By Adam Augustyn
Deviating from the romanticism of past works, American literature that emerged after the mid-19th century followed a unique realism and a regularly severe view of yankee society. With penetrating analyses, writers similar to Henry Adams and Upton Sinclair uncovered basic flaws in executive and undefined, whereas Mark Twain and H.L. Mencken incisively satirized social ills equivalent to prejudice and intolerance. Readers will come across those and different nice minds whose fluid pens challenged the established order.
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Extra info for American Literature from the 1850s to 1945 (The Britannica Guide to World Literature)
That he did so in the voice and consciousness of a 14-year-old boy, a character who shows the signs of having been trained to accept the cruel and indifferent attitudes of a slaveholding culture, gives the novel its affecting power, which can elicit genuine sympathies in readers but can also generate controversy and debate and can affront those who find the book patronizing toward African Americans, if not perhaps much worse. If Huckleberry Finn is a great book of American literature, its greatness may lie in its continuing ability to touch a nerve in the American national consciousness that is still raw and troubling.
Adams wrote numerous essays exposing political corruption and warning against the growing power of economic monopolies, particularly railroads. These articles were published in Chapters of Erie and Other Essays (1871). The mediocrity of the nation’s “statesmen” constantly irritated him. Adams liked to repeat Pres. Ulysses S. Grant’s remark that Venice would be a fine city if it were drained. Adams continued his reformist activities as editor of the North American Review (1870–76). Moreover, he participated in the Liberal Republican movement.
Perhaps the assemblage was meant to remain private, like her earlier herbarium. Or perhaps, as implied in a poem of 1863, “This is my letter to the world,” she anticipated posthumous publication. Because she left no instructions regarding the disposition of her manuscript-books, her ultimate purpose in assembling them can only be conjectured. Dickinson sent more poems to her sister-in-law, Susan Gilbert Dickinson, a cultivated reader, than to any other known correspondent. Repeatedly professing eternal allegiance, these poems often imply that there was a certain distance between the two—that the sister-in-law was felt to be haughty, remote, or even incomprehensible.