Nineteenth Century American Literature
By the 19th century, the form of the novel had become well established in the world. In America, writers struggled to establish a distinct American voice in the midst of the postbellum era. Edgar Allan Poe, Washington Irving, and James Fenimore Cooper all wrote to create this American voice. Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson both wrote poetry during the nineteenth century in America, though in nearly polar styles. Meanwhile, Romanticism in America took on the form of transcendentalism; writers of this movement included Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Herman Melville, Mark Twain, and Willa Cather are a small cross-section of the American writers who worked during this time.