Characteristics of the period: Celebrates the natural and spiritual worlds.
Authors and works: oral tradition, original authors, and works are largely unknown.
Characteristics: Focuses on historical events, daily life, moral attitudes (Puritanism), political unrest
Authors and Works: William Bradford (Of Plymouth Plantation), Anne Bradstreet ("To My Dear and Loving Husband," Jonathan Edwards (Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God), Benjamin Franklin (Poor Richard's Almanack)
Characteristics: Celebrates nationalism and patriotism and examines what it means to be "American"
Authors and Works: Political writings by: Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson
Characteristics: Celebrates individualism, nature, imagination, and emotions
Authors and Works: Washington Irving (Legend of Sleepy Hollow"), Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter), Herman Melville (Moby Dick), Ralph Waldo Emerson ("Self-Reliance"), Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
Examines realities of life, human frailty; regional culture (local color)
Authors and Works: Stephen Crane (The Red Badge of Courage), Willa Cather (O, Pioneers), Emily Dickinson ("Because I Could Not Stop for Death"), Mark Twain (Huckleberry Finn)
Characteristics: Views life as a set of natural laws to be discovered
Authors and Works: Theodore Dreiser (Sister Carrie), James T. Ferrell (Studs Lonigan: A Trilogy), Jack London (The C-Wolf), Frank Norris (The Octopus)
Characteristics: Themes of alienation, disconnectedness; experiments with new techniques; use of irony and understatement
Authors and Works: T.S. Eliot (The Waste Land), F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby), Ernest Hemingway (For Whom the Bell Tolls) Langston Hughes ("Theme for English B"), Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God)
Characteristics: Non-traditional topics and structures; embrace of changing reality
Authors and Works: Norman Mailer (The Armies of the Night), Joyce Carol Oates (Bellefleur), J. D. Salinger (Catcher in the Rye), Kurt Vonnegut (Breakfast of Champions)