The Scarlet Letter

The Influence of British Literature on the Birth of American Artistry

The idea that our American literary culture has been influenced since its inception by Britain's is not a new one; after all, the two countries are rather like two branches of the same tree. Even though the mindsets are of distinctly different beliefs, they still share centuries of history that is not easy to overwrite. At the same time, however, America has been pushing to create its own breed of auteur distinct from their overseas contemporaries.

The first real push to create an 'American flavor' of literature began after the Revolutionary War. Demand for something to show off the nation's independence reached a fervor, and James Fenimore Cooper answered the call. Furthering the cause was the poet William Cullet Bryant, who romanticized the American wilderness much like Wordsworth and Coleridge had done of their own countryside. With the addition of Hawthorne's international success with The Scarlet Letter and Herman Melville's popularity for his nautical narratives, America could at last claim to have some sort of presence in the literary market, no matter how feeble the quantitative representation was. But it would still be an uphill battle for quite some time.

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