Home  »  Volume XVIII: American LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART III  »  § 1. Periods of German Writing in the United States

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVIII. Later National Literature, Part III.

XXXI. Non-English Writings I

§ 1. Periods of German Writing in the United States

THE MEMOIRS, poems, and essays, the books of travel, fiction, and science that have been written in the German language in the United States, are of greater historical than literary interest. Their value consists in their record of human experience, mainly that of pioneers whose labours were devoted to the present, whose hopes lay in the future, yet whose meditations lingered fondly with the past. Three periods can readily be distinguished: that of the eighteenth century, in which religious writing predominated; that of the nineteenth century before 1860, the period of political idealism; and lastly, continuous from 1860, what may be called the period of opportunity. The two later periods in many instances overlap.