Washington Irving: The Father Of American Literature

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Washington Irving (1783 –1859) was born in the year United Stated achieved independence from Britain and he was named after the Father of His Country, George Washington. He is known as the father of American Literature. He “legitimated the writer as writer, someone distinct from other occupations, and he vindicated the artwork as just that, a work of art and not a vehicle for moral or civic instruction” (Gilmore 661-662). He was the American writer who made authorship profitable. "If the American public wish to have literature of their own," he declared, "they must consent to pay for the support of authors" (669). He was “the first American to make a successful vocation of authorship” (661). He became a best-selling author at home and prospered…show more content…
He also played a significant role in developing “such widely diverse literary forms as the sea novel, the novel of manners, political satire and allegory, and the dynastic novel in which over several generations American social practices and principles are subjected to rigorous dramatic analysis” (Gray 49). Cooper felt committed to distinguishing American Language from British English In his works; he used native dialects of America to develop an American literary language as a sign of cultural independence. As the Second War of American Independence ended, the question of nationalism was revitalized. The Spy (1821) proved that America possessed a rich source for creating historical fiction. That novel was “as much about the founding of an American literature as about the establishment of American independence” (Gilmore 679). Before Cooper aesthetic value had always been in Europe; “Cooper performed the patriotic service of showing that authentic works of art could grow in indigenous soil too. His book quickly became a best-seller here and in Europe and inspired an array of native imitators” (681). In the process of establishing American fiction Cooper created mythic figures, the most famous of which is Natty Bumppo, “who offer a focus for debates about the character of American democracy” (Gray…show more content…
He was a nationalist poet who fought in the Revolution and tried to celebrate the new nation in verse. He realized that political independence from Europe is a very shorter process than artistic independence. The former “was accomplished in about seven years, the latter will not be completely effected, perhaps, in as many centuries" (xii). He realized the limitations of his country and believed that to survive, American literature needed to rely upon the European tradition until it gets strong enough to stand on its own feet. The Rising Glory of America tends to reinforce the importance of the mother country and the power of the Old World even while Freneau struggled to deny it (Gray

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