Article

The Place of Natural History in Early American Literature

Kevin J. Hayes

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/9780195187274.013.0027

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 The Place of Natural History in Early American Literature

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Literature
  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)
  • Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

This article traces the place of natural history in early American literature. Numerous works of early American literature contain significant elements of natural history: promotion literature, captivity narratives, and travel writings. In fact, natural history occupies a central place in American literature. The American land helped to define the style and content of American literature as soon as the first English colonists arrived and continued to do so through the colonial period. In addition to Notes on the State of Virginia, there is another late work of early American literature in which natural history plays an integral part, William Bartram's Travels (1791). Notes on the State of Virginia by Thomas Jefferson is a seminal text in this genre. William Bartrams' work Travels is an important text in this genre. Both Jefferson's Notes and Bartram's Travels show that natural history is central to early American literature, a literature that celebrates the land in which it was written.

Keywords: natural history; promotion literature; travel writings; American literature; captivity narratives

Article.  9623 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800) ; Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.