Background for Topic 39: The Gilded Age. (1865 - 1912).
T h e G i l d e d A g e ( 1 8 6 5 – 1 9 1 2 )
- 1865, Lee’s surrender – 1912, A. Lincoln’s death
- boom times of vulgarity, specious glitter, and superficial glow
H u m a n i t a r i a n i s m :
- A. Lincoln’s ‘Emancipation Proclamation’ (1865): abolition of slavery >> illegal slavery
- an amendment to the Constitution: feminism and suffrage movement
- a new view of minority ethnicities
I n d u s t r i a l i s a t i o n :
- spread of technology: movement of people, recess of wilderness
- a gradual closing of the frontier [= the edge of the Am. civilisation]: pushed westwards, in the 19th c. almost everything colonised
- urbanisation: the slaves leaving the South and the immigrants coming to the cities
- social problems attendant on the urban areas growth: overpopulation, unemployment, and poor housing conditions
- most people extremely poor: a rise of slums, people riots, and labour unrest
- few people very wealthy: ‘old money’ x ‘new money’ tycoons (Carnegie, Rockefeller, & oth.)
S e c u l a r i s m :
< C. Darwin > a turn away from the (mostly Christian) faith
- a breakdown of a traditional family: a disintegrating family structure resulting from people’s leaving their families and countries to try to become successful (W. Faulkner)
- an increasingly chaotic life
L i t e r a t u r e :
- rise of ethnic writers in late 19th and early 20th c.: Jewish Am. writers and immigrant writers
- prominence of new movements: Realism and Naturalism
- introd. of new language:
(a) colloquial speech: M. Twain, W. D. Howells, and H. James
(b) regional speech patterns: S. O. Jewett and K. Chopin
T a l l T a l e
- a frontier anecdote of exaggeration [= hyperbole] or violent understatement
- achieves the effects of the grotesque, romantic, or humorous
- presents the improbable with solemn faced lying, wild imagination, and rough humour
- orig. a part of the oral tradition, told in a vernacular idiom
- Artemus Ward and G. W. Harris >> B. Hart and M. Twain – T.’s “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”
H o a x
- an attempt to trick a large audience into believing sth false to be real
- often intended as a practical joke, to cause embarrassment, or to provoke social change by making people aware of sth
- not made for financial or material gain
Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.
Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Cunliffe, Marcus. The Literature of the United States. London: Penguin, 1991.
Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1994.
McQuade, Donald, gen.ed. The Harper American Literature. New York: Harper & Collins, 1996.
Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.
Vančura, Zdeněk, ed. Slovník spisovatelů: Spojené státy americké. Praha: Odeon, 1979.
Peprník, Michal. Semináře: Americká literatura 1. ZS 2004/05.