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American Literature

             The events of American history are very much connected to the influence of American literature and what it has become today. The inspiration that a writer needs is mostly gathered by the effects of the world around him/her, and this is how the geography and history of America have made an impact on American literature.
             THE COLONIAL PERIOD, from 1620-1720, was based upon the Puritan lifestyle. The Puritans were practical, intensely committed, and convinced of the rightness of their purpose. The Bible was the foundation upon which puritan literature was built. The ideal Puritan style was a plain style- strong, simple, and logical. This new writing influence can be found in the works of William Bradford, who wrote OF PLYMOUTH PLANTATION, and Anne Bradstreet, author of HERE FOLLOW SOME VERSES UPON THE BURNING OF OUR HOUSE, JULY 10, 1666. It was the Puritans who most powerfully influenced the course of American literature and the formation of the American imagination.
             The period of ENLIGHTENMENT was recognized by Jonathan Edwards, who wrote SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF AN ANGRY GOD. This piece of history was written at the time of a religious revival, the "Great Awakening", which was marked by waves of conversions that spread from congregation to congregation- conversions so intensely emotional as to amount at times to mass hysteria.
             THE REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD, which existed from 1750-1800, was the Age of reason that began with the rationalist philosophers and scientists of the seventeenth century. The emergence of modern science and the scientific method had much to do with this new emphasis on reason. Discoveries made by physical scientists and mathematicians were changing the ways people viewed the universe. Scientific investigation seemed to show that the universe was organized according to certain unchanging laws, and that people could discover those laws through the use of their reason.

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