- Slavery comes to North America , 1619
- Post Transbellum? - Common-placeCommon-place: The Journal of early American Life
- Edited by John Ernest
Back then, some of the American literature were pamphlets and writings extolling the benefits of the colonies to both a European and colonist audience. The religious disputes that prompted settlement in America were important topics of early American literature. Edward Winslow also recorded a diary of the first years after the Mayflower 's arrival. This work outlined the ideal society that he and the other Separatists would build in an attempt to realize a "Puritan utopia". Other religious writers included Increase Mather and William Bradford , author of the journal published as a History of Plymouth Plantation, — Others like Roger Williams and Nathaniel Ward more fiercely argued state and church separation.
And still others, like Thomas Morton , cared little for the church; Morton's The New English Canaan mocked the religious settlers and declared that the Native Americans were actually better people than the British. Puritan poetry was highly religious, and one of the earliest books of poetry published was the Bay Psalm Book , a set of translations of the biblical Psalms ; however, the translators' intention was not to create literature, but to create hymns that could be used in worship. Nicholas Noyes was also known for his doggerel verse. John Eliot translated the Bible into the Algonquin language.
Of the second generation of New England settlers, Cotton Mather stands out as a theologian and historian, who wrote the history of the colonies with a view to God's activity in their midst and to connecting the Puritan leaders with the great heroes of the Christian faith. Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield represented the Great Awakening , a religious revival in the early 18th century that emphasized Calvinism.
Less strict and serious writers included Samuel Sewall who wrote a diary revealing the daily life of the late 17th century ,  and Sarah Kemble Knight. New England was not the only area in the colonies with a literature: southern literature was also growing at this time.
The diary of William Byrd and The History of the Dividing Line described the expedition to survey the swamp between Virginia and North Carolina but also comments on the differences between American Indians and the white settlers in the area.
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As the colonies moved toward independence from Britain, an important discussion of American culture and identity came from the French immigrant J. Hector St. This same period saw the beginning of black literature, through the poet Phillis Wheatley and the slave narrative of Olaudah Equiano , The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. At this time American Indian literature also began to flourish.
The Revolutionary period also contained political writings, including those by colonists Samuel Adams , Josiah Quincy , John Dickinson , and Joseph Galloway , the last being a loyalist to the crown. Two key figures were Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine. Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin are esteemed works with their wit and influence toward the formation of a budding American identity. Paine's pamphlet Common Sense and The American Crisis writings are seen as playing a key role in influencing the political tone of the time.
Major satirists included John Trumbull and Francis Hopkinson. Philip Morin Freneau also wrote poems about the War. During the 18th century, writing shifted from the Puritanism of Winthrop and Bradford to Enlightenment ideas of reason. The belief that human and natural occurrences were messages from God no longer fit with the new human-centered world. Many intellectuals believed that the human mind could comprehend the universe through the laws of physics as described by Isaac Newton. One of these was Cotton Mather. The enormous scientific, economic, social, and philosophical, changes of the 18th century, called the Enlightenment , impacted the authority of clergyman and scripture, making way for democratic principles.
The increase in population helped account for the greater diversity of opinion in religious and political life as seen in the literature of this time. In , the population of the colonies numbered approximately , Thirty years later it was more than , By , it reached 1,, These new ideas can be seen in the popularity of Benjamin Franklin 's Autobiography.
Even earlier than Franklin was Cadwallader Colden - , whose book The History of the Five Indian Nations , published in was one of the first texts critical of the treatment of the Iroquois in upstate New York by the English. Colden also wrote a book on botany, which attracted the attention of Linnaeus, and he maintained a long term correspondence with Benjamin Franklin. In the post-war period, Thomas Jefferson established his place in American literature through his authorship of the United States Declaration of Independence , his influence on the United States Constitution , his autobiography, his Notes on the State of Virginia , and his many letters.
The Federalist essays by Alexander Hamilton , James Madison , and John Jay presented a significant historical discussion of American government organization and republican values. Fisher Ames , James Otis , and Patrick Henry are also valued for their political writings and orations. Early American literature struggled to find a unique voice in existing literary genre, and this tendency was reflected in novels. European styles were frequently imitated, but critics usually considered the imitations inferior.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the first American novels were published. These fictions were too lengthy to be printed as manuscript or public reading. Publishers took a chance on these works in hopes they would become steady sellers and need to be reprinted. This scheme was ultimately successful because male and female literacy rates were increasing at the time.
Brown's novel depicts a tragic love story between siblings who fell in love without knowing they were related. In the next decade important women writers also published novels. Charlotte Temple is a seduction tale, written in the third person, which warns against listening to the voice of love and counsels resistance. She also wrote nine novels, six theatrical works, two collections of poetry, six textbooks, and countless songs.
Although Rowson was extremely popular in her time and is often acknowledged in accounts of the development of the early American novel, Charlotte Temple is often criticized as a sentimental novel of seduction. Eliza is a "coquette" who is courted by two very different men: a clergyman who offers her a comfortable domestic life and a noted libertine.
Unable to choose between them, she finds herself single when both men get married. She eventually yields to the artful libertine and gives birth to an illegitimate stillborn child at an inn. The Coquette is praised for its demonstration of the era's contradictory ideas of womanhood.
Both The Coquette and Charlotte Temple are novels that treat the right of women to live as equals as the new democratic experiment. These novels are of the Sentimental genre, characterized by overindulgence in emotion, an invitation to listen to the voice of reason against misleading passions, as well as an optimistic overemphasis on the essential goodness of humanity. Sentimentalism is often thought to be a reaction against the Calvinistic belief in the depravity of human nature. Charles Brockden Brown is the earliest American novelist whose works are still commonly read.
These novels are of the Gothic genre. The first writer to be able to support himself through the income generated by his publications alone was Washington Irving. James Fenimore Cooper was also a notable author best known for his novel, The Last of the Mohicans written in After the War of , there was an increasing desire to produce a uniquely American literature and culture, and a number of literary figures emerged, among them Washington Irving , William Cullen Bryant , and James Fenimore Cooper.
Bryant wrote early romantic and nature-inspired poetry, which evolved away from their European origins. Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales about Natty Bumppo which includes The Last of the Mohicans were popular both in the new country and abroad.
Slavery comes to North America , 1619
In , Edgar Allan Poe began writing short stories — including " The Masque of the Red Death ", " The Pit and the Pendulum ", " The Fall of the House of Usher ", and " The Murders in the Rue Morgue " — that explore previously hidden levels of human psychology and push the boundaries of fiction toward mystery and fantasy. In , Ralph Waldo Emerson , a former minister, published his essay Nature , which argued that men should dispense with organized religion and reach a lofty spiritual state by studying and interacting with the natural world.
Emerson's work influenced the writers who formed the movement now known as Transcendentalism , while Emerson also influenced the public through his lectures. Among the leaders of the Transcendental movement was Henry David Thoreau , a nonconformist and a close friend of Emerson. After living mostly by himself for two years in a cabin by a wooded pond, Thoreau wrote Walden , a memoir that urges resistance to the dictates of society. Thoreau's writings demonstrate a strong American tendency toward individualism.
As one of the great works of the Revolutionary period was written by a Frenchman, so too was a work about America from this generation. Alexis de Tocqueville 's two-volume Democracy in America described his travels through the young nation, making observations about the relations between American politics, individualism, and community.
These efforts were supported by the continuation of the slave narrative autobiography, of which the best known examples from this period include Frederick Douglass 's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave and Harriet Jacobs 's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. In , the young Nathaniel Hawthorne — collected some of his stories as Twice-Told Tales , a volume rich in symbolism and occult incidents.
Hawthorne went on to write full-length "romances", quasi-allegorical novels that explore the themes of guilt, pride, and emotional repression in New England. His masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter , is a drama about a woman cast out of her community for committing adultery. Hawthorne's fiction had a profound impact on his friend Herman Melville — , who first made a name for himself by turning material from his seafaring days into exotic sea narrative novels. Inspired by Hawthorne's focus on allegories and psychology, Melville went on to write romances replete with philosophical speculation.
In Moby-Dick , an adventurous whaling voyage becomes the vehicle for examining such themes as obsession, the nature of evil, and human struggle against the elements. In the short novel Billy Budd , Melville dramatizes the conflicting claims of duty and compassion on board a ship in time of war. His more profound books sold poorly, and he had been long forgotten by the time of his death. He was rediscovered in the early 20th century. Anti-transcendental works from Melville, Hawthorne, and Poe all comprise the Dark Romanticism sub-genre of popular literature at this time.
American dramatic literature, by contrast, remained dependent on European models, although many playwrights did attempt to apply these forms to American topics and themes, such as immigrants, westward expansion, temperance, etc. At the same time, American playwrights created several long-lasting American character types, especially the "Yankee", the "Negro" and the "Indian", exemplified by the characters of Jonathan , Sambo and Metamora.
In addition, new dramatic forms were created in the Tom Shows , the showboat theater and the minstrel show. The Fireside Poets also known as the Schoolroom or Household Poets were some of America's first major poets domestically and internationally. They were known for their poems being easy to memorize due to their general adherence to poetic form standard forms , regular meter , and rhymed stanzas and were often recited in the home hence the name as well as in school such as " Paul Revere's Ride " , as well as working with distinctly American themes, including some political issues such as abolition.
Longfellow achieved the highest level of acclaim and is often considered the first internationally acclaimed American poet, being the first American poet given a bust in Westminster Abbey's Poets' Corner. Walt Whitman — and Emily Dickinson — , two of America's greatest 19th-century poets could hardly have been more different in temperament and style. Walt Whitman was a working man, a traveler, a self-appointed nurse during the American Civil War — , and a poetic innovator. His magnum opus was Leaves of Grass , in which he uses a free-flowing verse and lines of irregular length to depict the all-inclusiveness of American democracy.
Taking that motif one step further, the poet equates the vast range of American experience with himself without being egotistical. For example, in Song of Myself , the long, central poem in Leaves of Grass , Whitman writes: "These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they are not original with me In his words Whitman was a poet of "the body electric".
Lawrence wrote that Whitman "was the first to smash the old moral conception that the soul of man is something 'superior' and 'above' the flesh. By contrast, Emily Dickinson lived the sheltered life of a genteel unmarried woman in small-town Amherst, Massachusetts. Her poetry is ingenious, witty, and penetrating. Her work was unconventional for its day, and little of it was published during her lifetime. Many of her poems dwell on the topic of death, often with a mischievous twist. One, " Because I could not stop for Death ", begins, "He kindly stopped for me. Who are you?
American poetry arguably reached its peak in the early-to-midth century, with such noted writers as Wallace Stevens and his Harmonium and The Auroras of Autumn , T. Cummings , Edna St. Vincent Millay and Langston Hughes , in addition to many others. Mark Twain the pen name used by Samuel Langhorne Clemens , — was the first major American writer to be born away from the East Coast — in the border state of Missouri. Twain's style — influenced by journalism, wedded to the vernacular, direct and unadorned but also highly evocative and irreverently humorous — changed the way Americans write their language.
His characters speak like real people and sound distinctively American, using local dialects, newly invented words, and regional accents. Other writers interested in regional differences and dialect were George W. A version of local color regionalism that focused on minority experiences can be seen in the works of Charles W. All these characters had strong similarities with North American characters, such as Uncle Tom and Uncle Remus, who were portrayed and sung about in "black language" in nineteenth-century literature and theater.
Another important similarity with the minstrel shows in the United States can be identified in the presence, with more information available from the s onwards, of the use of slave songs, such as jongos and lundus , to end operettas and theatrical reviews. These musical moments provided much fun, laughter and humor in a similar manner to cakewalks, the North American musical genre associated with the dance numbers by Blackface characters.
In these festivals, at the end of theatrical attractions "a jongo of black automata" was presented in the famous Teles tent, a kind of popular open-air venue starring artists who identified themselves as "mestizo". The famous actor Francisco Correa Vasques, who is recognized as the first artist to explore Afro-Brazilian dance at the end of theatrical performances, would have started his artistic life in this tent in the Campo de Santana Abreu, , p. Although they indicated the incorporation of Afro-Brazilian musical expressions, the use of lundus and jongos at the end of these shows genres that were identified with the slave and black populations, especially in southeast Brazil infantilized and deprecated the black population in grotesque and comic scenes, many of which were set in coffee plantations.
However, by also conferring a critical and ironic character to slavery and imperial values, they revealed many representations of slaves and blacks on stage Magaldi , p. It should not be forgotten that the lundu was considered to be a comic and satirical genre par excellence, "which censored or ridiculed people, events, classes and other aspects of society" Lima, , p. A tune with the title "Jongo of the Sixty-Year Olds" - an obvious reference to the Law of the Sixty-Year Olds that had been passed the previous year - was a great success.
The lyrics to "Jongo of the Sixty-Year Olds", which were analyzed by Silvia Cristina Martins de Souza, reproduced the images of submissive slaves, singing work songs and lauding their masters. Despite the difficulties underlying these types of stereotypical racial representations, black musicians were increasingly visible in the growing world of commercial entertainment, which incorporated circuses, bands, theaters and the nascent recording industry from the s in the United States and from the start of the twentieth century in Brazil.
Blackface musical shows started to gain new meanings when black artists in the United States and Brazil began to interpret the art of minstrels in new ways, inverting meanings and gaining for themselves the popularity of the cultural market and increased earnings. Black musicians increasingly occupied spaces, seeking laughter from their audiences, and reversing the stereotypes that were assigned to them. Excellent examples of this were the musicians Eduardo das Neves and Bert Williams , the subjects of a comparative study that I am currently developing.
Both men can be credited with giving other meanings to the representations of black musicians and the legacy of slave songs. Despite the strong presence of musical and intellectual entrepreneurs, the musical field also expressed the struggles concerning equality and the appreciation of the cultural expressions of the descendants of slaves and Africans. It was also an important channel for communication and the expression of the identity and politics of black people and black artistic leaders in various parts of the Americas, as Du Bois referred to in his chapter "The Sorrow Songs".
Slave songs, and their musical legacy, became a key way to combat racial oppression and domination, and to act in favor of social inclusion and citizenship in the post-abolition era in different regions of the diaspora. In this article I hope to have opened up a wider discussion about the post-abolition musical field in the United States and in Brazil. Avoiding a formal and systematic commitment to a comparative history, I wish to draw attention to the dialogues and similarities between the experiences of black musicians, as well as the discussions involving the assessments of the legacy of slave songs - and the construction of the history of black music - before the s.
In addition to the similarities between the depictions of Blackfaces in the United States and Brazil, it is also worth highlighting other dialogues. Cakewalks and ragtimes were played at dance venues in Rio de Janeiro and other cities in Brazil, and maxixes were mentioned in publications about dance in the United States in the early twentieth century.
Johnson, a former slave from Virginia who worked in the music industry and who recorded "laughing songs," a genre also recorded in Brazil by Eduardo das Neves Palombini, Entrepreneurs linked to the United States were involved with circuses and the music industry throughout Brazil and in the major cities of Latin America see Franceschi, From the s, the international commercial circuits of jazz and the more formal organization of black movements in Brazil created close and explicit ties between culture and politics in the Black Atlantic, both north and south Pereira, , Chap.
In a transnational phenomenon, African and Afro-American art and music took hold of intellectuals who were considered to be modern in the United States, France and Brazil, in the same way that the idea of the "New Negro" mobilized black intellectuals and musicians in the Americas. In the s, so-called jazz-bands, playing maxixes , sambas and cakewalks began to impose themselves on the music scene in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in both erudite and popular environments Labre, Black groups of musicians also started to look more and more for novelties arising from the Black Atlantic, which circulated via New York and Paris.
The renowned group of black musicians known as the Oito Batutas would have probably encountered jazz during the time they spent in Paris Martins, The transnational perspective in relation to the legacy of slave songs can make important contributions to the history of black music in Brazil, which, until recently, was constructed within the limits set by the nationalist landmarks of the s and s or the cultural policy of the Vargas governments.source site
Post Transbellum? - Common-placeCommon-place: The Journal of early American Life
Following the ideas contained in research by Radano regarding the United States, it is possible to propose that in Brazil music also assumed an important significance in its ability to influence and to reflect the legacy of race relations Radano, p. Furthermore, even considering the weight imposed by the Jim Crow laws in the United States, the options and the problems faced by black musicians in both countries were not that dissimilar. In the midst of constant novelties within the world of entertainment, they had to deal with the daily reproduction of racist maxims in the musical field, in addition to the powerful pronouncements of intellectual such as Du Bois and Coelho Netto.
Certainly, these musicians moved in very different worlds, represented by the modernity of the United States and Brazil in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, but they ended up imposing their own rhythms and tastes, as recent studies of the history of black music in the United States and of samba in Brazil seem to indicate. Despite national specificities, maxixes and samba, blues and jazz emerged at about the same time and are genres associated with black people and the legacy of slavery and Africa.
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III, Terms of Inclusions: Black intellectuals in twentieth-century Brazil. New York: Dove Publications, O Romance de Veludo. Revista de Antropofagia, ano 1, n. Negrophilia: Avant-garde Paris and black culture in the Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, Sambo: The rise and demise of an American jester. The Lost Sound: Blacks and the Birth of the recording industry, Archeophone Records, Beyond Blackface: African Americans and the creation of American popular culture, A reader in African American expressive culture.
Massachusetts: The University of Massachusetts Press, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, Durham, London: Duke University Press, Alan Lomax, Selected Writings, New York: Routledge, Carnival, Canboulay and Calypso, Traditions in the Mamaking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Rio de Janeiro: Ed. Casa de Rui Barbosa, As almas da gente negra. Heloisa Toller Gomes. Rio de Janeiro: Lacerda Ed. The Souls of Black Folk. Boston, New York: Bedford Books, The Power of Black Music. A Casa Edison e seu tempo.
Rio de Janeiro: Ucam; Ed. UFRJ, Campinas, SP: Ed. Unicamp, Intelectuais negros e modernidade no Brasil. In Search of the Blues: Black voices, white visions. London: Jonathan Cape, Making Samba: A new History of race and samba in Brazil. Durham: Duke University Press, Afro-American Folksongs: A study in racial and national music.
New York: Frederick Ungar, Em torno das Jazz Bands do Rio de Janeiro, nos anos Tese Doutorado - Universidade Federal Fluminense. Black Culture and Black Conciousness. New York: Oxford University Press, LOTT, Eric. Ethnomusicology and the African oral tradition in Brasil. Os Oito Batutas: uma orquestra melhor que a encomenda.
Cidade em cena: o ator Vasques, o teatro e o Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro: Folha Seca; Faperj, MEER, Sarah. Uncle Tom Mania: Slavery, minstrelsy and transatlantic culture in the s. Athens: University of Georgia Press, A personagem negra no teatro brasileiro Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, O teatro bufo: teatro blackface cubano. Washington, DC: Elliott Clark, Dances of Today. Philadelphia: The Penn Publishing Company, Montrouge: Bayard, Fonograma Per Musi, Belo Horizonte, n. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, Foreword by , Enslow Publishers, October , Library Binding Emancipation did not solve the problems or correct the injustices of over years of slavery.
Highlights include Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Atonement and Forgiveness: A New Model for Black Reparations Brooks, Roy L, University of California Press, October , Hardcover Reframing one of the most important, controversial, and misunderstood issues of modern times, this book puts forward a powerful new plan for repairing the damaged relationship between the federal government and black Americans based on a model of atonement and forgiveness.
Martin Luther King, Jr. It is also the story of the dramatically changing times in which this personal odyssey took place. Photos throughout. Foreword by , Enslow Publishers, , Library Binding During the pre-Civil War era, abolitionists--both black and white--and slave resisters helped bring about the end of slavery in the United States.
Edited by John Ernest
Brought about by abolitionists' and slave resisters' efforts, the Emancipation Proclamation and later the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution helped Americans to eliminate slavery. In this addition to the Slavery in American History series, Judith Edwards explores the heroic actions that came out of the abolitionist movement and slave resistance. Author John Thornton examines the dynamics that made slaves so necessary to European colonizers.
This new edition contains an added chapter on 18th-century developments. It makes a convincing case for pre-Columbian contacts between Africa and America before the era of the slave trade. The contributors draw upon the evidence of cultures in private collections and findings from excavations, and evidence of ancient African mathematics, astronomy, map-making, scripts, navigations, trade routes, pyramidal structures, linguistic connections, and technological and ritual complexes.
The volume is profusely illustrated.
- Kenneth W. Warren.
- Literature and Life: The Givens Collection.
- An Overview of the African-American Experience.
Agents of Repression includes an incisive historical account of the FBI siege of Wounded Knee, and reveals the viciousness of Cointelpro campaigns targeting the Black Liberation movement. The authors' new introduction examines the legacies of the Panthers and AIM, and shows how the FBI still presents a threat to those committed to fundamental social change. Appiah, Kwame Anthony, Amistad Press, , Paperback Alice Walker's achievements as a writer are characterized by an astonishing versatility.
She is equally at home with poetry and fiction -- it's worth remembering her first appearance in book form was as a poet, not as a novelist or fiction writer. Indeed, as an essayist alone she would be noteworthy presence in American letters But it is her novels for which she is best known, and it is her novels in which the full complexity of her vision is most evident.