American Literature Before 1880 attempts to place its subject in the broadest possible international perspective. It begins with Homer looking westward, and ends with Henry James crossing the Atlantic eastwards. In between, the book examines the projection of images of the East onto an as-yet unrecognised West; the cultural consequences of Viking, Colombian, and then English migration to America; the growth and independence of the British American colonies; the key writers of the new Republic; and the development of the culture of the United States before and after the Civil War. It is intended both as an introduction for undergraduates to the richness and variety of American Literature, and as a contribution to the debate about its distinctive nature. The book therefore begins with a lengthy survey of earlier histories of American Literature.