Article

The Beginnings of the American Novel

Melissa J. Homestead

in The Oxford Handbook of Early American Literature

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780195187274
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195187274.013.0024

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 The Beginnings of the American Novel

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)
  • Literary Studies (Fiction, Novelists, and Prose Writers)

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The beginnings of the American novel form the basis of this article. It traces the birth of novel as a genre in the American heartland. Edward Kimber recorded his experiences of New England in his work titled Itinerant Observations in America. This phenomenal work was to influence Susana Rowson. More than two decades after Edward Kimber crossed the Atlantic from England to the colonies, young Susanna made her first transatlantic crossing in 1766, four years after her birth in Portsmouth, England, to join her father in America. Rowson, like Kimber, made American people and places the subject of a novel first published in London, Charlotte, A Tale of Truth (1791). Her novel features a central character who crosses the Atlantic at a young age under duress. A comparative study between the English novel and its American counterpart winds up this article.

Keywords: American novel; Edward Kimber; English novel; genre; comparative study

Article.  9947 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800) ; Literary Studies (Fiction, Novelists, and Prose Writers)

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