Otázka: American literature
American literature hasn’t so long history as for example the British literature. But of course it is also full of excellent writers and poets.
THE PROSE AND THE POETRY OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
James Fenimore Cooper described American wilderness and wrote Indian novels of adventure.
- The Last of the Mohicans
Edgar Allan Poe – a poet and short writer, critical essayist, the founder of both science-fiction and the detective story. His best poem is The Raven– on a stormy night a tired student who has lost his love asks if he will ever meet her again in some other world. His doubts are underlined by the raven’s repetition of “Nevermore”.
He wrote also short stories such as The Black Cat, The Pit and the Pendulum
Herman Melville had a tragic view of the life – he was a pessimist. He divided the world into two sides – good and evil. His master piece Moby Dick is about a great white whale and a Captain Ahab who wanted to kill the whale so he attacked the whale but his ship was destroyed and he died.
Mark Twain – famous humorist; His real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens.
His best books are based on his own experience: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- These books describe the adventures of boyhood.
THE PROSE AND THE POETRY OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
In this period we can find a group of authors called “Lost Generation”. These authors wrote about World War.
The members of this group were for example Ernest Hemingway, Francis Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck…
Ernest Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1954 for his famous book The Old Man and the Sea, which is about human strength for fighting both external natural things and bad sides of his character. (“A man can be destroyed but not defeated.”)
A Farewell to Arms where he described love story during the WWI. It is about a young nurse and a young soldier who is wounded.
Francis Scott Fitzgerald wrote many stories about wealthy people. The Great Gatsby is his best novel.
It is about a very rich man who earns all his money by smuggling. He is doing this because he wants to be on the same level as Daisy, his former lover who had always been rich.
John Steinbeck tried to uncover the reasons of social injustice. His book Of Mice and Men is about the adventures
of two men, George and Lennie. They were migrant workers who had to search for work during the Great
Depression. It talks of the friendship between the two men. In the end, George had to protect Lennie from the mob
who were looking for Lennie intending to kill him. To spare Lennie from a painful death from the angry mob,
George shot him. According this book was made a homonymous film with John Malkovich.
William Styron wrote excellent novel Sophie’s Choice which deals with problems of Nazis concentration camps and
conditions of human life in peace influenced by a bitter war experience.
Famous group 20th century of poets and artists called “Beat Group” . They practised new ways of free life, behaviour and new use of language. (Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Burroughs, Kerouac)
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