Washington Irving Questions and Answers

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The early American fiction writers Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe contributed significantly to the American literary canon with their unique styles of writing and their varied literary themes and forms.  Analyze and research their literary works to support your thesis on the writing styles, themes, and forms of Irving, Hawthorne, and Poe.  As you explore pertinent contexts, be careful to use appropriate literary, political, and cultural terminology in your writing. 

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One connection I see between Irving, Hawthorne, and Poe is a tradition of gothic themes and style in early American literature. It makes sense: the American colonists came to a "new" land, facing dangers they could not fully understand. They were in a strange place, with a physical landscape to learn and negotiate, but they also had to confront the native people of the land. It must have been frightening for both the colonists and the natives, but we are talking about European American writers. As a result, we see only their perspectives in the works of Irving, Hawthorne, and Poe. 

Gothic literature was a popular phenomenon in Europe in the 1700s and 1800s, though there are still works of literature published today that could be considered "gothic." Literature classified in the gothic genre is characterized by a fascination with the supernatural, the mysterious, the sublime, and the terrifying. This is interesting in the early American context because American gothic literature...

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