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American literature guide

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  merican literature American literature is literature written orproduced in the United States and itspreceding colonies (for specificdiscussions of poetry and theater, seePoetry of the United States and Theaterin the United States). Before the foundingof the United States, the British colonieson the eastern coast of the present-dayUnited States were heavily influenced byEnglish literature. The American literary  tradition thus began as part of thebroader tradition of English literature.The revolutionary period is notable forthe political writings of Benjamin Franklinand Thomas Paine. Thomas Jefferson'sUnited States Declaration ofIndependence solidified his status as akey American writer. It was in the late18th and early 19th centuries that thenation's first novels were published. Anearly example is William Hill Brown's ThePower of Sympathy   published in 1791.Brown's novel depicts a tragic love storybetween siblings who fall in love withoutknowing they are related.  With an increasing desire to produceuniquely American literature and culture,a number of key new literary figuresemerged, perhaps most prominentlyWashington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe.In 1836, Ralph Waldo Emerson started aninfluential movement known asTranscendentalism. Inspired by thatmovement, Henry David Thoreau wrote Walden , which celebrates individualismand nature and urges resistance to thedictates of organized society. Thepolitical conflict surrounding abolitionisminspired the writings of William LloydGarrison and Harriet Beecher Stowe inher famous novel Uncle Tom's Cabin .These efforts were supported by the  continuation of the slave narratives suchas Frederick Douglass's Narrative of theLife of Frederick Douglass, an AmericanSlave. In the mid-nineteenth century, NathanielHawthorne published his masterpiece The Scarlet Letter  , a novel about adultery.Hawthorne influenced Herman Melville,who is notable for the books Moby-Dick  and Billy Budd  . America's greatest poetsof the nineteenth century were WaltWhitman and Emily Dickinson. MarkTwain (the pen name used by SamuelLanghorne Clemens) was the first majorAmerican writer to be born away from theEast Coast. Henry James put American
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