- The Oxford Handbook of: Early American Literature
- The Literature of Exploration
- Captain John Smith
- Promotion Literature
- Puritan Historians and Historiography
- New England Poetry
- Captivity Literature
- Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening
- Augustan American Verse
- Picaresque Travel Narratives
- Dr. Alexander Hamilton
- Indian Voices in Early American Literature
- Scientific Discourse
- Newspapers and Magazines
- Print and Manuscript Culture
- Early American Libraries
- Early American Autobiography
- Early American Slave Narratives
- Benjamin Franklin
- Early American Drama
- The Literature of Politics
- Revolutionary Verse
- The Beginnings of the American Novel
- Crèvecoeur's <i>Letters from an American Farmer</i>
- History as Literature
- The Place of Natural History in Early American Literature
Abstract and Keywords
This article analyzes the picaresque travel narratives, a genre peculiar to travel writing. This genre developed when travelers, temporarily removed from their familiar surroundings for work or pleasure, were prone to account for day-to-day happenings with the steady view of informing and entertaining the reader. They thus made the most of their southward or westward explorations in a style often akin to picaresque literature. The narrator was, however, no picaro recollecting sinful ups and downs in a stratified society, but a gentleman or a lady attentive to the manners of fellow colonists or Native Americans, from “savage” squaws or medicine men to uncouth country bumpkins and arrogant planters. A detailed analysis of the works of John Lawson, William Byrd II follows. As a diarist Byrd shares the planters' condescending views of the common run of humanity. The concluding part of the article analyzes Edward Kimber's works.
Daniel Royot, Emeritus Professor of American Literature and Civilization at the Sorbonne, Paris, has often taught as a visiting professor in the United States. He was a fellow at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies, Monticello, in 1998. He has written extensively on American literature, ethnicity, cultural studies, and humor. He is past president of the American Humor Studies Association. His publications include articles in English on Benjamin Franklin, Edgar Allan Poe, James Russell Lowell, Benjamin Shillaber, and Thomas Berger. His book Go West: Histoire de l'Ouest américain, d'hier à aujourd-hui (2004) belongs to the classical Champs collection, Flammarion. Several of his works have been translated into Swedish, Chinese, Turkish, and Korean. He is the editor of a standard anthology of American literature (Presses universitaires de France). His book Divided Loyalties in a Doomed Empire: The French in the West from New France to the Lewis and Clark Expedition (2007) bears on colonial culture set in a comparative perspective.
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