Chapter 1. The Emergence of the Literatures of the United States

  1. Paul Lauter president
  1. Emory Elliott BA, PhD professor director chair fellow

Published Online: 16 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch1

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

How to Cite

Elliott, E. (2010) The Emergence of the Literatures of the United States, in A Companion to American Literature and Culture (ed P. Lauter), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch1

Editor Information

  1. Trinity College (Hartford), UK

Author Information

  1. University of California, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAR 2010
  2. Published Print: 26 MAR 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780631208921

Online ISBN: 9781444320626



  • emergence of literatures of the United States - multicultural origins;
  • Edinburgh Review, Scottish critic, Sydney Smith's - Who reads an American book? Or goes to an American play?;
  • critics of American literature and arts - sharing Smith's bias;
  • producing respectable art and writing in spite of impediments;
  • dramatic changes in American literature - in 1960s beginning with Ralph Waldo Emerson in early nineteenth century;
  • critics and researchers, at home and abroad -reexamining archives of American cultural production;
  • early myths and narratives of Native Americans - writings of early explorers and colonists of sixteenth and seventeenth centuries;
  • presence of Native American literature, presenting greatest challenge for readers;
  • New Spain and New France - literature of conquest and survival;
  • literary production in English settlements, the Southern and Middle colonies


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Multicultural Origins

  • New Spain and New France: A Literature of Conquest and Survival

  • Literary Production in the English Settlements: The Southern and Middle Colonies

  • Literature in Early New England

  • Enlightenment, Revolution, and the First Professional Writers

  • A Nation and a National Literature Matures

  • References and Further Reading