Puritan/Colonial Period in New England 1607-9 Jamestown founded, Hudson explores Hudson River 1611



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Timetable of American History & Literature



1609-1776 Puritan/Colonial Period in New England

1607-9

Jamestown founded, Hudson explores Hudson River



1611

King James Bible



1620

Arrival of the Mayflower at Plymouth, Mayflower Compact



1622

first regular newspaper



1580-1631

Captain John Smith saved by Pocahontas and writes The General History of Virginia



1630

John Winthrop leads the Puritan migration to Massachusetts Bay. Prints his journal, A History of New England



1633

Harvard College founded

William Bradford’s History of Plymouth Plantation

1640

First book published in America, the Bay Psalm Book



1647

George Fox begins to preach



1662

Wigglesworth poem, Day of Doom



1667-78

To My dear and Loving Husband, Anne Bradstreet

George Fox (1624-1692) preaching



1682

Mary Rowlandson’s Captivity and Restauration



1692

Salem witch trials



1700

Population of English colonies reaches 250,000



1702-1714

First American newspaper

Cotton Mather, Puritan essays to reconcile religion & science; a clergyman, theologian, writer (Puritan literary ideal). Ecclesiastical History of New England

1729-1734

Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (famous sermon)

Wesley brothers visit America

Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac1

1754-63

French-Indian War

Birth of the novel

Rousseau2 (1712-1778), French philosopher3

1758

Jonathan Edwards becomes president of College of N.J.(later called, Princeton), dies of an inoculation

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

French Voltaire4, Candide5, brutal mockery of Job6



1754-63

French and Indian War



Tristram Shandy7, Laurence Sterne

1772

On the Rising Glory of America, Philip Freneau (Princeton commencement poem)

1773

Boston tea party

Phillis Wheatley, On being … Africa to America

1775

Battle at Concord's North Bridge


1776-1820 Democratic Origins & Revolutionary Writers, Romanticism, Pantheism

Cult of nature, stop thinking, start feeling


1776

Declaration of Independence/War of Independence8



1787-94

The Constitution ratified by the states. Alexander Hamilton and James Madison write 85 essays defending constitution, the Federalist Papers.

George Washington elected first president of the United States

1791

The Bill of Rights ratified by the states



1800

Biology becomes a recognized area of study9

Thomas Jefferson elected president

1803-6

Lewis & Clark expedition



1807-8

James Madison elected president


1820-1865 American Romantic Renaissance Movement Victorian/Realism/Naturalism

Romantic/Neoclassic, emerging Romanticism


1811-1828

Emerson lives with grandparents in Concord in the Old Manse during War of 1812 at age eleven



Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Jane Austen

Rip Van Winkle, Washington Irving

Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper

Thanatopsis, Wm Cullen Bryant, links American literature to English Romanticism

Henry David Thoreau bn. in Concord in 1817 (d.1862)

Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language, insists America has her own language
1831-1836

Darwin sails on the Beagle to the Galapagos Islands

Siege of the Alamo; Texas declares its independence

Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), spokesman for Transcendentalism, pub. anonymously
1837

Birds of America, John James Audubon (1785-1851)

Twice-Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The American Scholar, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Phi Beta Kappa Harvard address
1840

Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849). Invented detective story.

The Alcotts move to Concord, collaborate with Emerson to publish transcendental journal, the Dial



1841

Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-64)rents the Old Manse, former home of Emerson’s grandfather, for three years

Thoreau’s brother and Emerson’s son die

Alcott’s begin a one year experiment in communal living on 90-acre farm near Harvard, MA



1844

Samuel Morse invents the telegraph10



The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe

Emerson purchases “a wood lot by Walden Pond”



1845

United States annexes Texas



Hard Times11, Charles Dickens

Narrative of the Life of an American Slave, by Frederick Douglass

Alcott’s buy a place .5 miles from Emerson with grant from Emerson, name it Hillside

Emerson begins 2-year experiment in cabin on Emerson’s land by Walden Pond. Anti-slavery society meets on his doorstep12

1830-47

Mormon trek westward



Evangeline, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wuthering Heights, Charlotte Bronte.

1848

Gold discovered in California



1850

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, American romanticism with Puritan roots

Charles G Finney (1792-1875) preaching



1851

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1819-1891)

1852

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Idylls of the King, Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

Hawthornes return to Concord and purchase the Alcott’s home, renaming it the Wayside



1854-1859

Walden, or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau13(self reliance, contemplate nature)

Origin of Species14, Darwin

1855

Leaves of Grass, ded. to Thoreau, by Walt Whitman

1857-1859

The Dred Scott decision



1860

Abraham Lincoln elected president



1861

Outbreak of the Civil War; first battle of Bull Run

Thoreau diees in 1862 of TB, buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

1863

Emancipation Proclamation

Battles of Vicksburg & Gettysburg

1865

Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Court House

end of the Civil War

Assassination of President Lincoln



Post-Civil War- 1914


Rise of realism to naturalism
1867

Around the World in 80 Days, Jules Verne

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens (1835-1910)leads away from romanticism towards realism

United States purchases Alaska

C H Spurgeon (1834-1892) preaching

1868

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott15

Edward M Bounds (1835-1913) preaching



1869

completion of the first transcontinental railroad

John D. Rockefeller forms the Standard Oil Company

1872

Emerson’s home burns, the Alcott sisters rescue some manuscripts, he leaves abroad



1873

Emerson, now 70, returns home to find his home and library restored by friends and neighbors



1876

telephone invented by Alexander Graham Bell



1877

phonograph invented by Thomas Edison

incandescent bulb invented by Edison

Alcott’s purchase the Thoreau house


1880

population exceeds 50 million



1881-1884

Emily Dickinson (1830-86), various poetry16



The Joyful Knowledge, Nietzsche17, God is dead!

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (1843-1916)

gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona



Huckleberry Finn18, Mark Twain (first modern American novel)

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) visits Emerson and walks the Walden woods



1882

Emerson dies, buried on Author’s Ridge in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery



1886-1893

Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane

Bronson Alcott dies, Louisa May dies two days later, buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Chicago World's Fair

1895

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Time Machine, H G Wells (1866-1945)

invention of motion picture



1898

Spanish-American War




1903

The Call of the Wild, Jack London19

the Wright brothers' first flight



1904

The Golden Bowl by Henry James

1909

first Model T Ford produced



1911

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

1913

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost (1874-1963)
1914-1965 Modern/Agnostic20

disillusionment with ideals and civilization, American drama flourishes


North of Boston by Robert Frost

outbreak of World War I

completion of the Panama Canal

1915

German submarine sinks Lusitania

Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity

1917

United States enters into World War I



1919-1922

Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

Prohibition enacted

population exceeds 100 million

Ulysses21, James Joyce (1882-1941)

1925-1926

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, helped create roaring twenties image

Scopes Trial



My Mortal Enemy by Willa Cather

Lady Chatterley’s Lover22, D H Lawrence

Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic



1929

The Sound and the Fury by Wm. Faulkner (1897-1962)

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

A Room of One’s Own23, Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

Stock Market Crash



1930

E E Cummings (1894-1962) experimental poetry

television broadcasting begins

1937

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1902-68)

outbreak of World War II in Asia



1938

Orson Welles' radio broadcast "War of the Worlds" Our Town, Thornton Wilder (1897-1975)



1939-1942

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Collected Poems, A E Housman (1859-1936)

outbreak of World War II in Europe

Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

United States enters World War II



1945

atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki



Post WWII



1944

The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams

1949

Dr Faustus, Thomas Mann (1875-1955)

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, realism

1984, George Orwell

1951

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Complete Poems, Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

1952

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

East of Eden, John Steinbeck

1953

end of Korean War



Literary Essays of Ezra Pound (1885-1972)

On Poets and Poetry, T S Eliot (1888-1965)

1961

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

1963
assassination of President John F. Kennedy


  1. Post-Modern/Atheistic

Nihilistic, anti-Christian, fully subjective
1968
Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated

Robert Kennedy assassinated



Jabberwocky, Lewis Carroll

1969

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Neil Armstrong becomes first man on the moon



Woodstock, the event and the poem by Joni Mitchell

1973

Vietnam Peace Agreement



1974

resignation of President Nixon over Watergate scandal



1989

end of the Cold War

RESOURCES:
The Oxford Companion to American Literature

http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/home.htm

http://www.shsu.edu/~eng_wpf/amlitchron_16th.html

www.thelmaslibrary.com

This timetable may be reproduced without prior permission as long as it is photocopied ‘as is,’ and in its entirety. Contact Thelma English at the website below for more information or to report any errors.



1 Franklin’s 13th Virtue was to “imitate Jesus and Socrates.”

2 “I am commencing [said Rousseau] an undertaking, hitherto without precedent, and which will never find an imitator. I desire to set before my fellow-men the likeness of a man in all the truth of nature, and that man is myself. Myself alone! I know the feelings of my heart, and I know men. I am not made like any of those I have seen; I venture to believe that I am not made like any of those who are in existence.”

3 He applied primitivism to his political agenda, the idea that civilization has spoiled the Noble Savage.

4 “What a light has burst over Europe within the last few years! It first illuminated all the princes of the north; it has even come into the universities. It is the light of common sense!” Rouseau

5 Written in three days.

6 Opinion of Frederick the Great, a patron of Voltaire

7 A spontaneous, chaotic account of several years in the character’s life. Denounced and highly acclaimed.

8 The bloody French Revolution and the American War for Independence are linked with the age of Romanticism.

9 Absolute truth will be displaced by relative, pragmatic truths that science will proclaim

10 What faith had been to the Middle Ages, science would be to the coming 19th century.

11 Dickens’ harshest indictment of English social problems during his time.

12 “An immoral law makes it a man’s duty to break it”

13 A Transcendentalist.

14 The theory of evolution was defended by intellectuals and scientists against theological objections, and was taken as confirmation that progress was the natural direction of life. The controversy helped define popular ideas of the dedicated scientist and ever-expanding human knowledge of and control over the world. “survival of the fittest” and “natural selection” suggest that strength and force win over right, and moral absolutes become relative.

15 Science brought confidence to mankind. It was felt that the heart and feelings were the key to understanding and meaning, Transcendentalism.

16 She was greatly influenced by Jonathan Edwards and Emerson.

17 Like Kierkegaard, Nietzsche was an existentialist.

18 Example of social comment, the Noble Savage.

19 Greatly influenced by Marx, Darwin, and Nietzsche.

20 One who believes that there can be no proof of the existence of God but does not deny the possibility that God exists.

21 Banned, burned, then devoured. One day in a man’s life.

22 His writing and painting was proclaimed obscene.

23 A classic of feminist movement, interior monologue.




Winter Workshop 2003, American Literature [A-4] www.thelmaslibrary.com




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