Literature - Research Article from Americans at War

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 7 pages of information about Literature.
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Antebellum Literature

Few could have anticipated that the war would completely reconfigure the American literary scene. The antebellum literary tradition saw a general flourishing of fiction as well as the formalization of certain expectations of war literature, such as patriotic poems and songs, during the Mexican-American War of 1846–1848. But even as American literature thrived in the first decades of the nineteenth century, most writers remained silent about slavery, with the exception of a number of Southern writers during the 1820s and 1830s who produced what were called plantation novels, essentially defenses of the institution of slavery.

During the 1850s the abolitionist movement and legal landmarks like the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act and the Dred Scott decision dominated the political scene. More writers began overtly criticizing slavery. In his tale "Benito Cereno" and poems like "Misgivings," Melville revealed his conviction that the natural rights enshrined in the...

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This section contains 1,975 words
(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Literature Encyclopedia Article
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Americans at War
Literature from Americans at War. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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