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American Authors

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Sarah House

on 6 October 2016

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Transcript of American Authors

American Authors & Works
Realism & Regionalist
Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)
Stephen Crane (1871-1900)
Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)
Jack London (1876-1916)
Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896)
Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973)
William Faulkner (1897-1962)
Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951)
Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949)
Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964)
Upton Sinclair (1878-1968)
John Steinbeck (1902-1968)
Beat Writers:
Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)
Jack Kerouac (1922-1969)
Ken Kesey (1935-2001)
Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
Romanticism & Trancendentalism
Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America
Not American-born, but considered 1st American published author
sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" (1741)
wanted to focus American on theological reform (away from Church of England)
grandfather of Aaron Burr
Founding Father
became wealthy publishing
Poor Richard's Almanack
One of 1st and most prominent abolitionist
chief author of Declaration of Independence
3rd PoUS
notable architect (Monticello)
Founded U of Va.
Personal library used to start Library of Congress
Common Sense
The American Crisis
mainly wrote pamphlets
ostracized for criticism of organized Christianity
book that advocated colonial America's independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain
a pro-revolutionary pamphlet series
James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Washington Irving (1783-1859)
Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849)
Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)
Herman Melville (1819-1891)
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
The Leatherstocking Tales, series of 5 books including:
The Pioneers
The Last of the Mohicans
The Prairie
The Pathfinder
The Deerslayer (1st chronologically)
Natty Bumpo, wilderness scout, intro.ed in The Pioneers--the rest chronicle his life
Series covers 1740-1804, 35 years before Am. Revolution to Louisiana Purchase, Lewis & Clark expedition and Jefferson's presidency.
1 of 1st authors to include Native American and African-American characters in writing
Writing style copied by authors such as Thoreau
Introvert, reclusive, eccentric
Battled major depression most of her adult life
Known as "The Belle of Amherst"
Wrote over 1800 poems, but only 18 published before her death
regarded as one of the most important American poets
wrote short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip van Winkle" (both Gothic-style)
"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"-Ichabod Crane (school teacher)
"Rip van Winkle"-set in Adirondack Mtns.
One of 1st American authors to win acclaim in Europe (along with James Fenimore Cooper)
wrote & published 5 volume bio. of Geo. Washington just 8 months before death.
best known for poems & short stories of mystery and macabre
"The Raven"--Nevermore"
"Cask of Amontillado"--wine
"Fall of the House of Usher"--Rodrick Usher
"Annabel Lee"--last poem written, probably about wife (cousin)
Was in military before becoming author
1st American author to attempt to make a living writing
died at 40 (probably from alcoholism/tuberculosis)
Edgar Award given annually for distinguished mystery writing
transition between Romanticism & Transcendentalism
One of most influential American poets
collection Leaves of Grass controversial (obscene sexuality)
before becoming author, worked as a teacher and nurse during Civil War
funeral a public spectacle (probably was bisexsual or homosexual)
Little Women
(Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March-loosely autobiographical life with sisters)
Little Men
(Jo runs a boarding school)
grew up around Emerson, Hawthorne & Thoreau (transcendentalist parent's friends)
Outspoken feminist and abolitionist
probably lived with lupus, but died of a stroke, 2 days after father
buried in Sleepy Hollow cemetery with Emerson, Hawthorne and Thoreau on "Author's Hill"
leader of Transcendentalist movement
--move away from religious and social beliefs of time, formulated and expressed Transcendentalist philosophy
--spoke of need for each person to avoid conformity and follow own instincts and ideas
writing developed ideas such as individuality, freedom, the ability for humankind to realize almost anything, and the relationship between the soul and the surrounding world
work greatly influenced writers, philosophers and poets who followed
mentor & friend of Thoreau
died of pneumonia, probably suffered from Alzheimer's in later years
born in Salem, MA--the setting of many of his novels
Friends with Emerson, Thoreau & Melville
known for abundant use of symbolism and imagery in novels
The Scarlet Letter
--Hester Prynne, who has an affair with preacher (Arthur Dimmesdale) resulting in daughter, has to wear scarlet "A" on chest
Major themes of sin and Puritan legalism in novel
The House of Seven Gables
--explores themes of guilt, retribution, and atonement and suggestions of the supernatural and witchcraft
most famous work
Moby Dick
epic sea-story of Captain Ahab's voyage in pursuit of Moby Dick, a great white whale
"Call me Ishmael"-one of most recognizable 1st lines in American lit. Ishmael is narrator
Ship is the Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab, bent on revenge for whale who destroyed ship and took his leg
not well-known as an author during lifetime. Works came to be known during early 20th century
died from heart attack
in 2010, paleontologist named extinct species of giant whale after him.
Walden, or Life in the Woods
2 yrs, 2 mo. of living in a cabin at Walden Pond (cabin owned by Emerson)
Lived here to illustrate the spiritual benefits of living a simplified life
Themes of book are self-reliance, simplicity and progress
Civil Disobedience
, aka
Resistance to Civil Government
individuals should not let governments overrule their consciences (i.e. slavery)
"That government is best which governs least"
inspiration for future leaders such as MLK, Jr. & Gandhi
died of tuberculosis @ 44
writings have become the basis for teachings in philosophy and future political ideology
Willa Cather (1873-1947)
Bret Harte (1836-1902)
short story "An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge"
Set during the American Civil War
story of Peyton Farquhar, a Confederate sympathizer condemned to death by hanging from Owl Creek Bridge
style often embraces an abrupt beginning, dark imagery, vague references to time, limited descriptions, impossible events and the theme of war
sardonic view of human nature earned him the nickname "Bitter Bierce"
In 1913, Bierce traveled to Mexico to gain first-hand experience of the Mexican Revolution. While traveling with rebel troops, he disappeared without a trace.
won international acclaim for Civil War novel
The Red Badge of Courage
wrote with no battle experience, 30 years after Civil War ended
believed to be based on battle of Chancellorsville
told in 3rd-person pov
reflects experience of Henry Fleming, a young soldier who flees from combat
notable for vivid descriptions and well-cadenced prose, both which help create suspense in the story
wrote in such a way as to give humans animalistic characteristics: people "howl", "squawk", "growl", and "snarl"
writing's characterized by vivid intensity, spiritual crises and social isolation
writing made a deep impression on 20-century writers, like Ernest Hemingway.
After escaping from slavery, became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing
stood as a living counter-example to slaveholders' arguments that slaves did not have the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens
even Northerns found it hard to believe that such a great orator and writer had been a slave
wrote several autobiographies, including
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave
actively supported women's suffrage
without his approval, became the first African American nominated for Vice President of the United States as the running mate of Victoria Woodhull on the impracticable and small Equal Rights Party ticket
held multiple public offices
was a firm believer in the equality of all people, whether black, female, Native American, or recent immigrant, famously quoted as saying, "I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong."
one of the first fiction writers to obtain worldwide celebrity and a large fortune from his fiction alone
Call of the Wild (
tame dog forced to revert to his orignial primitive state) and
White Fang
(dog's journey to domestication)
both written about Klondike Gold Rush
both written from dogs' pov
passionate advocate of unionization, socialism, and the rights of workers
at the time of death, suffered from dysentery, uremia, and late stage alcoholism;
was in extreme pain and taking morphine, and a morphine overdose, accidental or deliberate, may have contributed to his death
most famous woman of her day
Uncle Tom's Cabin
a depiction of life for African Americans under slavery
the most influential book of the 19th Century
1st book to sell 1 million copies
one of the most effective documents of propaganda ever written
helped fuel and fan the flames of the Civil War
upon meeting President Lincoln, he greeted her by saying, "So you're the little lady who wrote the book that started this Great War."
as a result of dementia, started writing
Uncle Tom's Cabin
over again
modern researchers now speculate that at the end of her life she was suffering from Alzheimer's disease
born Samuel Langhorne Clemens--changed name after riverboat experiences
grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, the setting for
Tom Sawyer
Huckleberry Finn
widely thought to be the greatest American humorist and one of the nation's greatest authors
used regional vernacular, exaggeration and deadpan narration to create humor
Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
(tall tale)
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
(one of America's most influential novels; sequel to
Tom Sawyer
Life on the Mississippi
(autobiographical memoir)
The Prince and the Pauper
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

from Nebraska, the setting for most of her novels
a town of European immigrants-Swedes, Bohemians, Russians & Germans-who were establishing homesteads on the Great Plains
O Pioneers!
known for vivid portrayal of hardships of prairie life and struggle of immigrant pioneer women
reflected Cather's belief in the primacy of spiritual and moral values of material things
Alexandra Bergson, heroine, exemplifies courage and purpose Cather felt were necessary to subdue the wild prairie
title from Walt Whitman's "Pioneers! O Pioneers!"-like novel, celebrated the frontier virtues of inner strength and spirit
My Antonia
novel about family devotion
young Antonia must become the bread winner and support her family when her father (who can't stand the harshness of the prairie) commits suicide
doing a man's work, Antonia turns into a rough and wild creature
leaves the prairie to be a live-in housekeeper, sending money home to family
always thought of family first, then self
wrote about the American West-stories all set in the Old West
"The Outcasts of Poker Flat"
set in town of Poker Flat, California, a town on the decline
town has lost thousands of dollars and morals seem to be going down as well
in an effort to save what is left of the town and reestablish it as a "virtuous" place, a secret society is created to decide who to exile and who to kill
"Luck of Roaring Camp"
about the birth of a baby boy in a 19th-century gold prospecting camp
the boy's mother, Cherokee Sal, dies in childbirth, so the men of Roaring Camp must raise it themselves
"Thomas Luck" is the first newborn the camp has seen in ages; things are looking up, but the waters that brought the gold also take away Luck, who dies in a flood
spent most of life in China w/ missionary parents
came to US for college, returned to China in 1914
The Good Earth
set in China
family life in a Chinese village before WWI
Book 1 of The House of Earth trilogy (
A House Divided
Won 1932 Pulitzer and 1938 Nobel Prize for Literature
returned to US in 1934, husband stayed in China...soon divorced. Remarried a year later, kept 1st husband's name
established first international, interracial adoption agency
died of lung cancer
frequently used "stream of consciousness" writing
stories often highly emotional, cerebral, complex and sometimes Gothic or grotesque
awarded 2 Pulitzers (1955 & 1963) and Nobel Prize for Literature (1949)
best known for
The Sound and the Fury
describes the decay and fall of the aristocratic Compson family from 4 pov
typifies the South during the time period
preoccupied with the question of how the ideals of the old South could be maintained or preserved in the post-Civil War era.
ran away from home at 13 to become a drummer in the Spanish-American War
most notable work:
Main Street
a young doctor's wife tries to change the ugliness, dullness and ignorance which prevail in Gopher Prairie, Minnesota.
reader fascination with the portrayal of petty back-stabbers and hypocrites in a small town was probably a factor in novel's popularity...every reader sees their small town in the novel.
written 1920, but characters give voice to the social and cultural attitudes that would become significant in the years to come.
won 1930 Nobel Prize in Literature, 1st American writer to win.
was an alcoholic for most of his adult life and died from complications of alcoholism
only one novel published in her lifetime
Southerner and lifelong native resident of Atlanta, where
Gone with the Wind
is set
began writing in 1926 while recovering from an auto crash injury that refused to heal
one published novel
Gone with the Wind
depicts the experiences of Scarlett O'Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to come out of the poverty she finds herself in after Sherman's "March to the Sea" during the Civil War.
admirer Captain Rhett Butler
novel arranged chronologically, basing it on the life and experiences of Scarlett as she grew from adolescence into adulthood (ages 16-28, 1861-1973)
won Pulitzer in 1937 for novel
themes of book are survival, love and honor, war and the scars it leaves
hit by automobile, died 5 days later...driver sentenced to just 18 months
a Southern writer who often wrote in a Southern Gothic style and relied heavily on regional settings and grotesque characters
writing also reflected her own Roman Catholic faith, and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics
collection of short stories
A Good Man is Hard to Find
most famous work
subjects of the short stories range from baptism ("The River") to serial killers ("A Good Man Is Hard to Find") to human greed and exploitation ("The Life You Save May Be Your Own")
majority of the stories include jarring violent scenes that make the characters undergo a spiritual change
commonly have tones of Catholicism related to life and death scenarios
in the story "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" the villain states, "She would have been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."
died at 39 from complication of lupus
wrote close to 100 books in many genres
father owned a liquor store, was a severe alcoholic
married an divorced 3 times
devotes writing career to documenting and criticizing the social and economic conditions of the early 20th century, in both fiction and non-fiction
exposed his view of the injustices of capitalism and the overwhelming impact of poverty
The Jungle
detailed the deplorable conditions of the Chicago stockyards at the turn-of-the-century
spent 7 wks in disguise, working undercover in Chicago's meatpacking plants to do research for novel
caused a public uproar that contributed, in part, to the passage a few months later of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act
founded California's chapter of the ACLU in the 1920's
ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Socialist
Modernism Poets & Dramatists
Robert Frost (1874-1963)
Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)
Arthur Miller (1915-2005)
Tennessee Williams (1911-1983)
T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)
Harlem Renaissance
Ralph Ellison (1914-1994)
Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965)
Langston Hughes (1902-1967)
Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)
Gordon Parks (1912-2006)
America's best-known poet...also one of the best-loved
used the plain speech of rural New Englanders when writing-not flowery language
received 4 Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry during lifetime
awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960
read poem "The Gift Outright" at JFK's inauguration-poem about America and the people who founded it. Recited from memory instead of poem he wrote for JFK
"Death of the Hired Man"-conversation between farmer and wife about what to do with ex-employee Silas, who has returned to the farm at an "inopportune" time with ulterior motives to his return.
"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"-describes the thoughts of a lone rider, pausing at night in his travel to watch snow falling in the woods. Ends with him reminding himself that "I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep."
"The Mending Wall"-metaphorical poem about a wall separating two pieces of land, owned by 2 different people. "Good fences make good neighbors."
"The Road Not Taken"-about the human tendency to look back and attribute blame to the minor events in life, to make more meaning out of things than they deserve.
depression and mental illness ran in the family, but died of surgery complications
wrote about the city of Chicago
poems describe everyday Americans, use a positive tone, simple words and are easily understood
won 3 Pulitzer Prizes, 2 for poetry & 1 for Lincoln biography
wrote book Rootabaga Stories-whimsical, sometimes melancholy stories written for daughters; fulfilled his desire for "American fairy tales" to match an "American childhood"
poem "Chicago"-famously described city as 'Hog Butcher for the World'
2-volume Lincoln biography
died of natural causes
playwright and essayist
Jewish American
testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee (believed him to be a Communist b/c he was Jewish and somewhat subversive)
Pulitzer Prize for Drama
briefly married to Marilyn Monroe
Death of a Salesman
-Willy Loman intentionally wrecks car so son Biff can have insurance money to start in the business world, but Biff doesn't want to be anything more than a "ordinary man"
The Crucible
-dramatized and partially fictionalized story of Salem Witch Trials (really an allegory of McCarthyism)
The Misfits
(starred Marilyn Monroe)-plot centers on a recently divorced woman and her time spent with a cowboy (Clark Gable) and his friend in the Nevada desert in the 1960s
died of heart failure related to cancer battle
American playwright
dysfunctional family the basis for many of his works
won Pulitzer Prize for Drama
The Glass Menagerie
-ls the story of young man, Tom, disabled sister, Laura, and controlling mother, Amanda, who tries to make a match between Laura and a gentleman caller
A Streetcar Named Desire
-Blanche DuBois, fading though still attractive Southern belle whose pretensions of virtue and culture thinly mask her alcoholism and delusions of grandeur. Lives with sister Stella and her husband Stanley, who has her committed to a mental institution. "...I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
-examines the relationship deceit and lies among members of wealthy Big Daddy Pollitt's family, primarily between son Brick and Maggie the "Cat", Brick's wife
alcohol and drug dependence inhibited creativity in later years
mental illness ran in family-had sister committed after failed lobotomy for schizophrenia; had frequent bouts with depression himself
homosexual who plunged into catatonic depression and increased drug use after last failed relationship ended-increasing amounts of amphetamines and sedative Seconal for insomnia
death noted as "seconal intolerance"-a cover up for extensive drug abuse
poet & playwright
American-born, became naturalized British subject in 1927 at age 39
Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948 for outstanding contribution to present-day poetry
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"-considered shocking and offensive when published, but now seen as heralding a cultural shift from Romantic to Modern
a dramatic interior monologue of an urban man, stricken with feelings of isolation and an incapability for decisive action
"The Waste Land"-loosely follows the legend of the Holy Grail and the Fisher King, combined with vignettes of contemporary social condition and the failure of western civilization as illustrated by WWI
"Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats"-set of six poems for speaker and orchestra; adapted by Andrew Lloyd Webber after death to be musical
Murder in the Cathedral
-play portrays the assassination of Archbishop Thomas a' Becket in Canterbury Cathedral
died of emphysema caused by heavy smoking
spent much of adult life on French Rivera with wife Zelda
stresses of fame and prosperity led to heavy drinking
Zelda suffered mental breakdown, which she never fully recovered from; institutionalized in sanitarium after 1932
Tender is the Night
-story of the rise and fall of Dick Diver, a promising psychoanalyst and his wife, Nicole, who is also one of his patients
Zelda living in psychiatric hospital at time, so probably based on her or situation
very personal for Fitzgerald: discussed his professional failures, his marriage, wife's mental illness, his marriage, affairs of both his and Zelda's
The Great Gatsby
-Long Island reclusive self-made man (through bootlegging), long in love with Daisy (his neighbor's cousin)
Gatsby and Daisy have an affair, facilitated by her cousin's proximity to Gatsby's mansion
Daisy's husband also having affair with garbageman's wife
Daisy hits garbageman's wife w car and kills, driving away from scene
Daisy's jealous husband tells garbageman Gatsby is responsible; husband finds Gatsby and shoots him, then himself
died at 44 of alcohol-related causes
believed in the need for social justice; hoped that people could learn from the suffering of others
Grapes of Wrath
-most famous novel
combined naturalism and symbolism to express outrage and compassion for the plight of farmers displaced by the Depression and Dustbowl
Joad family travels from Oklahoma to California in search of work
Of Mice and Men
The Pearl
after graduation, was a newspaper reporter and ambulance driver for the American Red Cross during WWI
wounded on the Austro-Italian front; decorated for heroism
became foreign correspondent after healing from wounds
became ex-patriot in Paris, then traveled widely to Spain to see bullfighting, fishing and hunting that would be the background for much of his writing
Made to home in Cuba and Key West, FL after WWII
Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea; Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954
The Sun Also Rises
: about a group of American and British expatriates who travel from Paris to the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona to watch the running of the bulls and bullfights
novel is a roman a clef-characters are based on real people and action based on real events
A Farewell to Arms
: a first-person account of American Frederic Henry, serving as a Lieutenant in the ambulance corps of the Italian Army
focuses on romance between the expatriate American Henry and and Catherine Barkley, against the backdrop of WWI, cynical soldiers, fighting and displaced people
became Hemingway's first best-seller
For Whom the Bell Tolls
: set in the mountain range between Madrid and Segovia
takes place over 4 days and 3 nights
tells the story of American Robert Jordan, who is a dynamiter, assigned to blow up a bridge between the two cities.
title taken from a John Donne series of meditations and prayers: "No man is an island, entire of its self...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
The Old Man and the Sea
: novella, not a full-length novel
story of Santiago, old fisherman, and his struggle to land a large marlin
a notorious alcoholic, he left Cuba after Castro's revolution and settled in Idaho
anxiety-ridden, depressed, with cancer, shot himself, leaving behind many unpublished manyscripts
born in Oklahoma City
openly associated with the Communist party, but lost faith in them during WWII.
Disillusionment led him to write
Invisible Man
Invisible Man
: a man's search for his identity and place in society, as seen from the perspective of an unnamed black man in the New York City of the 1930s
explores the contrasts between the Northern and Southern varieties of racism and their alienating effect
narrator is "invisible" in a figurative sense, in that "people refuse to see" him, and also experiences a kind of dissociation
died of pancreatic cancer
after his death, more manuscripts were discovered in his home, resulting in the publication of
Flying Home and Other Stories
in 1996
in 1999, five years after his death, Ellison's second novel,
, was published
a 368-page condensation of more than 2000 pages written by Ellison over a period of forty years
1st African-American woman to write a play performed on Broadway

A Raisin in the Sun
: highlights the lives of Black Americans living under racial segregation in Chicago
her own family had struggled against segregation, challenging a restrictive covenant and eventually provoking the Supreme Court case
Hansberry v. Lee
title of the play was taken from the poem "Harlem" by Langston Hughes: "What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?"
identified as a lesbian, and sexual freedom is an important topic in several of her works
died of pancreatic cancer
born in Joplin, Missouri; raised by grandmother in Lawrence, KS
a leader of the Harlem Renaissance
famously wrote about the period that "the negro was in vogue" which was later paraphrased as "when Harlem was in vogue"
one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry
"Not Without Laughter": protagonist, Sandy, whose family must deal with a variety of struggles due to their race and class, in addition to relating to one another
"The Ways of White Folks": a series of vignettes revealing the humorous and tragic interactions between whites and blacks. Overall, they are marked by a general pessimism about race relations, as well as a sardonic realism
"Montage of a Dream Deferred": a book-length poem
jazz poetry style focuses on descriptions of Harlem (a neighborhood of New York City) and its mostly African-American inhabitants
died from surgical complications related to prostate cancer
born in Alabama; traveled extensively in the Caribbean and American South doing anthropological research
was a staunch Republican and believed in self-reliance, which is a theme in many of her works
Their Eyes Were Watching God
: coming of age story that chronicles Janie Crawford, an African-American growing up in the racially-charged American South in the early 20th century
was criticized by many African-American Harlem Renaissance authors for its unflattering portrayal of the main character
died broke in a welfare home from complications from a stroke
work faded into obscurity after death, until resurgence when writers such as Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison became popular
born in Fort Scott, KS
a true Renaissance Man: successful photographer, musician, poet, writer, film director
The Learning Tree
: fictional study of a black family in a small Kansas town in the 1920's
made into 1969 movie
filmed in hometown, Fort Scott, KS
acted as director of movie, making him 1st African-American director; also wrote screenplay and composed the musical score
wrote and directed a series of blaxploitation movies in 1970s, most famous being
, a story about a black private detective hired to find the kidnapped daughter of a Harlem racketeer
made cameo in 2000 remake with Samuel L. Jackson
died of cancer; buried in Fort Scott

Confessional Poet:
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)
Multicultural Literature:

-Joseph Heller (1923-1999) -Amy Tan (1952- )
-Bernard Malamud (1914-1986)
-Maya Angelou (1928-2014 )
-Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000)
-Julia Alvarez (1950- ) -Toni Morrison (1931- )
-Sandra Cisneros (1954- ) -Alice Walker (1944- )
Native American:

-Louise Erdich (1954- )
mainly wrote poetry
leading figure of both the Beat Generation (1950s) and the counterculture that would follow it
vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism
was a practicing Buddhist
took part in decades of non-violent political protest against everything from Vietnam to the War on Drugs
"Howl": epic poem denouncing what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in US
poem attracted widespread publicity as the subject of an obscenity trial; judge ruled not obscene, stating "Would there be any freedom of press or speech if one must reduce his vocabulary to vapid innocuous euphemisms?"
died of liver cancer, related to complications of hepatitis contracted 40 yrs. earlier
novelist and poet
pioneer of the Beat Generation
had a spontaneous method of writing, covering topics such as Catholicism, jazz, promiscuity, Buddhism, drugs, poverty and travel.
became an underground celebrity and an originator of the hippie movement, although he was antagonistic toward some of its politcally radical elements
joined Navy, but only served 8 days; honorably discharged on psychiatric grounds ("schizoid personality")
staunch Catholic until mid 1950s, when he began conversion to Buddhism
"On the Road": best known work
largely autobiographical and describes his relationships with other Beat writers and friends
experimental writing style, sympathetic tone towards minorities and marginalized social groups kept publisher away-no one wanted to take on a new, controverisal form of literature
died at at 47 of internal hemmorage caused by cirrhosis, the result of a lifetime of heavy drinking
Indianapolic Colts owner paid $2.43 million for original 120-ft scroll of "On the Road" in 2007
counter-culture figure who considered himself a link between the Beat Generation (1950s) and hippies (1960s)
from La Junta, Colorado (right over border from SW KS)
in early 1960s, volunteered for a CIA study of the effects of psychoactive drugs, such as LSD and cocaine, on humans
took place at Menlo Park Veterans Hospital in CA, where he worked as a night aide
experiences were basis for best known work:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
: chronicles the power struggle between the head nurse, Nurse Ratchet, and one of the male patients, Randle McMurphy, in a mental institution
one of America's most challenged and banned books
film adaptation, starring Jack Nicholson, won 5 Academy Awards (1975)
had surgery to remove a liver tumor, never recovered and died of surgical complications
poet, novelist, short story writer
during college, awarded guest editor at Mademoiselle magazine
experience was not what she had hoped for and brought about deep depression
lashed legs at one point to see if she had enough courage to commit suicide
experience was basis for
The Bell Jar
The Bell Jar
: the heartbreaking story of a talented yound woman's decent into mental illness
originally published under pseudonym "Victoria Lucas"; not published under real name until 1971, per the wishes of her mother and husband
addresses the question of what is a socially acceptable identity
also highlighted problems with the oppressive patriarchal society of mid-20th century America
separated from husband in 1962; after this, had a sudden burst of creativity and wrote 26 poems in 7 months (later to be published posthumously as
committed suicide by placing head inside an oven and succumbed to carbon monoxide gas
satirical novelist, short story writer, playwright
studied English and USC and NYU on GI Bill
taught composition and dramatic writing at Penn State and Yale
worked as a copywriter with Mary Higgins Clark
: a broad comedy about WWII bombardier, Captain John Yossarian, based in Italy, and his efforts to avoid bombing missions
many themes in book, including: sanity v. insanity, heroism, greed, the inefficiency of bureaucracy, personal integrity, and the inevitability of death
title entered the English lexicon to refer to a vicious circle where and absurd, no-win choice, particularly in situations in which the desired outcome of the choice is an impossibility, and regardless of the choice, the same, negative outcome is a certainty
refused to work on a story until he had envisioned both the first and last line...like J.K. Rowling
died of heart attack
novelist and short-story writer
one of the best known Jewish American authors of the 20th century
despite being raised Jewish, was an agnostic humanist
wrote slowly and carefully; not a prolific writer
won Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
The Natural
: traces the life of Roy Hobbs, an unknown middle-aged baseball player who achieves legendary status with his stellar talent
made into a 1984 movie starring Robert Redford
also renowned for short stories, often oblique allegories set in a dreamlike urban ghetto of immigrant Jews
Flannery O'Connor: "I have discovered a short-story writer who is better than any of them, including myself."
The Magic Barrel
: most of the stories depeict the search for hope and meaning withing the bleak confines of a poor urban setting
title story focuses on the unlikely relationship of Leo Finkle, an umarried rabbinical student, and Pinye Salzman, a colorful marriage broker.
Dominican-American poet, novelist and essayist
spent 1st 10 years in Dominican Republic, until her father's involvement in a political rebellion forced them to flee the country
regarded as one of the most significant Latina writers
many of her works are influenced by personal experiences, with heavy focus on assimilation, identity and cultural stereotypes
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
: story spanning more than 30 yrs. in the lives of 4 sisters, beginning with their adult lives in the US and ending with their childhood in the Dominican Republic before the Trujillo dictatorship
told in reverse chronoligical order and with shifting perspectives of each sister
In the Time of Butterflies
: an account of the Miral sisters, during the time of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic
make a political statement about the regime; they are harassed, persecuted and imprisoned while their families suffer retaliation.
grew up only girl in a family w/ 6 hispanic brothers; made her feel isolated and constant migration from US to Mexico and back gave her a sense of "always straddling two countries...but not belonging to either culture."
regarded as a key figure in Chicana literature
works deal w/ the formation of a Chicana identity, the challenges of being caught between Mexican and Anglo-American cultures, misogynist attitudes present in Mexican culture, and poverty
The House on Mango Street
: coming-of-age novel about Esperanza Cordero, a young Latino girl, and her life growing up in Chicago woth Chicanos and puerto Ricans
determined to leave impoverished Latino neighborhood; discoveres you can't leave your experiences just because you leave a location
parents were Chinese immigrants
works explore mother-daughter relationships
mother was forced to leave behind 3 children from a previous marriage in China when she moved to the U.S.; became the basis for Tan's most famous novel
The Joy Luck Club
: after her mother's death, a young Chinese-American learns of her mother's tragic early life in China
focuses on 4 Chinese-American immigrant families in San Francisco who start a club known as "the Joy Luck Club," playing Chinese game of mahjong for money while feasting on a variety of foods
The Bonesetter's Daughter
: mother-daughter story of Ruth and LuLing
written in 2 parts: Ruth worried about mother LuLing and her gradual dementia
LuLing wrote down her story for Ruth in Chinese, several yrs. earlier
Ruth has the story translated and learns the truth about her mother's life in China
author, poet: 7 autobiographies, 3 books of essays, several books of poetry, plays, movies and TV shows spanning more than 50 yrs.
best known for series of 7 autobiographies
books often banned in US libraries for controversial subject matters
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
: 1st autobiography; tells of life up to age 17
novel illustrates how strength of character an a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma
All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes
: 5th autobiography; begins when Maya is 33 and recounts the yrs. she spent in Ghana, Africa
motherhood is an important theme
"On the Pulse of Morning": poem recited at President Clinton's 1993 inauguration
2nd poet to read at a presidental inauguration (Frost was 1st)
poem's themes are change, inclusion, responsibility, and role of the President and citizenry in establishing economic security
won Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1st African-American woman to win); appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to Library of Congress
born in Topeka, KS; raised in Chicago
published 1st poem at 13 in a children's magazine; by 16 had a portfolio of about 75 published poems
characters in poems often from the poverty of inner city Chicago
Annie Allen
: book of poetry in 3 parts about an African American girl, Annie, growing into womanhood
poems show how Annie changes from an egotistical romantic to a realistic idealist.
"We Real Cool": poem with repetative use of word "we"
1st word in most lines is "we"
"we play pool, we drop out of school"
Brooks intended for the "we" to be said softly when reading, as though the protagonists in the poem are questioning the validity of their existence
novelist, editor and professor
works known for epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters
won Pulitzer Prize for Beloved and Noble Prize for Literature; also has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom
The Bluest Eye:
story of the year in a life of a young black girl, Cladia McTeer, who develops an inferiority complext because of her eye color and skin appearance
controversial book (deals w/ racism, incest, child molestation): many attempts to ban it
Song of Solomon:
won Nobel; 25th best English-language novel of 20th century
novel follows the life of Macon "Milkman" Dead III, an African-American man living in Michigan, from birthto adulthood
set after the Civil War
inspired by story of slave Margaret Garnet, who temporarily escaped slavery during 1856 in Ky, by fleeing to Ohio, a free state
Posse arrives to retrieve Margaret, who chooses to kill her 2 yr old daughter rather than allow her to be recaptured
still writing; new book
God Help the Child
came out in 2015
author, poet, feminist and activist
born in Georgia to sharecropper parents; parents resisted landlords who expected children of black sharecroppers to work the fields at a young age
grew up with oral storytelling tradition; began writing down granfather's stories at 8 yrs. old
The Color Purple
: a young, African American woman sees herself as property until another woman teaches her to value of herself
set mostly in 1930s rural Georgia, addresses numerous issues including the exceedingly low position in American culture of young African American women
one of the most banned books in US libraries for explicit (graphic) content, particularly in terms of violence
themes include racism, sexism and the disruption of traditional gender roles
made into 1985 movie directed by Spielberg starring Oprah and Whoopi Goldberg
became an activist in Civil Rights Movement after meeting MLK, Jr.
writes novels, poetry and children's books
Native American; member of Ojibwa and Chippewa tribes
all of her novels center around Native Americans and their interactions with whites
Love Medicine
: June Morrissey freezes to death on her way home to the reservation
although she dies at the beginning, the figure of June holds the novel together
story told in chronological order by multiple narrators
conversational tone is representative of the storytelling tradition in Native American culture; story from Ojibwa myths, story-telling technique, and culture, also incorporates the Euro-Indian experience, especially through the younger generations, some of whom have been forced by government policy to accept, if not possess, Euro-American culture
The Birchbark House
: children's novel
follows the life of Omakayas and her Ojibwa community beginning in 1847 near present day Lake Superior
Other Contemporary Authors
Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)
Truman Capote (1924-1984)
Harper Lee (1926-2016 )
J. D. Salinger (1919-2010)
James Thurber (1984-1961)
Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)
Future Classics?
fantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery
many of his works have been adapted into comic books, television shows and films
hometown fictionalized as "Green Town" in many of his writings
influenced by Edgar Allan Poe
rejected by military for bad eyesight, so he started writing
Faharenheit 451
: presents a future American society where books are outlawed and "firemen" burn any that are found
one of the first "dystopian" novels
title is derived from the temp. at which paper burns
protagonist Guy Montag is a fireman who presents a dystopian society through the eyes of a worker loyal to it; conflicted about it and resolves to be free of it
Montag believes what he's told and hears throughout most of the book, until he sees that the pieces don't quite fit together
died at age 91 in 2012
author, screenwriter and playwriter
created a new genre-"true crime"
started writing at 11
childhood friend of Harper Lee, who based character Dill in
To Kill a Mockingbird
on him
won Pulitzer Price for
In Cold Blood
In Cold Blood
: true crime novel about the murder of a Kansas farm family in their home in Holcomb, KS
research assistant was Harper Lee; spent 4 yrs researching novel from 2 days afte funerals until time of killers executions
Breakfast at Tiffany's: novella about Holly Golightly, a country girl turned New York café society girl
has no job and lives by socializing with wealthy men, who take her to clubs and restaurants, and give her money and expensive presents; she hopes to marry one of them
made into film starring Audrey Hepburn in 1961
died from liver cancer; according to the coroner's report, the cause of death was "liver disease complicated by phlebitis and multiple drug intoxication"
published only one book until 2015
won Pulitzer Prize in 1961 for novel
To Kill a Mockingbird
: focuses on six-year-old Scout Finch, who lives with her older brother Jem and their widowed father Atticus, a middle-aged lawyer
plot and characters are loosely based on the author's observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old
Scout's friend Dill based on real-life friend Truman Capote.
themes of racial inequality, class, courage and compassion, gender roles, and loss of innocence
film adaptation won a 1962 Oscar.
awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007
took son-in-law to court on 2013 to regain copyright to novel after being coerced to sign it over to him in 2007
started writing very early in life; several published by the time he started HS
drafted into Army; active at Utah Beach on D-Day and Battle of the Bulge
met Hemingway (war correspondent) during war; appreciated each other's work and became good friends
became a Zen Buddhist in the late 1940s
Catcher in the Rye:
prep school dropout, Holden Caufield, rejects the "phoniness" he sees all around him
themes of identity, belonging, connection and alienation
frequently challenged worldwide for liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality
included on 2005 Time list of "100 Best English-Language Novels" since 1923 and Modern Library list as 100 best of 20th century
several shootings associated with novel, including Hinkley's attempted assissination of President Reagan and John Lennon's assassination
died of natural causes in 2010
cartoonist, journalist, author and humorist
one of the most popular humorists of his time; celebrated the comic frustrations and eccentricities of ordinary people
short story "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty": deals with a vague and mild-mannered man who drives his wife to their regular weekly shopping wife's visit to the beauty parlor, during which he has five heroic daydream episodes:
1st as a pilot of a U.S. Navy flying boat in a storm; 2nd as a magnificent surgeon performing a one-of-a-kind surgery; 3rd as a deadly assassin testifying in a courtroom; 4th as a Royal Air Force pilot volunteering for a daring, secret suicide mission to bomb an ammunition dump; at end, facing a firing squad, "inscrutable to the last"
Each fantasy is inspired by some detail of Mitty's mundane surroundings
The 13 Clocks
: a mysterious prince must complete a seemingly impossible task to free a maiden from the clutches of an evil duke
invokes many fairy tale motifs
died at 66 from complications of pneumonia following a stroke
enlisted in Army during WWII; experience as a soldier who was captured and a prisoner of war, profoundly influencing later work
captured during Battle of the Bulge; chosen as leader of POWs b/c he could speak German
witnessed the fire bombing of Dresden in Feb. 1945 and survived the attack in an underground slaughterhouse meat locker that was being used as a detention facility
Germans called the building Schlachthof Funf (Slaughterhouse Five)
Slaughterhouse Five
: Billy Pilgrim, an optimist from New York, shuttles between WWII Dresden and a luxurious zoon on the planet Tralfamadore
explores concepts of fate, free will, fatalism and the illogical nature of humans
Billy becomes stuck in time warp, randomly experiencing the events of his life, with no idea of what part he will visit next...Quantum Leap-ish
to the Tralfamadorians, everything simultaneously exists, therefore everyone is always alive
they have wars and suffer tragedies, but when he asks what they do about wars, they reply they simply ignore them
book subject to many censorship attempts for irreverant to and purportedly obscene content
died in 2007 after a fall that caused massive head trauma

David Foster Wallace-Infinite Jest
Nicholas Sparks--The Notebook: innocent romance
Kathyrn Stockett-The Help: tackled a social issue no one was willing to talk about
Tom Clancy--The Hunt for Red October: spy/military after the Cold War
Dr. Seuss (Theodore Giessel)--Green Eggs and Ham, The Lorax, The Great Butter Battle: children's books
Stan Lee--comics, turn into graphic novels, turn into tv and movies
John Green--Looking for Alaska: life isn't always about a happily ever after...sometimes it sucks
Shel Silverstein--poems "Where the Sidewalk Ends": poems that were funny for children
George RR Martin--Gameof Thrones: epic novels back to Americans
Laura Hillebrand--Seabiscuit and Unbroken: nonfiction fiction
Suzanne Collins--The Hunger Games: young adult contemporary dystopian
Stephen King--The Shining: brought your worse nightmares to life
James Dashner--The Maze Runner: dystopian male books
Joyce Oates--The Accursed:
Mitch Alboom--Tuesdays with Morrie: humanized death process
Gregory Macguire--Wicked: fractured fairytales
Full transcript