Early American Literature Timeline – Who should be in the canon?

Recognize the author? Should we?

Watercolor miniature portrait of Susanna Rowson (1762-1824) User:Epousesquecido (also w:User:Epousesquecido) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Setting ourselves the challenge of making a timeline of canonical early American authors born before 1900, who should be included?

Here is the first attempt:


Timeline of American authors born before 1900 and notable works

Timeline of American authors born before 1900 and notable works

Download this in PDF: American Literature Timeline

Included authors:

  • Susanna Rowson (1762-1824)
  • Charles Brockden Brown (1771-1810)
  • Washington Irving (1783-1859)
  • James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)
  • Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896)
  • Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
  • Herman Melville (1819-1891)
  • Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
  • Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
  • Mark Twain (1835-1910)
  • Henry James (1843-1916)
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)
  • Stephen Crane (1871-1900)
  • Gertrude Stein (1874-1946)
  • Robert Frost (1874-1963)
  • T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)
  • William Faulkner (1897-1962)
  • Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

Illustration from that whaling book. By A. Burnham Shute (Moby-Dick edition – C. H. Simonds Co) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Robert Responds…

Odyssey editor Robert O’Connor responds as follows:

Susanna Rowson, Charles Perkins Gilman and Charles Brockden Brown are a bit obscure.

Phyllis Wheatley should definitely go in there, along with Roger Williams, Frederick Douglass, Julia Ward Howe, Louisia May Alcott, Willa Cather, Jack London, Ezra Pound, Carl Sandburg, Frank Norris and John Steinbeck.

Lots to work on for version 2 of the timeline!

Please add your ideas using the comments box!


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