, Swift and Pope. He brought the world of Restoration England back with him when he returned to Virginia tn 1705 to become a leading political figure and one of America's greatestlandowners-he founded l 3 6 Tbe Literature of British America Richrnond on his own estate, which at his death covered nearly two \Westover, and hundred thousand acres.

If it lacks the epic grandeur and the intense dramatic sensethat makes Milton's ParadiseLost the greatestof Puritan long poems, it nevertheless powerfully rcaltzesthe plight of the indi- The Puritan Legaqt - 25 vidual soul seeking both regeneration and a grasp of the compatibility berween infinite justice and infinite mercv. Taylor wrote many shorter poems as well-most notably fwo series of Preparatory Meditations that he used to explore scriptural texts and plumb his worthiness to approach the altat.

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