American literature is the written or literary work produced in the area of the United States and Colonial America. During its early history, America was a series of British colonies on the eastern coast of the present day United States. Therefore, its literary tradition begins as linked to the broader tradition of English literature. However, unique American characteristics and the breadth of its production usually now cause it to be considered a separate path and tradition.
The study of American literature is important for many reasons. Not only is it a great modeling tool for upcoming creative writers, it’s also an interesting and informative way to look at American history. Using American literature both as a literary study and a historical study allows the student to understand not only writing style, but the perspective of the author.