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 allows it to be considered as a separate path and tradition.
It was in the late 18th and early 19th centuries that the nation’s first novels were published. These fictions were too lengthy to be printed as manuscript or public reading. Publishers took a chance on these works in hopes they would become steady sellers and need to be reprinted. This was a good bet as literacy rates soared in this period among both men and women.