A World Wide Web site dedicated to the study of American literature, history, and culture, All American: Literature,History, and Culture features articles, outlines, calendars, bibliographies, and other information compiled and written by university students and faculty. To find out more about All American or to submit an item for publication, please see About Us 

© Mark Canada, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, 1999

". . . I began to suspect that this Doctrine tho' it might be true, was not very useful." 
Benjamin Franklin, autobiography, 1771


This calendar, updated monthly, features selected events and exhibits related to American culture. If you know of an event not listed here, please send information about it to For information about other interesting American sites, see Electronic Postcards.


North Carolina Collection
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wilson Library, 962-1172, permanent
In addition to a beautiful reading room and an extensive collection of works by Carolina authors, this section in the west part of Wilson Library has a room dedicated to Carolina alumnus Thomas Wolfe, author of Look Homeward Angel and You Can't Go Home Again.

North Carolina Collection Gallery
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wilson Library, 962-1172, permanent
This miniature museum inside majestic Wilson Library features furniture from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, as well as exhibits on early exploration of the Carolina coast, the North Carolina gold rush, and a famous set of Siamese twins who lived in North Carolina.

University of North Carolina Campus
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,Visitors' Center, west wing of Morehead Planetarium, 962-1630, permanent
The first state university in the United States to admit and graduate students, UNC celebrated its bicentennial in 1993. For a fascinating walking tour covering the school's Civil War history and other details, borrow a Walkman and cassette for no charge at the Visitors' Center.

Frontier Photographer: Edward S. Curtis
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C., September 23, 1998-September 27, 1999

After the Revolution
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C., permanent
This permanent exhibit focuses on the day-to-day lives of white, black, and native Americans after the American Revolution.


Take one of these quizzes to test your knowledge of American history, American literature, or general literature. Please make sure you include your name and e-mail address on the quiz.  

American Authors

Find biographical information, notes on issues and themes, study questions, and bibliographies for the following American authors.
 16th Century
Native Americans
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
17th Century
John Smith
William Bradford
John Winthrop
Anne Bradstreet
Edward Taylor
Mary Rowlandson
More to come
 18th Century
Ebenezer Cooke
Jonathan Edwards
Benjamin Franklin
J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur
Phillis Wheatley
Philip Freneau
More to come
 19th Century
Washington Irving
William Cullen Bryant
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Margaret Fuller
Edgar Allan Poe
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Herman Melville
Henry David Thoreau
Walt Whitman 
Emily Dickinson
Frederick Douglass
Sidney Lanier
Kate Chopin
Mark Twain
Henry James
Stephen Crane
Paul Laurence Dunbar
More to come
 20th Century
Edwin Arlington Robinson
Robert Frost
Edgar Lee Masters
Eugene O'Neill
Ernest Hemingway
William Faulkner
Langston Hughes
Zora Neale Hurston
Carl Sandburg
Tennessee Williams
Maya Angelou
Maxine Hong Kingston
W.D. Snodgrass
Shelby Stephenson
Alice Walker
More to come


To see what college students are studying in the fields of American literature and culture, click on the courses below:


I have reviewed all of the following print and electronic resources. While some material on the World Wide Web is less reliable than standard print reference materials, I have tried to list only authoritative resources.






Odds and Ends

Everything I Need to Know About Literature I Learned from Garth Brooks

Although I teach English, my students probably think I'm speaking a foreign language when I start dishing out literary terms such as hyperbole and metonymy. Even if they don't recognize the terms, however, they have heard examples of just about every phenomenon I describe. In fact, one reason we teach literature is that it is all around us. Literature is just language taken to the extreme.

Here is a list of literary terms we discuss in my Introduction to Literature course, illustrated by some of America's masters of the language: country musicians.

Allusion: a reference to a person, work of art, or event
"Everybody's yearnin' for somebody else,
But nobody's lonesome for me.
Everybody's fallin' for somebody else,
But nobody's fallin' for me.
Now, I ain't had a kiss since I fell out of my crib.
It looks to me like I've been cheated out of my rib."
(Hank Williams, "Nobody's Lonesome for Me")
Conceit: an extended comparison between two otherwise unlike things
"This time I found a keeper, I made up my mind.
Lord, the perfect combination is her heart and mine.
The sky's the limit, no hill is too steep.
We're playin' for fun, but we're playin' for keeps. . .
We're two of a kind working on a full house."
(Garth Brooks, "Two of a Kind, Workin' on a Full House")
Hyperbole: an exaggeration
"You could set my truck on fire and roll it down a hill,
And I still wouldn't trade it for a Coupe Deville."
(Joe Diffie, "A Pickup Man")
Imagery: the use of words to conjure a sensation, such as a vision or a smell
"I can recall the sound of the wind, as it blew through the trees, and the trees would bend,
And I can recall the smell of the rain on a hot summer night coming through the screen.
I'd crawl in your bed when the lightning flashed, and I'd still be there when the storm had passed,
Dead to the world till the morning cast its light all around your room.
We lived on a street where the tall elm shade was as green as the grass and as cool as a blade
That you held in your teeth as we lay on our backs staring up at the blue, and the blue stared back.
I used to believe we were just like those trees, we'd grow just as tall and as proud as we pleased
With our feet on the ground and our arms in the breeze under a sheltering sky."
(Mary Chapin Carpenter, "Only a Dream")
Oxymoron: the use of words that contradict each other
"I've been bound to leave you, we've known that for a while.
I'm sure it's something I can't do if I can't leave you with a smile.
I don't know how far I'll have to go till I'm sure those eyes won't cry,
And in my mind I'll left enough to know that I can't leave you
With a bad goodbye."
(Clint Black, "A Bad Goodbye")
Paradox: a statement that seems self-contradictory, but is true
"I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane."
(Waylon Jennings, "I've Always Been Crazy")
Personification: a treatment of an object or animal as if it were a person
"She was hidin' in the closet when my wife walked out on me.
She was hanging on my shoulder when I moved to Tennessee.
She's been whiskey-stained and stepped-on, but she's always served me well,
If you could coax her into talking, all the stories she could tell.
Other arms have tried to hold her in a hundred different bars.
She's been passed around and picked on, and her body's got some scars.
She's been placed behind the front seat of too many people's cars.
I'll pick her up and take her home and treat her like a star.
So sing a song you know. She loves to play along.
She'll put music in your heart with her song.
Her once-girlish figure is startin' to show some age,
Lots of lines and scratches where my searchin' fingers played.
But when I hold her to my body, Lord, I feel I own the world.
To me she's more than wood and strings; she's my Gibson girl."
(Chet Atkins, "Gibson Girl")
Pun: humorous word play in which a word or phrase carries more than one meaning
"But anyone can see
You won't be crying over me,
And you never were that kind." (Clint Black, "Burn One Down")
Regionalism: the recreation of a particular geographic region's setting, dialect, and customs
"Jambalaya, crawfish pie, filet gumbo,
'Cause tonight I'm see my michell amio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gayo.
Son of a gun, we'all have big fun on the bayou."
(Hank Williams, "Jambalaya")
Simile: an indirect comparison between two otherwise unlike things
"Like birds on a high line,
They line up at night at the bar.
They all once were lovebirds.
Now blue birds are all that they are.
They landed in hell
The minute they fell from love's sky,
And now they hope in the wine
That they'll find a new way to fly." (Garth Brooks, "New Way to Fly")
Stock character: a character who shows many stereotypical qualities rather than a complex psychological profile
"When the crowd rolled in, they were a motley mix.
There was truckers, bikers, drifters, and locals from the sticks,
Each one meaner than a cougar in a cage,
And the biggest one swaggered right up to the stage." (John Anderson, "Let the Guitar Do the Talkin'")
Symbol: an object that suggests something else
"And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go.
Our lives are better left to chance. I could have missed the pain,
But I'd of had to miss the dance."
(Garth Brooks, "The Dance")

About Us

Editor: Mark Canada, Ph.D.
Editorial Assistants: Tara Clark, Sarah Wright
Created in 1998, All American publishes articles, outlines, calendars, bibliographies, and other information related to American literature, history, culture, and recreation. While most of the information here comes from students at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, All American welcomes submissions from anyone. The author's name will appear along with any published item. To find out more about All American or to submit an item for publication, please write to the address below or send an e-mail message to

Mark Canada, Ph.D.
All America
Communicative Arts Department
118 Dial Building
University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Pembroke, NC 28372-1510
(910) 521-6431

 © Mark Canada, 1999
Last modified: 2/4/98