American Literature

A WashingtonDCMallAerialNavyPhoto, American LiteratureWhile early American literature most properly begins with the myths and stories of the Native American populations, for purposes of conformity with general curricular studies we define “American Literature” as that which was composed by individuals living in the United States or in the colonies/territories that preceded the founding of that independent nation.

The study of American literature is generally divided into specific time periods or eras that can be represented by particular themes, writing styles or purposes. Most of these eras actually overlap or coexist with other time periods, however, so exact dating is not feasible and the generalized dates offered here should not be taken too literally.

American Literature Libraries

Our categorization of American Literature is available as follows:

A1 Colonial Era
A2 Revolutionary Era
A3 Romantic Era
A4 Transcendentalists
A5R Realists
A5N Naturalists
A6 Modernists
A6H Harlem Renaissance
A7 Postmodernists
A8 Contemporary

Click on any of the above categories to open the corresponding page of description and list of authors available in our database.

Click on the red book icon Book Iconto the left of any name in a list to access the authors’ bibliographies and our collections of direct links to more than 140,000 individual literary titles hosted by a wide variety of professional and academic Web sites.

(Note: Native American Folktales can be accessed under World Literature: Mythology, Fables and Folktales)

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