Difference Between English Literature and American Literature

English Literature vs American Literature
 

As English literature and American literature plays an important role where the term literature is concerned, identifying the difference between English literature and American literature is essential for literature students. As you may already know, literature encompasses a wide variety of written works, especially those with eternal artistic value and it is not confined to a particular geographical area, yet it is rather spread in almost every country. For example, published literary works in France is termed French literature while published literary works in India is called Indian literature. Hence, literature is rather a scattered discipline in every nook and corner of the world. Although literature differs from one country to another, the outcome of learning literature is just the same where it makes you a person with critical thinking; a trait that is essential for growth of one’s character and personality. This article seeks to explore two geographically parted sections of literature: English literature and American literature. To begin with, just remember that one time, when America was a British colony, both terms meant the same. It started to mean different since the early 17th century when America was no longer a British colony literary works were just blooming.

What is English literature?

English literature refers to the collection of written literary work in the Great Britain and its colonies since the 7th century to the present day. As may be apparent, it has a great and much-loved history where it is chronologically categorized into several eras: Old English literature (c.658-1100), Middle English literature (1100–1500), English Renaissance (1500–1660), Neo-Classical Period (1660–1798), 19th-century literature, English literature since 1901 which includes modern, post-modern, and 20th century literature. Among the many writers from different parts of the English speaking world, those who have immensely contributed to the development of English literature are, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Virginia Woolf, William Wordsworth, W.B. Keats, Robert Frost. As literature is the presentation of writers’ expressions towards life in their socio-economic background, any type of literature depicts a certain culture. English literature, by its all forms, genres, and stylistics, reflects the culture of the British. The most known features of English literature include its wit, depiction of manners, disparity between classes, themes being stressed on plots and characterization.

Difference Between English Literature and American Literature

What is American Literature?

Comparatively, American literature is a notion that emerged in the recent past. It is the production of literary work written in the context of America portraying American culture and themes. America, originally being a British colony, was part of English literature until the country won independence and every aspect of the country: economy, education, literature, arts, culture, and social aspects changed and new brands brooded. The origin of the American literature dates back to the early 17th century. American literature was largely shaped by the history of the country and revolutionary ideas emerged during civil and revolutionary wars.

American Literature

What is the difference between English Literature and American Literature?

• Literary works written and published in Great Britain and British colonies are referred by the term English literature while American literature refers to literary works written and published in America.

• English literature is written in British English while American literature is written in American English.

• English literature mainly reflects the English culture, English mannerisms while American literature mirrors American culture, its history, and revolutionary concepts such as relationships with the church, the state, supernatural elements that emerged in the country. E.g. Massachusetts battle.

• English literature is older than the American English.

• American literature is often known as a much more realistic in portraying characters while English literature is known for its wit and portrayal of theme in plots and characterization.

Judging by the above distinct and subtle differences, it is comprehensible that English literature and American literature are two different notions although American literature was once part of the English literature.

 

The Great Gatsby Image  By: CHRIS DRUMM (CC BY 2.0)