History of American Literature: Literature in The Southern and Middle Colonies

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 History of American Literature: Literature in The Southern and Middle Colonies

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مُساهمةموضوع: History of American Literature: Literature in The Southern and Middle Colonies   2011-08-09, 19:33

Pre-revolutionary southern literature was aristocratic
and secular, reflecting the dominant social and economic systems of the
southern plantations. Early English immigrants were drawn to the
southern colonies because of economic opportunity rather than religious
freedom.
Although many southerners were poor farmers or tradespeople
living not much better than slaves, the southern literate upper class
was shaped by the classical, Old World ideal of a noble landed gentry
made possible by slavery. The institution released wealthy southern
whites from manual labor, afforded them leisure, and made the dream of
an aristocratic life in the American wilderness possible. The Puritan
emphasis on hard work, education and earnestness was rare -- instead we
hear of such pleasures as horseback riding and hunting. The church was
the focus of a genteel social life, not a forum for minute examinations
of conscience.

William Byrd (1674-1744)
Southern culture naturally revolved around the ideal of the gentleman. A
Renaissance man equally good at managing a farm and reading classical
Greek, he had the power of a feudal lord.
William Byrd describes the
gracious way of life at his plantation, Westover, in his famous letter
of 1726 to his English friend Charles Boyle, Earl of Orrery:
Besides
the advantages of pure air, we abound in all kinds of provisions
without expense (I mean we who have plantations). I have a large family
of my own, and my doors are open to everybody, yet I have no bills to
pay, and half- a-crown will rest undisturbed in my pockets for many
moons altogether.
Like one of the patriarchs, I have my flock and
herds, my bondmen and bondwomen, and every sort of trade amongst my own
servants, so that I live in a kind of independence on everyone but
Providence...
William Byrd epitomizes the spirit of the southern
colonial gentry. The heir to 1,040 hectares, which he enlarged to 7,160
hectares, he was a merchant, trader, and planter. His library of 3,600
books was the largest in the South. He was born with a lively
intelligence that his father augmented by sending him to excellent
schools in England and Holland. He visited the French Court, became a
Fellow of the Royal Society, and was friendly with some of the leading
English writers of his day, particularly William Wycherley and William
Congreve. His London diaries are the opposite of those of the New
England Puritans, full of fancy dinners, glittering parties, and
womanizing, with little introspective soul-searching.
Byrd is best
known today for his lively History of the Dividing Line, a diary of a
1729 trip of some weeks and 960 kilometers into the interior to survey
the line dividing the neighboring colonies of Virginia and North
Carolina. The quick impressions that vast wilderness, Indians,
half-savage whites, wild beasts, and every sort of difficulty made on
this civilized gentleman form a uniquely American and very southern
book. He ridicules the first Virginia colonists, "about a hundred men,
most of them reprobates of good families," and jokes that at Jamestown,
"like true Englishmen, they built a church that cost no more than fifty
pounds, and a tavern that cost five hundred." Byrd's writings are fine
examples of the keen interest Southerners took in the material world:
the land, Indians, plants, animals, and settlers.

Robert Beverley (c. 1673-1722)
Robert Beverley, another wealthy planter and author of The History and
Present State of Virginia (1705, 1722) records the history of the
Virginia colony in a humane and vigorous style. Like Byrd, he admired
the Indians and remarked on the strange European superstitions about
Virginia -- for example, the belief "that the country turns all people
black who go there." He noted the great hospitality of southerners, a
trait maintained today.
Humorous satire -- a literary work in which
human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit --
appears frequently in the colonial South. A group of irritated settlers
lampooned Georgia's philanthropic founder, General James Oglethorpe, in a
tract entitled A True and Historical Narrative of the Colony of Georgia
(1741). They pretended to praise him for keeping them so poor and
overworked that they had to develop "the valuable virtue of humility"
and shun "the anxieties of any further ambition."
The rowdy,
satirical poem "The Sotweed Factor" satirizes the colony of Maryland,
where the author, an Englishman named Ebenezer Cook, had unsuccessfully
tried his hand as a tobacco merchant. Cook exposed the crude ways of the
colony with high-spirited humor, and accused the colonists of cheating
him. The poem concludes with an exaggerated curse: "May wrath divine
then lay those regions waste / Where no man's faithful nor a woman
chaste."
In general, the colonial South may fairly be linked with a
light, worldly, informative, and realistic literary tradition. Imitative
of English literary fashions, the southerners attained imaginative
heights in witty, precise observations of distinctive New World
conditions.

Olaudah Equiano (Gustavus Vassa) (c. 1745-c. 1797) Important
black writers like Olaudah Equiano and Jupiter Hammon emerged during
the colonial period. Equiano, an Ibo from Niger (West Africa), was the
first black in America to write an autobiography, The Interesting
Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African
(1789). In the book - - an early example of the slave narrative genre
-- Equiano gives an account of his native land and the horrors and
cruelties of his captivity and enslavement in the West Indies. Equiano,
who converted to Christianity, movingly laments his cruel "un-Christian"
treatment by Christians -- a sentiment many African-Americans would
voice in centuries to come.

Jupiter Hammon (c. 1720-c. 1800)
The black American poet Jupiter Hammon, a slave on Long Island, New
York, is remembered for his religious poems as well as for An Address to
the Negroes of the State of New York (1787), in which he advocated
freeing children of slaves instead of condemning them to hereditary
slavery. His poem "An Evening Thought" was the first poem published by a
black male in America.
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توفيق بشار



نوع المتصفح موزيلا

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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: History of American Literature: Literature in The Southern and Middle Colonies   2011-08-12, 16:45

thank you to this topic distinctive and valuable programs make the most wonderful, but I hope that you do not stop there
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همسة براءة



نوع المتصفح موزيلا

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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: History of American Literature: Literature in The Southern and Middle Colonies   2011-08-13, 07:46

thanku 4 ur sweety word
blassed
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معاينة صفحة البيانات الشخصي للعضو
Roshan



نوع المتصفح موزيلا

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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: History of American Literature: Literature in The Southern and Middle Colonies   2011-08-14, 19:54

بارك الله فيييييييييييييك
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History of American Literature: Literature in The Southern and Middle Colonies
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