The Penguin History of Literature: v. 8: American Literature to 1900 Volume editor Marcus Cunliffe
This volume takes as a pragmatic starting-point the writings of the first European explorers in America such as Richard Hakluyt, and the first colonial settlers, such as Anne Bradstreet. By the mid-19th century, the evolution of publishing and communications, and the advent of "Atlantic Monthly" and "Harper's" had coincided with a flowering of talent - Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman - together with a host of minor figures. The essays in this volume explore three fertile centuries of writers and writing that drew on the Old World and the New, in shaping a distinctive native literature. "The Penguin History of Literature" is a critical survey of English and American literature in ten volumes. Each volume is a collection of original essays specially commissioned for the series, which, taken together, cover 14 centuries of literature from the Anglo-Saxons to the present.