Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

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.

Other Sources

Peprník, Michal. Semináře: Americká literatura 1. ZS 2004/05.


© 2008-2015 Všechna práva vyhrazena.