Creating an American Culture, 1775-1800: A Brief History by Eve Kornfeld

By Eve Kornfeld

Amid the conflict for American independence and the fight to invent a federal executive, American progressive leaders and intellectuals sought additionally to create an American tradition that might unify a territory of tremendous nearby, ethnic, and spiritual range. In a worldly, but obtainable, interpretive narrative, Eve Kornfeld examines the efforts of Noah Webster, Benjamin Rush, George Washington, Judith Sargent Murray, David Ramsay, Mercy Otis Warren, and others to invent a countrywide literature, narrate a narrative of nationhood, and teach a various humans for virtuous republican citizenship. one of the 31 records following the narrative are early makes an attempt at American epic poetry, excerpts from the 1st narrative histories of the us, and commentaries at the position of ladies and Indians in nationwide lifestyles. Headnotes to the records, reproductions of early work and pics, a chronology, questions for attention, a bibliography, and an index also are integrated.

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Customs, habits, and language, as well as government should be national. America should have her own distinct from all the world,” he urges. , 176. , 288, 124. 34 Webster’s orthographic scheme itself consisted of three principal alterations. First, he would omit silent characters, leaving out such letters as the a in bread as useless and confusing. Second, he would substitute letters with a definite sound for those with a vague or indeterminate pronunciation, so that ea or ie would become ee. Third, he would make a small alteration in a character to distinguish its different sounds, putting a stroke across th or a dot over a to signify a change in pronunciation.

It holds a mean between the harshness of the German, and the feebleness of the French. . 29 Yet the English language was not secure in its position of purity and superiority. Due to the imperfection of man, a language cannot improve forever. ” The golden age of the English language in England lay in the past, according to Webster, beginning with the reign of Queen Elizabeth and ending (significantly) with that of George II. ”30 Such was not the case. ” This was no accidental development; the English people must take full responsibility.

The vision that traditionally closes an epic and consoles the hero “by unfolding to him the importance of his discoveries, in their extensive influence upon the interest and happiness of mankind, in the progress of society” expands to take over the poem completely. , 255, 168. Joel Barlow, The Vision of Columbus; A Poem in Nine Books (Hartford, 1787), “Introduction,” vii, xxi. , xiv, xx. 15 16 INVENTING AN AMERICAN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE 17 praise and epic language are supplemented by the ample use of American place names.

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