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Famous american essay writers: from early days to contemporary essayists

Brightest representatives of American essayists from the different historical periods:

Early American and Colonial Period: to 1776
Democratic Origins and Revolutionary Writers: 1776-1820
Romantic Period : 1820–1860
The Rise of Realism: 1860-1914
Modernism and Experimentation: 1914-1945
American Essay Writers of Postwar Period
Contemporary American Essayists

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Famous american essay writers: from early days to contemporary essayists

  1. 1. Famous American Essay Writers: from Early Days to Contemporary Essayists amous-american-essay-writers/ I write essays to clear my mind. - Taiye Selasi Certainly, Ms. Selasi did not speak about academic essay writer’s block in particular, but essay writers block in general. Have you ever thought how essay writers could inf luence other people, and how important they could be f or events’ coverage in history? Thanks to these people we have a chance to learn interesting f acts and understand the world around us better, and thanks to their works we perf ectly know what sources to use as ref erences when we write our academic papers. A writer’s prof ession is among the most ancient ones. Great essay writers have been working since the early days of American history, and we can be proud of this f act f or sure. Each period of our history has its own f amous essay writers, and their works are a great example of what a power words have and how beautif ul our speech can be when we express our thoughts consistently and concisely. Let’s take a look at the brightest representatives of American essayists f rom the dif f erent historical periods and check their most f amous essays to understand their originality and
  2. 2. historical periods and check their most f amous essays to understand their originality and importance better. Early American and Colonial Period: to 1776 A revolutionary spirit was in the air then. So, it is not surprising that this theme is perf ectly displayed in all works of f amous essay authors of that time. They wrote about laws they considered unjust, they described slavery and were against of it, they criticized authorities and their policy, they disagreed with aristocrats, and they warned what the circumstances of such a situation could be. It was the period of colonial and revolutionary literature, and the greatest representatives of American essayists there were: Francis Bacon (1561-1626) and his work Of Youth and Age, Of Truth, Of Studies, Of Revenge, Of Parents and Children, Of Marriage and Single Life, Of Discourse Samuel Sewall (1652 – 1730) and his work The Selling of Joseph (1700) John Woolman (1720-1772) and his two essays Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes (1754 and 1762) Democratic Origins and Revolutionary Writers: 1776-1820 The triumph of American independence inf luenced the moods and literature of those times. It was a period of early national literature, when essays by f amous authors described antislavery, democratic sensibility, American exceptionalism, support of the Constitution, American generations, and relations between England and America. Moreover, this is the time when essay writers pay publishers to see their works live. Writers perf ectly know what hooks to use f or their essays, and they have no doubts as f or their works’ topicality, inf ormational content, utility, and uniqueness. The best and well-known essayists of that period are: Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) and his works Advice on the Choice of a Mistress, The Art of Procuring Pleasant Dreams, The Temple of Learning, The Whistle Thomas Paine (1737-1809) and his two works: Common Sense (1776), The American Crisis (1783) Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) and his The Declaration of Independence Washington Irving (1783-1859) and his The Mutability of Literature (1820) Romantic Period : 1820–1860 This very period is called the American Renaissance, as it was inspired by the Romantic movement originated in Germany but spread to other European countries, such as England and France. The writing representatives here were both poets and essayists, as well as f iction authors, and their ideas centered around spirit, organic growth, inspiration, and the importance of art f or society in general and individual in particular. The major theme f or every essayist of romantic age was self -development. A man should express himself and f ind ways f or self -awareness and self -expression. The development of society is impossible to imagine without arts. Self and nature are one. Every essayist of romantic period f ound himself obligatory to describe similar moods in his works. The names of f amous essayists of that period are well-known today: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882): Gifts, Self-Reliance, The Poet
  3. 3. Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894): The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table Margaret Fuller (1810-1850): Papers on Literature and Art Joseph Dennie (1768-1812): Jack and Gill: A Mock Criticism Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906): On Women’s Right to Vote Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849): The Philosophy of Furniture Frederick Douglass (1818-1895): The Destiny of Colored Americans The Rise of Realism: 1860-1914 As f ar as you understand, all those romantic moods could not last f orever. 1860 was a year when realism had come back home and started to f lourish in f ull. Famous essay writers of those times were inspired by the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865), and the period of innocent optimism gave its way to a period of total exhaustion. This is a period of America’s transf ormation into a huge and strong industrial nation. All these themes (a war, a person’s and nation’s strength, industrialization, urbanization, and alienation) f ind their output in many books, articles, and essays. Every f amous essayist quotes were known by heart and cited, as they perf ectly knew how to write an essay that would really work. The greatest works of that time were: Mark Twain (1835-1910): Advice to Youth, The Danger of Lying in Bed, On the Decay of the Art of Lying W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963): Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888): Death of a Soldier (1863) Henry Adams (1838-1918): A Law of Acceleration (1907) A. Bronson Alcott (1799-1888): “Exercise” essay collection Table-Talk (1877) Mary Austin (1868-1934): The Land of Little Rain (1903) Modernism and Experimentation: 1914-1945 Gertrude Stein, a well-known literary portraitist, has called young people of that time “the lost generation”; and we all know and remember writers of that time on this def inition. This period between two world wars had been quite traumatic f or American youths, as they were disillusioned with wars, did not like aristocrats, wanted to achieve something special in their lives… Such moods f ound the output in f iction works and essays of that time. Writers and essayists were inf luenced by the Depression as well. They experimented with their writing f orms, trying to express their points of view in quite unusual but still catchy and meaningf ul ways. The names of notional authors and essayists of this time are known by everyone today, and their works can be a great example f or those people who want to become successf ul writers: Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961): The Snows of Kilimanjaro William Faulkner (1897-1962): The Sound and the Fury F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940): What I Think and Feel at 25 George Ade (1866-1944): Luxuries 1922 American Essay Writers of Postwar Period Essay writers of 1945-1990 were very ref lexive. They observed everything that happened around
  4. 4. them, described it and commented on it. Essays of that time have a really big value f or us, as they help understand the nature, moods and development of Americans in the postwar period. As oral genres become more popular and inf luential now, essayists use speeches, movies, songs to understand situation and people’s moods better and do their best to express them in writings. The literature of that time was extremely multif aceted, as it was inf luenced by Latin American realism and European existentialism. Such strong personalities as Nelson Mandela with his writings also gave American essay writers f ood f or their works: Norman Mailer (1923-2007): The White Negro John McPhee (1931-present): The Search for Marvin Gardens Joan Didion (1934-present): The White Album Edward Hoagland (1932-present): Heaven and Nature More names of the most f amous essays’ authors of that time can be f ound here. Contemporary American Essayists Modern essayists are brave enough to challenge old ideas and adapt them to suit today’s quickly changing world. The f act Americans are one of the most diverse nations inf luences the writing moods much. Such themes as religion, f eminism and post-f eminism, various social issues, etc. get their new lif e now. The Internet gives a way to a short story’s development. This genre becomes more and more popular: people do not want (and do not have) to spend much time on reading and analyzing long manuscripts, and most of them pref er quick reading online. Such a tendency helped many novice writers declare themselves by simple sharing of their short stories with online audience. The best representatives of modern essayists are (all they can be f ound in the list of top 10 contemporary essayists to check): Marilynne Robinson: When I Was a Child I Read Books John Jeremiah Sullivan: Pulphead Stephen King: Great Hookers I Have Known Sarah Vowell: The Partly Cloudy Patriot David Shields: Reality Hunger As we can see, the term “essay writing” does not come to college application essay writer’s block only. The best essay writers of all time try to share their thoughts and views f or us, readers, to learn the world around us better. Taking a look throughout American history, each of us can understand the importance of these people’s work and their inf luence on general moods in society. Keep reading and examining American essay writers, and who knows… Maybe you will have a chance to join them and become an inf luential and popular essayist one day. image source: spadea-002,0, By Lesley Vos, a staf f blogger and essay proof reader, who is a big f an of reading as well. You are welcome to join her on Facebook or Google+.