Реферат Literature and theatre of the USA

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>Contents

TheLiterature of the United States

>Colonialliterature

>EarlyU.S.literature

>Unique Americanstyle

Americanlyric

>Realism,Twain, andJames

>Turn of thecentury

>Theater

>Post-WorldWar II

>Postmodernism

>Modernhumoristliterature

>Southernliterature

>African Americanliterature

>Jewish Americanliterature

Otherethnic, minority, andimmigrantliteratures

Othergenres

>J.D.Salinger

>Biography

The Poetry of the United States

Poetry in thecolonies

>Postcolonialpoetry

>Whitman andDickinson

>Modernism andafter

WorldWar II andafter

Americanpoetrynow

>Academy of AmericanPoets

>Awardsgivenby theacademy

>Chicanopoetry

>Pioneers andforerunners

>Unifyingconcepts

>Theater in the United States

>History

>Earlyhistory

The19thcentury

The20thcentury

Americantheater today

Americancomicbook

>History

>Proto-comicbooks

>FamousFunnies and NewFunComics

>Superman andsuperheroes

TheComicsCode

>SilverAge ofComic Books

>Undergroundcomics

>BronzeAge ofComic Books

TheModernAge

>Prestigeformat

Independent andalternativecomics

>Artistrecognition

Production

Thesuperhero

>Pricing

TheList ofLiterature &Web-sites


TheLiterature of the United States

>Duringitsearlyhistory, Americawas aseries of Britishcolonies on theeasterncoast of thepresent-day United States.Therefore,itsliterarytraditionbeginsaslinked to thebroadertradition of Englishliterature.However,unique Americancharacteristics and thebreadth ofitsproductionusuallynowcause it tobeconsidered aseparatepath andtradition.

>Colonialliterature

>Some of theearliest Americanliteraturewerepamphlets andwritingsextolling thebenefits of thecolonies toboth a European andcolonistaudience. JohnSmith ofJamestowncouldbeconsidered thefirst Americanauthorwith hisworks: ATrueRelation of ...Virginia ... (1608) and The GeneralHistorie ofVirginia, NewEngland, and the SummerIsles (1624). Otherwriters ofthismannerincludedDanielDenton, ThomasAshe,WilliamPenn,GeorgePercy,WilliamStrachey, JohnHammond,DanielCoxe,Gabriel Thomas, and JohnLawson.

Thereligiousdisputes thatpromptedsettlement in Americawerealsotopics ofearlywriting. Ajournalwrittenby JohnWinthropdiscussed thereligiousfoundations of theMassachusettsBayColony.EdwardWinslowalsorecorded adiary of thefirstyearsafter theMayflower'sarrival. OtherreligiouslyinfluencedwritersincludedIncreaseMather andWilliamBradford,author of thejournalpublishedas aHistory ofPlymouthPlantation, 1620–47.OtherslikeRogerWilliams andNathanielWardmorefiercelyargued state andchurchseparation.

>Somepoetryalsoexisted.AnneBradstreet andEdwardTaylorareespeciallynoted.MichaelWigglesworthwrote abest-sellingpoem, TheDay of Doom,describing thetime ofjudgement.NicholasNoyeswasalsoknownfor hisdoggerelverse.

Otherearlywritingsdescribedconflicts andinteractionwith theIndians,asseen inwritingsbyDanielGookin,AlexanderWhitaker, JohnMason,BenjaminChurch, andMaryRowlandson. JohnEliottranslated theBibleinto theAlgonquinlanguage.

>JonathanEdwards andCottonMatherrepresented theGreatAwakening, areligiousrevival in theearly18thcentury thatassertedstrictCalvinism. OtherPuritan andreligiouswritersinclude ThomasHooker, ThomasShepard,UriahOakes, JohnWise, andSamuelWillard.Lessstrict andseriouswritersincludedSamuelSewall,SarahKembleKnight, andWilliamByrd.

Therevolutionaryperiodalsocontained politicalwritings,includingthosebycolonistsSamuelAdams,JosiahQuincy, JohnDickinson, andJosephGalloway, aloyalist to thecrown.TwokeyfigureswereBenjaminFranklin and ThomasPaine.Franklin'sPoorRichard'sAlmanac and TheAutobiography ofBenjaminFranklinareesteemedworkswiththeirwit andinfluencetoward theformation of abudding Americanidentity.Paine'spamphletCommonSense and The AmericanCrisiswritingsareseenasplaying akeyrole ininfluencing the politicaltone of theperiod.

>During the revolutionitself,poems andsongssuchas ">YankeeDoodle" and ">NathanHale"werepopular.Majorsatiristsincluded JohnTrumbull andFrancisHopkinson. PhilipMorinFreneaualsowroteimportantpoemsabout thewar'scourse.

>EarlyU.S.literature

Thefirst Americannovelissometimesconsidered tobeWilliamHillBrown's The Power ofSympathy (1789).Much of theearlyliterature of the newnationstruggled tofind auniquely Americanvoice. Europeanforms andstyleswereoftentransferred to newlocales andcriticsoftensawthemasinferior.Forexample,Wieland andothernovelsbyCharlesBrockdenBrown (1771-1810)areoftenseenasimitations of theGothicnovelsthenbeingwritten inEngland.


>Unique Americanstyle

>With theWar of 1812 andanincreasingdesire toproduceuniquely Americanwork, anumber ofkey newliteraryfiguresappeared,perhapsmostprominently WashingtonIrving,WilliamCullenBryant,JamesFenimoreCooper, andEdgarAllanPoe.Irving,oftenconsidered thefirstwriter todevelop aunique Americanstyle (>althoughthisisdebated)wrotehumorousworks inSalmagundi and thewell-knownsatire AHistory of New York,byDiedrichKnickerbocker (1809).Bryantwroteearlyromantic andnature-inspiredpoetry,whichevolvedawayfromtheir Europeanorigins.In 1835,Poebeganwritingshortstories --including TheMasque of theRedDeath, ThePit and thePendulum, The Fall of the House ofUsher, and TheMurders in theRueMorgue -- thatexplorepreviouslyhiddenlevels ofhumanpsychology andpush theboundaries of fictiontowardmystery and fantasy.Cooper'sLeatherstockingtalesaboutNattyBumppowerepopularboth in the newcountry andabroad.

>Humorouswriterswerealsopopular andincludedSebaSmith andBenjaminP.Shillaber in NewEngland andDavyCrockett,AugustusBaldwinLongstreet,JohnsonJ.Hooper, ThomasBangsThorpe,Joseph G.Baldwin, andGeorge Washington Harriswritingabout the Americanfrontier.

The NewEnglandBrahminswere a group ofwritersconnected toHarvard University anditsseat inCambridge,Massachusetts. ThecoreincludedJamesRussellLowell,HenryWadsworthLongfellow, andOliverWendellHolmes,Sr.

>In 1836,RalphWaldoEmerson (1803-1882),anex-minister,published astartlingnonfictionworkcalled Nature, inwhichheclaimed itwaspossible todispensewithorganizedreligion andreach aloftyspiritual statebystudying andresponding to thenatural world.Hisworkinfluencednotonly thewriters whogatheredaroundhim,forming amovementknownasTranscendentalism,butalso the public, whoheardhimlecture.

>Emerson'smostgiftedfellow-thinkerwasperhapsHenry DavidThoreau (1817-1862), aresolutenonconformist.Afterlivingmostlybyhimselffor twoyears in acabinby awoodedpond,ThoreauwroteWalden, abook-lengthmemoir thaturgesresistance to themeddlesomedictates oforganizedsociety.Hisradicalwritingsexpress adeep-rootedtendencytowardindividualism in the Americancharacter. OtherwritersinfluencedbyTranscendentalismwereBronsonAlcott,MargaretFuller,GeorgeRipley,OrestesBrownson, andJonesVery.

The politicalconflictsurroundingAbolitionisminspired thewritings ofWilliamLloydGarrison and hispaper TheLiberator,alongwithpoet JohnGreenleafWhittier andHarrietBeecherStowe inherworld-famousUncleTom'sCabin.

>In 1837, theyoungNathanielHawthorne (1804-1864)collectedsome of hisstoriesasTwice-ToldTales, avolumerich insymbolism andoccultincidents.Hawthornewent on towritefull-length ">romances,"quasi-allegoricalnovels thatexploresuchthemesasguilt,pride, andemotionalrepression in hisnative NewEngland.Hismasterpiece, TheScarletLetter,is thestarkdrama of awomancast out ofher communityforcommittingadultery.History ofmodernliterature

>Hawthorne's fictionhad aprofoundimpact on hisfriendHermanMelville (1819-1891), whofirstmade anameforhimselfbyturningmaterialfrom hisseafaringdaysintoexoticnovels.InspiredbyHawthorne'sexample,Melvillewent on towritenovelsrich inphilosophicalspeculation.In MobyDick,anadventurouswhalingvoyagebecomes thevehicleforexaminingsuchthemesasobsession, thenature ofevil, andhumanstruggleagainst theelements.Inanotherfinework, theshortnovelBillyBudd,Melvilledramatizes theconflictingclaims ofduty andcompassion onboard aship intime ofwar.Hismoreprofoundbookssoldpoorly, andhehadbeenlongforgottenby thetime of hisdeath. Hewasrediscovered in theearlydecades of the20thcentury.

>Anti-transcendentalworksfromMelville,Hawthorne, andPoe allcomprise theDarkRomanticismsubgenre ofliteraturepopularduringthistime.


Americanlyric

>America's twogreatest19th-centurypoetscouldhardlyhavebeenmoredifferent intemperament andstyle. WaltWhitman (1819-1892)was aworking man, atraveler, aself-appointednurseduring the AmericanCivilWar (1861-1865), and apoeticinnovator.HismagnumopuswasLeaves ofGrass, inwhichheuses afree-flowingverse andlines ofirregularlength todepict theall-inclusiveness of Americandemocracy. Taking thatmotifonestepfurther, thepoetequates thevastrange of Americanexperiencewithhimselfwithoutbeingegotistical.Forexample, inSong ofMyself, thelong,centralpoem inLeaves ofGrass,Whitmanwrites: ">Thesearereally thethoughts of allmen in allages andlands,theyarenotoriginalwithme...."

>Whitmanwasalso apoet of thebody -- "thebodyelectric,"ashecalled it.In Studies in Classic AmericanLiterature, the EnglishnovelistD.H.Lawrencewrote thatWhitman ">was thefirst tosmash theoldmoralconception that thesoul of manissomething `>superior' and `>above' theflesh."

>EmilyDickinson (1830-1886), on theotherhand,lived thesheltered life of agenteelunmarriedwoman insmall-townAmherst,Massachusetts.Withinitsformalstructure,herpoetryisingenious,witty,exquisitelywrought, andpsychologicallypenetrating.Herworkwasunconventionalforitsday, andlittle of itwaspublishedduringherlifetime.

>Many ofherpoemsdwell ondeath,oftenwith amischievoustwist. ">Because Icouldnot stopforDeath,"onebegins, "Hekindlystoppedforme." The opening ofanotherDickinsonpoemtoyswithherpositionas awoman in amale-dominatedsociety andanunrecognizedpoet: ">I'mnobody! Whoareyou? /Areyounobodytoo?"


>Realism,Twain, andJames

>MarkTwain (thepenname ofSamuelLanghorneClemens, 1835-1910)was thefirstmajor Americanwriter tobebornawayfrom theEastCoast - in theborder state ofMissouri.Hisregionalmasterpieceswere thememoir Life on theMississippi and thenovelAdventures ofHuckleberryFinn.Twain'sstyle -influencedbyjournalism,wedded to thevernacular,direct andunadornedbutalsohighlyevocative andirreverentlyfunny -changed thewayAmericanswritetheirlanguage.Hischaractersspeaklike realpeople and sounddistinctively American,usinglocaldialects,newlyinventedwords, andregionalaccents. Otherwritersinterested inregionaldifferences anddialectwereGeorge W.Cable, Thomas NelsonPage,JoelChandler Harris,MaryNoaillesMurfree (>CharlesEgbertCraddock),SarahOrneJewett,Mary E.WilkinsFreeman,HenryCuylerBunner, andWilliamSydneyPorter (>O.Henry).

>WilliamDeanHowellsalsorepresented therealisttraditionthrough hisnovels,including TheRise ofSilasLapham and hisworkaseditor of the Atlantic Monthly.

>HenryJames (1843-1916)confronted theOldWorld-New Worlddilemmabywritingdirectlyabout it.Althoughborn in New York City,hespentmost of hisadultyears inEngland.Many of hisnovelscenter onAmericans wholive in ortravel to Europe.Withitsintricate,highlyqualifiedsentences anddissection ofemotional andpsychologicalnuance,James's fictioncanbedaunting.Among hismoreaccessibleworksare thenovellasDaisyMiller,aboutanenchanting American girl in Europe, and TheTurn of theScrew,anenigmaticghost story.

>Turn of thecentury

>ErnestHemingway in WorldWar Iuniform.

>At thebeginning of the20thcentury, Americannovelistswereexpandingfiction'ssocialspectrum toencompassboth high andlow life andsometimesconnected to thenaturalistschool ofrealism.Inherstories andnovels,EdithWharton (1862-1937)scrutinized theupper-class,Eastern-seaboardsociety inwhichshehadgrown up.One ofherfinestbooks, TheAge ofInnocence,centers on a man whochooses tomarry aconventional,sociallyacceptablewomanratherthan afascinatingoutsider.Atabout thesametime,StephenCrane (1871-1900), bestknownfor hisCivilWarnovel TheRedBadge ofCourage,depicted the life of New York Cityprostitutes inMaggie: AGirl of theStreets.And inSisterCarrie,TheodoreDreiser (1871-1945)portrayed acountry girl whomoves toChicago andbecomes akeptwoman.HamlinGarland andFrankNorriswroteabout theproblems of Americanfarmers andothersocialissuesfrom anaturalistperspective.

>Moredirectly politicalwritingsdiscussedsocialissues and power ofcorporations.SomelikeEdwardBellamy inLookingBackwardoutlinedotherpossible political andsocialframeworks.Upton Sinclair,mostfamousfor hismeat-packingnovel TheJungle,advocatedsocialism. Other politicalwriters of theperiodincludedEdwinMarkham,WilliamVaughnMoody.Journalisticcritics,includingIda M.Tarbell and LincolnSteffenswerelabelled the TheMuckrakers.HenryAdams'literateautobiography, TheEducation ofHenryAdamsalsodepicted astingingdescription of theeducationsystem andmodern life.

>Experimentation instyle andformsoonjoined the newfreedom insubjectmatter.In 1909,GertrudeStein (1874-1946),bythenanexpatriate inParis,published ThreeLives,aninnovativework of fictioninfluencedbyherfamiliaritywithcubism,jazz, andothermovements in contemporary art and music.Steinlabelled a group of Americanliterarynotables wholived inParis in the1920s and1930sas the ">Lost Generation".

ThepoetEzraPound (1885-1972)wasborn inIdahobutspentmuch of hisadult life in Europe.Hisworkiscomplex,sometimesobscure,withmultiplereferences toother artforms and to avastrange ofliterature,both Western andEastern. Heinfluencedmanyotherpoets,notablyT.S.Eliot (1888-1965),anotherexpatriate.Eliotwrotespare,cerebralpoetry,carriedby adensestructure ofsymbols.In "TheWaste Land"heembodied ajaundicedvision ofpost-WorldWar Isociety infragmented,hauntedimages.LikePound's,Eliot'spoetrycouldbehighlyallusive, andsomeeditions of TheWaste Landcomewithfootnotessuppliedby thepoet.In 1948,Eliotwon theNobelPrize inLiterature.

Americanwritersalsoexpressed thedisillusionmentfollowingupon thewar. Thestories andnovels of F.ScottFitzgerald (1896-1940)capture therestless,pleasure-hungry,defiantmood of the1920s.Fitzgerald'scharacteristictheme,expressedpoignantly in TheGreatGatsby,is thetendency ofyouth'sgoldendreams todissolve infailure anddisappointment. SinclairLewis andSherwood Andersonalsowrotenovelswithcriticaldepictions of American life. JohnDosPassoswroteabout thewar andalso theU.S.A.trilogywhichextendedinto theDepression.ErnestHemingway (1899-1961)sawviolence anddeathfirst-handasanambulancedriver in WorldWar I, and thecarnagepersuadedhim thatabstractlanguagewasmostlyempty andmisleading. Hecut outunnecessarywordsfrom hiswriting,simplified thesentencestructure, andconcentrated onconcreteobjects andactions. Headhered to amoralcode thatemphasizedgraceunderpressure, and hisprotagonistswerestrong,silentmen whooftendealtawkwardlywithwomen. The SunAlsoRises and AFarewell toArmsaregenerallyconsidered his bestnovels; in 1954,hewon theNobelPrize inLiterature.

>FiveyearsbeforeHemingway,another Americannovelisthadwon theNobelPrize:WilliamFaulkner (1897-1962).Faulknermanaged toencompassanenormousrange ofhumanity inYoknapatawphaCounty, aMississippianregion of hisowninvention. Herecorded hischaracters'seeminglyuneditedramblings inorder torepresenttheirinnerstates, atechniquecalled ">stream ofconsciousness." (>Infact,thesepassagesarecarefullycrafted, andtheirseeminglychaoticstructureconcealsmultiplelayers ofmeaning.) Healsojumbledtimesequences toshow how thepast --especially theslave-holdingera of the DeepSouth --endures in thepresent.Among hisgreatworksare The Sound and theFury,Absalom,Absalom!, GoDown,Moses, and TheUnvanquished.

>Depressioneraliteraturewasblunt anddirect initssocialcriticism. JohnSteinbeck (1902-1968)wasborn inSalinas, California,wherehesetmany of hisstories.Hisstylewassimple andevocative,winninghim thefavor of thereadersbutnot of thecritics.Steinbeckoftenwroteaboutpoor,working-classpeople andtheirstruggle tolead adecent andhonest life;hewasprobably themostsociallyawarewriter of hisperiod. TheGrapes ofWrath,considered hismasterpiece,is astrong,socially-orientednovel thattells the story of theJoads, apoor familyfromOklahoma andtheirjourney to California insearch of abetter life. OtherpopularnovelsincludeTortillaFlat,OfMice and Men,CanneryRow, andEast ofEden. Hewasawarded theNobelPrize inLiterature in 1962. Otherwriterssometimesconsideredpart of theproletarianschoolincludeNathanael West,FieldingBurke,JackConroy,TomKromer,RobertCantwell,AlbertHalper, andEdward Anderson.

>Theater

>Inaddition to fiction, the1920s and1930swere arichperiodfordrama.Therehadnotbeenanimportant AmericandramatistuntilEugeneO'Neill (1888-1953)began towrite hisplays. The 1936winner of theNobelPrize inLiterature,O'Neilldrewuponclassicalmythology, theBible, and the new science ofpsychology toexploreinner life. Hewrotefranklyaboutsex and familyquarrels,but hispreoccupationwaswith theindividual'ssearchforidentity.One of hisgreatestworksisLongDay'sJourneyIntoNight, aharrowingdrama,small inscalebutlarge intheme,basedlargely on hisown family.

>Anotherstrikinglyoriginal AmericanplaywrightwasTennesseeWilliams (1911-1983), whoexpressed hissouthernheritage inpoeticyetsensationalplays,usuallyabout asensitivewomantrapped in abrutishenvironment.Several of hisplayshavebeenmadeintofilms,including AStreetcarNamedDesire andCat on aHotTinRoof. Otherplaywrights of theperiodwere Maxwell Anderson,MarcConnelly,ElmerRice,LillianHellman,CliffordOdets,ThorntonWilder, andWilliamSaroyan.

>Post-WorldWar II

>Therewere anumber ofmajor Americanwarnovelswritten in thewake of WorldWar II.Some of themostwellknownincludedNormanMailer's TheNaked and the Dead (1948),novelsbyIrwinShaw andJamesJones, andlaterJosephHeller (>Catch-22) andKurtVonnegut,Jr. (>Slaughterhouse-Five).

>In the1950s the WestCoastspawned aliterarymovement, thepoetry and fiction of the ">Beat Generation," aname thatreferredsimultaneously to therhythm ofjazz music, to asense thatpost-warsocietywasworn out, and toaninterest in newforms ofexperiencethroughdrugs,alcohol, andEasternmysticism.PoetAllenGinsberg (1926-1997)set thetone ofsocialprotest andvisionaryecstasy inHowl, aWhitmanesquework thatbegins: "Isaw the bestminds ofmygenerationdestroyedbymadness....".JackKerouac (1922-1969)celebrated the Beats'rollicking,spontaneous, andvagrantlife-style in hismasterful andvibrantnovelOn the Road.

Otherwriters of theperiodlikeJ.D.Salinger andSylviaPlathwerestarklyindividual andcannotbeeasilyclassified.

>Postmodernism

>From theearly1960sthrough thelate1980s,animportantliterarymovementwaspostmodernism.Importantwriters,here,are ThomasPynchon,author of V. andGravity's Rainbow,amongotherthings, andDonDelillo, whowroteWhiteNoise.Postmodernwritersdealtdirectlywith theway thatpopularculture and mass mediainfluence theaverageAmerican'sperception andexperience of the world.Theywouldsetscenes infast foodrestaurants, onsubways, or inshoppingmalls;theywroteaboutdrugs,plasticsurgery, andtelevisioncommercials.Sometimes,thesedepictions lookalmostlikecelebrations.Butsimultaneously,writers inthisschooltake aknowing,self-conscious,sarcastic, and (>somecriticswouldsay)condescendingattitudetowardstheirsubjects.

>Modernhumoristliterature

>FromIrving andHawthorne to thepresentday, theshort storyhasbeen afavorite Americanform.One ofits20th-centurymasterswas JohnCheever (1912-1982), whobroughtyetanotherfacet of American lifeinto therealm ofliterature: theaffluentsuburbs thathavegrown uparoundmostmajorcities.Cheeverwaslongassociatedwith The NewYorker, amagazinenotedforitswit andsophistication. JohnUpdikealsocontinuedCheever'stradition andis bestknownfor hisRabbitserieswhichbeganwithRabbitRun.

>Southernliterature

>Faulknerwaspart of asouthernliteraryrenaissance thatalsoincludedsuchfiguresasTrumanCapote (1924-1984) andFlanneryO'Connor (1925-1964).AlthoughCapotewroteshortstories andnovels, fiction andnonfiction, hismasterpiecewasIn ColdBlood, afactualaccount of amultiplemurder anditsaftermath,whichfuseddoggedreportingwith anovelist'spenetratingpsychology andcrystallineprose.Anotherpractitioner of the ">nonfictionnovel,"TomWolfe (1931- )wasone of thefounders of "NewJournalism," whohoned his art insuchessaysas TheKandy-KoloredTangerine-FlakeStreamlineBaby andRadicalChicbeforehemoved on tobook-lengthefforts,suchas hishistory of the Americanmannedspaceprogram TheRightStuff andprobably hisbest-knownnovelBonfire of theVanities. Otherwriterssteeped in theSoutherntraditioninclude JohnKennedyToole (1937–1969) andTomRobbins (1936- ).

>FlanneryO'Connorwas aCatholic, andthusanoutsider in theheavilyProtestantSouth inwhichshegrew up.HercharactersareProtestantfundamentalistsobsessedwithbothGod andSatan.Sheis bestknownforhertragicomicshortstories.

>African Americanliterature

>African Americanliteratureisliteraturewrittenby,about, andsometimesspecificallyforAfrican-Americans. Thegenrebeganduring the18th and19thcenturieswithwriterssuchaspoetPhillisWheatley andoratorFrederickDouglass.Among thethemes andissuesexplored inAfrican Americanliteratureare therole ofAfricanAmericanswithin thelarger Americansociety,African Americanculture,racism,slavery, andequality.

>Before the AmericanCivilWar,African Americanliteratureprimarilyfocused on theissue ofslavery,asindicatedby thepopularsubgenre ofslavenarratives.At theturn of the20thcentury,booksbyauthorssuchasW.E.B.DuBois andBooker T. Washingtondebatedwhether toconfront orappeaseracistattitudes in the United States.

>African Americanliteraturesaw asurgeduring the1920swith therise ofanartistic Black community in the New York Cityneighborhood ofHarlem. Theperiodcalled theHarlemRenaissanceproducedsuchgiftedpoetsasLangstonHughes (1902-1967),CounteeCullen (1903-1946), andClaudeMcKay (1889-1948). ThenovelistZoraNealeHurston (1903-1960)combined agiftforstorytellingwith thestudy ofanthropology towritevividstoriesfrom theAfrican-Americanoraltradition.Throughsuchbooksas thenovelTheirEyesWereWatchingGod —about the life andmarriages of alight-skinnedAfrican-Americanwoman —Hurstoninfluenced alatergeneration of blackwomennovelists.

>After WorldWar II, a newreceptivity todiversevoicesbrought blackwritersinto the mainstream'ом of Americanliterature.JamesBaldwin (1924-1987)expressed hisdisdainforracism and his celebration ofsexuality inGiovanni'sRoom.InInvisible Man,RalphEllison (1914-1994)linked theplight ofAfricanAmericans,whoseracecanrenderthem allbutinvisible to themajoritywhiteculture,with thelargertheme of thehumansearchforidentity in themodern world.

Today,African Americanliteraturehasbecomeacceptedasanintegralpart of Americanliterature,withbooks in thegenre,suchas Roots: TheSaga ofan AmericanFamilybyAlexHaley and TheColorPurplebyAliceWalker,achievingbothbest-selling andaward-winning status.Inaddition,African AmericanauthorssuchasNobelPrizewinningToniMorrisonarerankedamong thetopwriters in the world.

>Jewish Americanliterature

The United Stateshashad a community andtradition ofwritingbyJewishimmigrants andtheirdescendantsfor alongtime,althoughmanywritershaveobjected tobeingreduced to ">Jewish"writersalone.KeymodernwriterswithJewishoriginsareSaulBellow, PhilipRoth,BernardMalamud,GracePaley,IsaacBashevisSinger,ChaimPotok,IsaacAsimov,WendyWasserstein, andWoodyAllen,amongothers. The NewYorkerhasbeenespeciallyinstrumental inexposingmanyJewish-Americanwriters to awiderreading public.

Otherethnic, minority, andimmigrantliteratures

>Native AmericanwriterLeslieMarmonSilko (1948- )usescolloquiallanguage andtraditionalstories to fashionhaunting,lyricalpoemssuchasIn Cold Storm Light.AmyTan (1952- ), ofChinesedescent,hasdescribedherparents'earlystruggles in California in The JoyLuck Club. OscarHijuelos (1951- ), awriterwithroots inCuba,won the 1991PulitzerPrizefor hisnovel TheMamboKingsPlaySongs of Love.In aseries ofnovelsbeginningwith ABoy'sOwn Story,EdmundWhite (1940- )hascaptured theanguish andcomedy ofgrowing upgay in America.


Othergenres

>DashiellHammett and RaymondChandlerpioneeredgrittydetective fiction thathashadgreatinfluence onothergenres and inothercountries.

>Stephen Kinghasbeenespeciallysuccessfulinternationallywith hishorror fiction.

The United Stateshasalsoplayed akeyrole in thedevelopment of science fictionwithauthorslikeIsaacAsimov,RayBradbury,HarlanEllison,Robert A.Heinlein, Philip K.Dick, andmanyothers.

>J.D.Salinger

>Jerome DavidSalinger (>bornJanuary 1, 1919)isan Americanauthor bestknownfor TheCatcher in theRye, aclassicnovel thathasenjoyedenduringpopularitysinceitspublication in 1951. Amajortheme inSalinger'sworkis thestrongyetdelicatemind of ">disturbed"adolescents, and theredemptivecapacity ofchildren in thelives ofsuchyoungmen.Salingerisalsoknownfor hisreclusivenature;hehasnotgivenaninterviewsince 1980, andhasnotmade a publicappearance,norpublishedany newwork (>atleastunder hisownname),since 1965.

>In themid1990s,therewas aflurry ofexcitementwhen asmallpublisherannounced a dealwithSalinger tobring out thefirstbookversion of hisfinalpublished story, ">Hapworth 16, 1924,"butamid theensuingpublicity,Salingerquicklywithdrewfrom thearrangement.

>Biography

>Jerome DavidSalingerwasborn in Manhattan, New York, toSolSalinger, aJewishfather ofPolishorigin whoworkedfor ameatimporter, andMarieJillich, ahalf-Scottish,half-Irishmother.Whentheymarried,Salinger'smotherchangedhername toMiriam andpassedasJewish;J. D.didnotfind out that hismotherwasnotJewishuntiljustafter hisbarmitzvah.Jerome Davidwas thecouple's secondchild; hisonlysibling,Doris,wasborn in 1911.

TheyoungSalingerattended publicschools on the WestSide, the privateMcBurneySchool inninth andtenthgrades, andthenwas happy togetawayfrom theover-protectiveness of hismotherbyentering theValleyForgeMilitaryAcademy inWayne,Pennsylvania. Hestarted hisfreshmanyearat New York University (>NYU),butdropped out the nextspring towork on acruiseship. The nextfall,hewasprevailedupon tolearn themeat-importing business andwassent toworkat the company in Vienna,wherehecouldalsoperfect his French andGermanskills. Heleft Austriaonly amonth orsobefore thecountryfell toHitler, onMarch 12, 1938.Thatfall,heattendedUrsinusCollege inCollegeville,Pennsylvania,butforonlyonesemester.Salingerattended Columbia Universityeveningwritingclass in 1939. TheteacherwasWhit Burnett,longtimeeditor of StoryMagazine.During the secondsemester of theclass, Burnettsawsomedegree oftalent in theyoungauthor.In theMarch-April 1940issue of Story, BurnettpublishedSalinger'sdebutshort story, avignette ofseveralaimlessyouths,entitled "The YoungFolks."

WorldWar II

>In 1941,SalingerstarteddatingOonaO'Neill,daughter ofEugeneO'Neill,writinglongdailyletters toher.ThisendedwhenOonabegan arelationshipwithCharlieChaplin.Salingerwasdraftedinto theArmy in 1942,wherehesawcombatwith theU.S.12thInfantryRegiment insome of thefiercestfighting of WorldWar II,includingaction onUtahBeach onD-Day and in theBattle of theBulge.During thecampaignfromNormandyintoGermany,hemet andcorrespondedwithErnestHemingway,then awarcorrespondent, inParis.AfterreadingSalinger'swriting,Hemingwayremarked, "Jesus,hehas ahelluvatalent."

>Salingerwasassigned toCounter-Intelligence, inwhichheinterrogatedprisoners ofwar,putting hisforeignlanguageskills touse. Hewasamong thefirstsoldiers toenter aliberatedconcentrationcamp. Hetold hisdaughterlater, "Youneverreallyget thesmell ofburningflesh out ofyournoseentirely,nomatter howlongyoulive."Hisexperiences,perhaps,affectedhimemotionally (>hewashospitalizedfor afewweeksforcombatstressreactionafterGermanywasdefeated), and itislikely thathedrewupon hiswartimeexperiences inseveralstories,suchas ">ForEsmwith Love andSqualor,"whichisnarratedby atraumatizedsoldier. Hecontinued topublishstories inmagazines,suchasCollier's and theSaturday Evening Post,during andafter hiswarexperience.

>After thedefeat ofGermany,hesigned upfor asix-monthperiod of ">de-Nazification"duty inGermany.AmongthoseNazishearrestedwas alow-levelofficial,Sylvia,whomhemarried in 1945 andbroughtback to the States. Themarriagefellapartafter afewmonths andSylviareturned toGermany. Themarriagewasnotfinalizeduntil 1956. (>In 1972, hisdaughterMargaretwaswithherfatherwhenhereceived aletterfromSylvia. Helookedat theenvelope,tore it up, anddiscarded it,unread. Hesaid that thatwas thefirsttimehehadheardfromhersincesheleft,but ">whenhewasfinishedwith aperson,hewasthroughwiththem.")

>From The NewYorker tonovels

>By 1948,with thepublication of acriticallyacclaimedshort storyentitled "APerfectDayforBananafish,"Salingerbegan topublishalmostexclusively in The NewYorker. ">Bananafish"wasone of themostpopularstorieseverpublished in themagazine, andhequicklybecameone of thepublication'sbest-knownauthors.Itwasnot hisfirstexperiencewith themagazine; in 1942,Salingerhadreceived hisfirstacceptancefrom The NewYorkerfor a storyentitled ">SlightRebellion offMadison,"whichfeatured asemi-autobiographicalcharacternamedHoldenCaulfield. The storywasheldfrompublicationuntil 1946because of thewar. ">SlightRebellion"wasrelated toseveralotherstoriesfeaturing theCaulfield family,butperspectiveshiftedfromolderbrotherVince toHolden.

>Salingerhadconfided toseveralpeople thathefeltHoldendeserved anovel, and TheCatcher in theRyewaspublished in 1951.Itwasanimmediate success,althoughearlycriticalreactionsweremixed.WhileneverconfirmedbySalingerhimself, itisbelieved thatseveral of theevents in thenovelaresemi-autobiographical. Anoveldrivenby thenuanced,intricatecharacter ofHolden, theplotisquitesimple. ThebookbecamefamousforSalinger'sextensive andexceptionaleyeforsubtlecomplexity,detail,description,ironichumor, and thedepressing anddesperateatmosphere of New York City. Thenovelwasbanned insomecountries, andsomeU.S.schools,because ofitsbold and (tosome)offensiveuse oflanguage; ">goddam"appears 255times, and ahandful of ">fuck"s (>which thewould-becensorsseldomnoticehewastrying toerasefrom amuseumbathroomstall.),plus afewseamyincidentssuchas theencounterwith aprostitute (>eventhough itwas achasteencounter). Thebookisstillwidelyread,particularly in the United States,where itisconsideredanespeciallyskillfuldepiction ofteenageangst.Itisnotunusual tosee TheCatcher in theRye on a ">requiredreading" listfor American highschoolstudents.As of 2004, thenovelsellsabout 250,000copiesperyear, ">withtotalworldwidesalesover -probablywayover - 10million."

>InJuly 1951, hisfriend and NewYorkereditorWilliam Maxwell inBook of theMonth Club NewsaskedSalingerabout hisliteraryinfluences.Salingersaid, “Awriter,whenhe'sasked todiscuss hiscraft,ought toget up andcall out in aloudvoicejust thenames of thewritersheloves. I loveKafka,Flaubert,Tolstoy,Chekhov,Dostoyevsky,Proust,O'Casey,Rilke,Lorca,Keats,Rimbaud,Burns, E.Bront,JaneAusten,HenryJames,Blake,Coleridge. Iwon'tnameanylivingwriters. Idon'tthinkit'sright."

>In 1953,Salingerpublished acollection ofsevenshortstories in The NewYorker (">Bananafish"amongthem),aswellas two thattheyhadrejected. ThecollectionwaspublishedasNineStories in the United States, andForEsmwith Love andSqualor in the UK (>afterone of themostbelovedstories).Itwasalsoverysuccessful,althoughSalingerhadalreadybegun totightlyregulatepublicity. Hewouldnotallowpublishers toillustrate thedustjacket,so that hisreaderswouldhavenopreconceivednotion of how thecharacterslooked.

>Withdrawalfrom public life

>After thenotoriety of TheCatcher in theRye,Salingergraduallywithdrewintohimself.In 1953,hemovedfrom New York toCornish, NewHampshire.Early in histime inCornishhewasrelativelysociable,particularlywith the highschoolstudents whotreatedhimasone oftheirown.However,afteroneinterviewfor the highschoolnewspaperended up in thecitypaper,Salingerfeltbetrayed.Salingerwithdrewfrom the highschoolersentirely andwasseenlessfrequentlyaround thetown,onlyseeingoneclosefriendregularly,juristLearnedHand.

>InJune 1955,whenhewas 36,hemarriedClaire Douglas, aRadcliffestudent.TheirdaughterMargaretwasborn thatDecember, andtheirson,Matt,wasborn in 1960.Salingerinsisted thatClairedrop out ofschool,onlyfourmonthsshy ofgraduation, andlivewithhim,whichshedid.Certainelements of the story ">Franny",published inJanuary, 1955,arebased onClaire,including thefact thatClairehad thebook TheWay of thePilgrim.Due totheirisolatedlocation andSalinger'sproclivities,theyhardlysawotherpeopleforlongstretches oftime.Margaretreports thathermotherClaireadmitslivingwithSalingerwasnoteasy,due to theisolation and hiscontrollingnature;aswellas thejealousy ofMargaretreplacingher (>Claire) inSalinger'saffection.

The infantMargaretwassickmuch of thetime,butSalingerrefused totakeher to adoctorashehadembracedChristian Science.Inlateryears,Claireconfessed toMargaret thatshe (>Claire)went ">over theedge;"shehadmadeplans tomurder thethirteen-month-oldMargaret andthencommitsuicide.Itwas tohappenduring atrip to New Yorkwithherhusband. ">Itwouldbeshe,Claire,not thefictionalSeymour,who'dgobananas andleavegutsspatteredacross thehotel roomfor thehorrifiedspouse towitness."Instead,Claire,when in thehotel,acted on asuddenimpulse totake thechild andrunaway,butafter afewmonthswaspersuadedbySalinger toreturn toCornish,NH.

>SalingerpublishedFranny andZooey in 1961, andRaiseHigh theRoof-Beam,Carpenters andSeymour:AnIntroduction in 1963.Eachcontained apair ofrelatedshortstories ornovellaswhichhadbeenpublished in The NewYorker

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