Abstract and Keywords
This article traces the place of natural history in early American literature. Numerous works of early American literature contain significant elements of natural history: promotion literature, captivity narratives, and travel writings. In fact, natural history occupies a central place in American literature. The American land helped to define the style and content of American literature as soon as the first English colonists arrived and continued to do so through the colonial period. In addition to Notes on the State of Virginia, there is another late work of early American literature in which natural history plays an integral part, William Bartram's Travels (1791). Notes on the State of Virginia by Thomas Jefferson is a seminal text in this genre. William Bartrams' work Travels is an important text in this genre. Both Jefferson's Notes and Bartram's Travels show that natural history is central to early American literature, a literature that celebrates the land in which it was written.
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