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North American Literature of the 21st Century

I. INTRODUCTION
A. American Literature
 the body of written works produced in the English language in the
United States
 Like other national literatures, American literature was shaped by the
history of the country that produced it.
 For almost a century and a half, America was merely a group of colonies
scattered along the eastern seaboard of the North America.
 If we are to trace the roots of American literature, history will bring us
to Anglo-Saxon literature.

B. Anglo-Saxon Literature
 the body of written works produced using the Old English
 Anglo-Saxon is a language group who speaks Old English, from a
Germanic race.
II. HISTORY
A. Early American Literature
1. Beowulf
 A Germanic epic that details the adventures of its lead character, as he
fearlessly kills a monster that was terrorizing his kingdom.
 one of the longest and most important poems in Old English
 recorded as a written epic by a Christian poet in the early 8th century
B. Early American Authors
1. Caedmon
 the earliest known English poet whose story was told by the Venerable
Bede and who is known to have rewritten biblical stories
 An Anglo-Saxon
WORK/S:
Caedmon’s Hymn
- was composed after he had a dream
2. Edgar Allan Poe
 American author, poet, editor, and literary critic
 one of the earliest short story writers in America
 inventor of the detective fiction genre
WORK/S:
The Cask of Amontillado
- story of a man named Montresor who decides to seek revenge against a man
named Fortunato, who has insulted him. He meets Fortunato at a carnival,
lures him into the catacombs of his home, and buries him alive.
19th CENTURY
Mark Twain and Henry James
 Proponents of realism
 Created characters who speak like real people and sound distinctly
American with accents to native region
20th CENTURY
American novelists started experimenting in style and in subject matter.
The Great Gatsby
 written by F. Scott Fitzgerald
 shows how the dreams and ambitions of the youth may quickly
disappear and ultimately lead to disappointment
III. CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN LITERATURE
NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING BOOKS
In January, 2006, the lists of paperback best-sellers included “fiction”(genre)

 Steamy Romances by Nora Roberts


 A New Thriller by John Grishman
 Murder Mysteries-alongside non-fiction science books by the
anthropologist Jared Diamond
 Popular sociology by The New Yorker magazine writer Malcolm
Gladwell
 Accounts of drug rehabilitation and crimes books
 Groundbreaking in Cold Blood by Truman Capote, a 1965 “non-fiction
novel”
Books by Non-American Authors and Books on International Themes
 The Kite Runner, a searing novel by Afghan-American Khaled Hosseini
 Reading Lolita in Teheran by Azir Nafisi
 Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Topped Christian-Themed Books
 The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (a novel)
 Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice (tale)
Women’s Literature
 Third Wave Feminists
 Bridgit Jone’s Diary by British writer Helen Fielding
 Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell
Phenomenon of Post-Feminism
 The Mommy Myth (2004) by Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels
 Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future (2000) by
Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richard
 The Atlantic, “How Serfdom Saved the Women’s Movement” (2004)
by Caitlin Flanagan
A. Creative Nonfiction
 Memoir – is typically shorter or more limited in scope
 Autobiography – makes some attempt at a comprehensive overview of
the writer’s life.
Writers’ contribution of penetrating observations on such questions in
books about writing

 The Writing Life (1989) by Anne Dillard


 The Stolen Light (1989) by Ved Mehta
 Angela’s Ashes (1996) by Frank McCourt
 Hand to Mouth (1997) by Paul Auster
C. The Short Story: New Directions
 Experimental metaficiton penned by: Donald Barthelme and John
Barth
 Raymond Carver rose above alcoholism and harsh poverty to become
the most influential story writer in United States.
 Collections: Will You Please Be Quiet (1983), Cathedral (1983), and
Where I’m Calling From (1988).
 Carver follows confused working people through dead-end jobs,
alcoholic binges with an understated, minimalist style of writing that
carries tremendous impact.

D. The Short Short Story: Sudden or Flash Fiction


 It is a very brief story, often only one or two pages long. It is sometimes
called “flash fiction” or “sudden fiction” after the 1986 anthology
Sudden Fiction, edited by Robert Shapard and James Thomas.
 In short short stories, there is little space to develop a character. Rather,
the element of plot is central: A crisis occurs, and a sketched-in character
simply has to react. Authors deploy clever narrative or linguistic
patterns; in some cases, the short short resembles a prose poem.

E. Drama
 Contemporary drama mingles realism with fantasy in postmodern
works that fuse the personal and the political.

Tony Kushner
 Has won acclaim for his proze-winning Angels in America plays,
which vividly render the AIDS epidemic and the psychic cost of
closeted homosexuality in the 1980s and 1990s.
Beth Henley
 Known for her potraits of southern women.
 Henley gained national recognition for her Crimes of the Heart (1978),
which was made into a film in 1986, a warm play about three eccentric
sisters whose affection helps them survive disappointment and despair.
Wendy Wasserstein
 Wrote early comedies including When Dinah Shore Ruled the Earth
(1975), a parody of beauty contests.
 She is best known for The Heidi Chronicles (1988), about a successful
woman professor who confesses to deep unhappiness and adopts a
baby.
IV. FEATURED STORY
- Written by the American author Suzanne Collins
- A science fiction dystopian adventure trilogy of novels
Overview
Every year, in the ruins of what was once North America, the Capitol of
the nation of Panem forces, each of its 12 districts were to send a teenage boy
and girl to compete in The Hunger Games: a nationally televised event in which
‘tributes’ fight each other within an arena, until one survivor remains. When
Primrose Everdeen is ‘reaped’, her older sister Katniss Everdeen volunteers in
her place to enter the games and is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts when
she’s pitted against highly-trained tributes.

Prepared by:
Abby Hannah Daplas
Angelika Dela Cruz
Janine Forbes
Roannah Louella Mendoza
BSEd – ENGLISH II