Journey through Literature: American Literature

30 May

What does the American Literature hold for the readers of a newfound country, if. they are an alien and become a citizen?

Like most immigrants, the original Americans were found on ships that arrived, as Christopher Columbus was searching for India, he found a new country. Ships are not controlled like they are in the modern world. They use guidance systems. The first Americans didn’t have any maps to find America, and it wasn’t even called that. America, was originally named for Amerigo Vespucci, as it was mostly found on the evidence of a new country, but America did not have a literary history until the Colonials wrote there history and the folklore of the Colonial writing would attest to the history of the first settlers. Most of the first settlers who found there way chartered maps and they detailed the structure of the states. It was only after the war with England that the country had to make a decision to live by there own laws than the Crown. The defecation of English tyranny on American soil is not what your ancestors wanted. They didn’t want to be dependent on the Crown for there freedom. They were not going to be run by a small little Island. The literature of the time proved that there was confidence in the Americas. The revolutionary war proved that America was ready to become it’s own Nation to be heralded as the greatest in all the world. The defiance of the Americans is the soil of American literature. Any who are born here are descended from the forefathers of the writers of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. It was defiance that became the heart beat of the American way. Land of the free, home of the Brave. The early settlers knew they were creating as much opportunity for trade. America, in all of it’s beauty, is certainly born out of trade and free market capitalism. Most of the fur trade came from America, supplying lots of furs and inventions. What the Revolutionary War proved is that America was ready to invent and become a nation of inventors, scholars, philosophers, and writers that could stand with the world and become a Nation born of free will and Independence. American literature of the early settlers reminds the world that we are the nation that invented the cotton gin, morse code, but it was with Moby Dick, by Herman Melville, that sparked the flame of many pens that would move such writers to call him the American writer that many Europeans dubbed, the American Writer. DH Lawrence called it “one of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world” and “the greatest book of the sea ever written” (Lawrence, 1923, 168)

What is so special about Moby Dick?

Moby Dick, by Herman Melville, was published in 1851, as it was not an instant success, but one of America’s greatest bomb. It killed Herman Mellville’s career, as many today would not read the book out of fear of the archaic writing would be too much for them. His contemporary, Nathaniel Hawthorne, was more successful than Herman Mellvile, as he was only known for Billy Budd, his far most beloved work today. Moby Dick is and will always be a reminder of American writer’s lineage today. Even if they are not related, and one becomes an American citizen that very day, they are gifted the legacy of the library, and the ability to create a library card to read all the books that we can. Melville, in his own way, was living by his own code, much of an American ethos, as the can do spirit is what drives many writers to expand and become apart of the American literary scene. If Melville were alive, he would probably urge people not to write books, but get into social media, if he were a millennial. The urgency to write and become a literary star is over in the world of America, but to imagine Herman Melville retiring old and bitter in the clerk office, where he was always dependent on his time to write. Much of Moby Dick’s theme of revenge centers on such a notion that any thriller writer would be jealous of the psychopathic tendency to veer into the operatic. Check out the scene where Ishmael is at the Church and the priest gives the speech about Jonah and the Whale. (BTW in each move version, that role is always gifted to a legacy actor, like Orson Welles and Patrick Stewart). What made the world far incredible is the movement of the novel. Each section is meticulous that can spend upward of ten or more pages on a specific rant or the equivalent of what makes a millennial shit there pants. Millennials want everything spoon fed to them, but Melville was an author, he wanted to expand on his knowledge that came from his own personal life, or on the journey of the Essex. What is destruction if the characters are not yet mad enough to think Ahab should be overthrown, but it’s Ahab’s will to find Moby Dick and it would be his doomed journey that would kill most of his crew. The upstanding promise of vengeance is always a force to destroy any man who was suicidal enough. American literature is incumbent on the pulse of society.

Why does the publishing industry seem like a far cry from the pioneers of American Literature?

Philip Roth predicted, as he might be wrong, that books would become obsolete. He didn’t see there importance. Hopefully, he was wrong, but Roth was always a pessimist. American Literature is the worthy opponent to the thinking man’s game, but even so, sometimes it’s wild propensity to follow your dreams where you should. What American Literature, even in genre, prove that while realistic fiction is slowly fading away, Science Fiction populates many of the geniuses, such as Philip K Dick, again, another writer who was unknown in his lifetime, as he wasn’t allowed to make a living off his writing. All talented writers are avoided in there lifetime, and it’s either up to the family estate to make sure his work carries on. What makes Philip K. Dick an interesting person is that while he was mentally ill, he could harness his craft and still create a legacy for himself. The way he details an home invasion and lists all the possible suspects, but even puts himself as apart of the conspirators. It was without precedent. It made the world of science fiction as appealing as it was defined by the genre itself. But Science Fiction was becoming an undercurrent which would make Philip K. Dick the legend he became posthumously. While Melville and Dick were both far and few two writers who seemed likely for commercial success, they share a lot in common. Two writers that withstood there contemporaries. The influence is the same, as the two writers were rather unknown, but two differences lay between them. Philip K Dick was at least started to be recognized at the end of his lifetime, and one could say, die rather triumphantly. Melville died unknown until other authors found him again in the spirit of the unknown, as both confirmations further unrepentant, guided by the mourning of both career and writing. It wasn’t like Phil had enough problems. He was addicted to drugs, and he had fled the country as he checked himself into a rehab clinic, getting him sober for the last few years of his life. The reality is that someone who is mentally ill can create magnificent works of fiction.

What are some of the similarities between Philip K. Dick and Herman Melville?

Well, there’s a cultish sensibility around both PKD and Melville, but it’s not unimaginable that both would make writing there crusade but never offered any recongnition in there lifetime. What is absolutely paramount is the will to see that both authors could find there own heaven in there time. Be it on a boat on the Pequod or in a world that’s been taken over by Nazi’s. The underhanded notion of fame is a distraction that all writers should forfeit if they want to be famous. Being famous is for people who didn’t have much to lose. Then they cry when they lose there anononymity. The reality is far worse when someone is famous. The writing ultimately suffers when they are appreciated in there life time. Being famous isn’t worth the price tag for accessibility, as the problem becomes if the writer is allowed to write more books. The obvious decision is to release the work independently because if being independent means you have more control, then most authors of a new generation will find it in there that most authors have to create and they will make money on there own. Both PKD and Herman Melville were products of there time as some would say they were both unsung hero’s as there are more reasons to not write. Most just want to make money, and while money isn’t bad, it shouldn’t rule your life. If you want to be creative and push the limits of your craft, it’s not going to make you money. If it does, it probably is a fluke. Publicity machines make people famous today, not the writing itself. It’s always a catchy idea that makes people want to read others, and find there niche writing it, but without an audience there are no writers, but it makes no difference in the cyber world. The trick is now who can really survive, and who is willing to sacrifice there time and become Internet billionaires. The reality is you can do it. All by yourself. If you get famous in the process so be it. Otherwise, it’s a grind. The reality is that both PKD and Melville are as more famous than they ever were in there lifetime. The reality is far more disconcerting in the author’s lifetime, and not posthumously.

Does American Literature require something else to survive?

American Literature has hit a cross roads because with video games, how could writing ever matter, and the filmmakers of the seventies, if they were millennials, would have become game developers. It’s not like there’s no one talent one can be well versed in. Writing novels is not about fame or fortune, and sometimes most good authors are overlooked in there lifetime. It’s a reality that can’t be held for the sake of money. Money only makes one time writers lazy, and they don’t want to continue writing. It’s many of the unsung writers, like myself, who know that American Literature must return back to the roots of the world long past. To know how to cut a tree down. To carry bricks. To be men again. Writing about men with computers makes the world far less intriguing, but maybe science fiction can become the next gateway, and while it certainly has, the millennial generation can’t seem to find there way in novel writing. There are probably a plethora of writers out there I’m not mentioning, millennial and Generation Z, who want to become writers, but maybe they will work as real estate developers and they can write for half the day after they sell houses that pay off most of there bills for the next twenty years. Most writers and thinkers are often converts from other fields. But American writing needs to remember grit. It needs to remember the Wild West. The place where people could make there own way through life. American Literature has always been able to adapt.

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