Classic American literature.
The classic American literature brought among the members of the important literatures of the world. The first author is Washington Irving, essayist, story writer, historian and biographer. He wrote a large biography of George Washington, history of New York. One of his well-known book is The Sketch Book.
James Fenimore Cooper was brought up in a pioneer settlement, with plenty of time to be with American Indians and talk to them. He became a widely read author of novels of heroism and adventure – mainly the Leather-Stockings Tale – The Deerslayer, The Last of the Mohicans, The Pathfinder, The Pioneers and The Prairie. The chief character of the series is Natty Bumppo ( = Deerslayer, Hawkeye, Pathfinder, Leather-Stocking. In him Cooper idealised the typical frontiersman of the early pioneering epoch.
Well-known author is Edgar Allan Poe, he was born in Boston, spent some time in England, and then he returned to America and studied at the University of Virginia for a year. He tried to write poetry but wasn’t successful until 1845 when he published The Raven. He was a journalist and edited several American magazines in which he published his literary criticism and some short stories. He invented a new literary form, the detective story. He wrote The Gold Bug, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, and The Purloined Letter. The tales of terror, a hangover from Goticism, are represented by The Descendent into the Maelstrom, describing the fisherman who escapes the whirlpool, The Fall of the House of Usher, and The Pit and the Pendulum. His The Masque of the Red Death is grotesque and terrible.
Mark Twain is one of the greatest US authors. He comes from the South and he worked as a steamboat on the Mississippi river. „Mark twain“ is a river-man’s phrase meaning two-pathorms-deep. His real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He became famous as humorist and story-taller. His novel Gilded Age gave the name to the whole period after the Civil War. This book is bitter satire in one period of the get-rich-quick years in the second half of the 19th century. His best books are based on his own experience along Mississippi – The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. These books describe the adventures of boyhood. Tom is portrait of a frontier boy. Huck is a free boy. Twains other works are The Celebrated Jumping Frog, The Innocents Abroad, The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Life on the Mississippi.
Jack London became very popular due to describing adventurous life at the time of the gold rush, it is in his work The Call of the Wild. Martin Eden is a novel about a man who wants to be successful, archive education and get himself to higher and better society. At the end he commit a suicide. This novel is autobiographical. His other works are The White Fang, The Sea-Wolf, The Son of the Wolf.
Herman Melville was the greatest symbolist, he sailed on seas for many years. His experience at sea were the basis for almost all his novel. The most famous novel is Moby-Dick, the symbolic story of captain Ahab, a free man. Striving against his own fate, for which Moby-Dick – the white whale – means evil. The book culminates in the tension of the three-day hunt of Moby-Dick which ends disaster – Captain Ahab, who wants to fight Moby-Dick alone, is pined to whale’s body by his own harpoon.