Online encyclopedia

   Home     Add article      About



American literature, classic American literature authors with list of their works

In the last 200 years, North American writers have produced work that is now part of the world's culture. During the 1800's and 1900's, classic American literature authors such as Ambrose Bierce and O. Henry developed the short story into a distinctively American form. There are many fine American novelists, dramatists and poets whose work has been widely influential, both in America and European Literature of the United States Before 1800, America's early colonists wrote histories about their activities, religious and moral poetry, and political pamphlets. Among the few creative writers was Edward Taylor, a Puritan minister whose fine poetry remained unpublished until the 1930's. He is now thought to be the finest poet of the colonial period.

Classic American literature authors - Whitman Classic American literature authors - Poe

Classic American literature authors

Walt Whitman was perhaps the greatest American poet of the 1800's. He is known for his vigorous free verse

Edgar Allan Poe helped to develop the short story into a major American form in the 1880's

During the 1700's, in the period before the War of Independence, classic American literature authors were mostly concerned with politics. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine were the leading political writers. Franklin satirized British policies during the War of Independence in such pamphlets as Rules For Reducing a Great Empire to a Small One. Paine encouraged the Americans in their fight against Britain in a series of pamphlets called The Crisis. Few novels or plays of any merit were written during the colonial and revolutionary period.

By the early 1800's, however, a distinctively American style of writing in novels, stories and poetry began to develop. The writers of this period, inspired by the Romantic style of European literature, emphasized freedom, individualism, the common man and nature. New York became America's literary center.

The first novelist to use an American background was James Fenimore Cooper. In his Leather Stocking Tales, a series of novels including The Deerslayer and The Last of the Mohicans, Cooper wrote exciting frontier stories that began an important tradition in American literature. Cooper and Washington Irving were the first American writers to make an important contribution to world literature. Irving headed a group of New York writers, called the Knickerbockers after Irving's satirical Knickerbocker's History of New York. Among Irving's works were versions of folk tales, such as Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Classic American literature authors Classic American literature authors

Classic American literature authors

In this reenactment of a scene from Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn visit the cemetery where they saw a murder committed. The cemetery still exists in Hannibal, Missouri

Actor Noel Purcell in the role of the carpenter in the film of Herman Melville's Moby Dick. The novel, in which Captain Ahab pursues the great white whale, Moby Dick, is thought by many to be America's greatest

Before 1850, the short story developed into an important literary form in America, with collections such as Nathaniel Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales and Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Mystery and Imagination. In the later 1800's, Ambrose Bierce was noted for his Tales of Soldiers and Civilians and Can Such Things Be? In the 1850's, the American novel reached high standards. Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is about the tragic effects of sin. Critics consider that it is the first American novel in which the form of the story and the subject are perfectly matched. Herman Melville used his experience of early years at sea in Moby Dick. Although little appreciated at the time, Moby Dick has since been recognized as perhaps the greatest American novel.

In the period before the Civil War, the campaign against slavery produced some important writing. Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, was the best-known abolitionist work. Poetry was also important in the 1800's. Early in the period, many poets became widely popular. The first and perhaps the best popular poet was William Cullen Bryant. During the mid-1800's, a talented group of poets and essayists living in and around Boston, Massachusetts, began the so-called New England Renaissance. They included Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, John Greenleaf Whittier and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Longfellow was a talented verse-maker. Such poems as The Song of Hiawatha and The Courtship of Miles Standish made him among the most popular poets of his day. Walt Whitman, however, who was perhaps the leading American poet of the 1800's, did not belong to any group. In his vigorous free verse, such as Leaves of Grass, he praised democracy, America and the joys of physical and spiritual life. Emily Dickinson was another major poet of the 1800's. Her brilliant poems examine the connection between abstract and concrete (actual) things.

Classic American literature authors - london Classic American literature authors - Steinbeck

Classic American literature authors

Jack London was an important short story writer and novelist of the early 1900's. Before turning to writing, he was in turn a sailor, hobo and goldminer. He used his experiences to good advantage in his successful, often stark and brutal adventure stories, such as Call of the Wild (1903) and White Fang (1907)

Novelist John Steinbeck dramatized the plight of poor Oklahoma farmers in his book The Grapes of Wrath

An important development of the Romantic movement of the 1800's was Transcendentalism. The transcendentalist writers emphasized the power of mind over matter and intuition over reason. They also stressed the importance of individualism and self-reliance. The leader of this movement was Ralph Waldo Emerson. He presented his theories in essays, such as Self-Reliance and Over-Soul. Emerson's chief follower was Henry David Thoreau. In his book Walden, Thoreau recorded his experiences during two years of living in solitude in the country.

The period that followed the Civil War saw the development of the local color movement of writers. Colorful, amusing descriptions of local speech and customs in American became popular through such writers as Bret Harte and Joel Chandler Harris. Harte was noted for his exciting tales about the California Gold Rush, and Harris for his versions of legends in his Uncle Remus stories. Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) was the greatest writer to emerge from this movement. His two best-known novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, set in the Mississippi River region, show a humor and insight that make Twain one of America's leading novelists.

Henry James is a complete contrast to Twain. In his novels, James examines the life of Americans visiting and living in Europe. He was the most influential writer of his period in American literature, both in America and in Europe.

The last years of the 1800's saw the arrival of the Realist and the beginnings of the Naturalist movements in writing. Such novelists as William Dean Howells and Stephen Crane began to use realism to examine the social problems of the day. Other writers developed this combination of realism and social criticism into the movement known as Naturalism. The movement was inspired by the French novelist Emile Zola, who had pioneered this approach in Europe. American Naturalist novelists, such as Theodore Dreiser in his novels Sister Carrie and An American Tragedy, wrote about the poorer people in society and how society could drive people to evil. Other leading Naturalist writers were Frank Norris, Jack London and Upton Sinclair. Writers of the 1920's and 1930's who developed the Naturalist tradition were Sherwood Anderson, John Dos Passos and John Steinbeck.

Classic American literature authors - Frost

Classic American literature authors

Robert Frost, a leading American poet of the Twentieth Century, conducts a seminar (discussion class) at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire (click to increase)

Other major classic American literature authors included Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner. Lewis was important for his criticism of small-town life in the Midwest in such novels as Main Street. Hemingway became widely popular for his tough, spare style in adventurous and realistic novels, such as A Farewell to Arms and For Whom The Bell Tolls. Scott Fitzgerald was the brilliant observer of the rich young people of the Jazz Age of the 1920's in This Side of Paradise and The Great Gatsby. William Faulkner based his long, complex novels about Southern society on an imaginary county in Mississippi. They included Intruder in the Dust and Light in August. Another important Southern novelist was Carson McCullers.

After the death of Walt Whitman, American poetry declined. However, with the founding of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse in Chicago in 1912, it began to revive. Many leading poets gained recognition because of the interest that Poetry aroused. They included Edward Arlington Robinson, Robert Frost, the most popular American poet of the 1900's, and Carl Sandburg. Frost's poems, such as Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, are simple and readable but have deep insights into human nature. Sandburg's vigorous free verse, praising democracy and the common man, made him very popular.

During the 1900's, several poets broke with tradition and made important new experiments with form to produce a new poetry that suited the times. The most important were Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot. Pound was the leader of the Imagist group of poets, who emphasized everyday speech, new rhythms and sharp, clear images (word pictures). His early Imagist works, and his complex works, such as the Cantos, strongly influenced many young American and British poets. Eliot had an even greater influence. His works, including The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land and Four Quartets, began a modern tradition of complex, symbolic poetry. Poets influenced by Eliot included Harte Crane, Marianne Moore and Wallace Stevens, e.e. cummings (who wrote his name like that) was another experimenter. He used strange punctuation and no capital letters.

The short story continued to develop during the 1900's. For example, many leading novelists and poets, such as Hemingway, Faulkner and Langston Hughes, wrote short stories. The best-known short story writer of the early 1900's, O. Henry (William Sydney Porter), was noted for his surprise endings. Slang and dialect stories by such authors as Ring Lardner and Damon Runyon became popular. The leading humorists of the 1900's were James Thurber (stories and essays), Robert Benchley (essays) and Ogden Nash (poetry).

Eugene O'Neill is generally regarded as America's first great dramatist. His plays, including The Emperor Jones (1920), Desire Under the Elms (1924) and The Iceman Cometh (1946), revolutionized American theater with their realistic themes and new stage techniques. Inspired by O'Neill, drama flourished in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Important dramatists of this period include Elmer Rice, Maxwell Anderson and Thornton Wilder.

During the 1940’s and 1950’s, many novels were written about World War II. Among the best were Norman Mailer's The Naked and The Dead and James Jones's From Here to Eternity. An outstanding novel of the early 1950's was Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man. J. D. Salinger gained wide success in the 1950's with his novel The Catcher in the Rye and short stories Franny and Zooey. Other important novelists included Saul Bellow and John Updike. Joseph Heller won great fame with the success of his satirical war novel Catch 22. Jack Kerouac became a leading novelist of the 'beat generation' of the 1950’s. During the later 1950’s and early 1960’s, James Baldwin became famous for his essays and novels, including The Fire Next Time and Another Country.

Outstanding poets since World War II include Richard Eberhardt, Robert Lowell, Richard Wilbur and the Pulitzer prize-winner Gwendolyn Brooks. Among the leading beat generation poets were Alan Ginsberg and Gregory Corso. The major dramatists of the last 20 years have included Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and Edward Albee. Williams's noted plays, in Southern settings, include A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat On a Hot Tin Roof. Miller criticized the American dream in The Death of a Salesman, and superstitious intolerance in The Crucible. Albee's successful plays include Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Death of Bessie Smith.

Classic Canadian Literature English-speaking Canadian writers were influenced by English literature and French Canadian writers by French literature. However, they share many themes. A national classic American literature began to develop in Canada after 1867, when the British North American colonies joined together. Canadian writers have been inspired by the vastness of their country and the beauty of its scenery. Frontier life has been another important theme. Major Canadian writers are listed in this article below.

USA - American literature list of authors works

The following are some of the important classic American literature authors with list of their work:

Edward Taylor (1642-1729), poet Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) - Autobiography

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) - The Rights of Man

Washington Irving (1783-1859), short story writer and essayist- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851), novelist- Leafher-stocking Tales

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), poet - To a Waterfowl

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82), essayist - Essays

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-64), novelist - The Scarlet Letter

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-82), poet-The Song of Hiawatha

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-92), poet-Snow-Bound

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-94) - The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table

Edgar Allan Ðîå (1809-49), short story writer and poet - The Murders in the Rue Morgue

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-96) - Uncle Tom's Cabin

Richard Henry Dana (1815-82), novelist - Two Years Before the Mast

Henry David Thoreau (1817-62), essayist - Walden

James Russell Lowell (1819-91), poet - Poems

Herman Melville (1819-91), novelist - Moby Dick

Walt Whitman (1819-92), poet - Leaves of Grass

Emily Dickinson (1830-86), poet

Louisa May Alcott (1832-88), novelist- Little Women

Mark Twain (1835-1910), novelist - Huckleberry Finn

Bret Harte (1836-1902), short story writer - The Outcasts of Poker Flat

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), short story writer - Tales of Soldiers and Civilians

Henry James (1843-1916), novelist - Portrait of a Lady

Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908) - Uncle Remus

Î. Henry (1862-1910), short story writer - The Voice of the City

Frank Norris (1870-1902), novelist - McTeague

Stephen Crane (1871-1900), novelist - The Red Badge of Courage

Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945), novelist - An American Tragedy

Robert Frost (1874-1963), poet - Collected Poems 1930

Sherwood Anderson (1876-1941), novelist - Poor White

Jack London (1876-1916), novelist - Òhe Sea-Wolf

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), poet - Complete Poems

Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), poet - Collected Poems

Damon Runyon (1884-1946), short story writer - Guys and Dolls

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951), novelist - Main Street

Ring Lardner (1885-1933), humorist - Best Short Stories

Ezra Pound (1885-1972), poet - Cantos

Edna Ferber (1887-1968), novelist- Giant

Raymond Chandler (1888-1959), novelist - The Big Sleep

Maxwell Anderson (1888-1959), dramatist - Winterset

T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), poet and dramatist - The Waste Land, Murder in the Cathedral

Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953), dramatist - Strange Interlude

Robert Benchley (1889-1945), humorist - The Early Worm

Elmer Rice (1892-1967), dramatist - The Adding Machine

e. e. cummings (1894-1962), poet - Poems 1923-1954

Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961), novelist - The Maltese Falcon

James Thurber (1894-1961), humorist - My Life and Hard Times

John Dos Passos (1896-1970), novelist- U.S.A.

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940), novelist - The Greaf Gatsby

Robert Sherwood (1896-1955), dramatist - The Petrified Forest

William Faulkner (1897-1962), novelist - Sanctuary

Thornton Wilder (1897 - 1975), dramatist and novelist - Our Town, The Bridge of San

Luis Rey Ernest Hemingway (1898-1961), novelist - The Old Man and the Sea

Thomas Wolfe (1900-38), novelist - Look Homeward Angel

Langston Hughes (1902-67), poet - The Weary Blues

Ogden Nash (1902-1971), humorous poet - Hard Lines

John Steinbeck (1902-68), novelist - The Grapes of Wrath

Erskine Caldwell (1903-1987), novelist - Tobacco Road

James T. Farrell (1904-1979), novelist - Young Lonigan

Richard Wright (1908-60), novelist - Native Son

Tennessee Williams (1911- 1983), dramatist - The Glass Menagerie

Ralph Ellison (1914- 1994), novelist - Invisible Man

Saul Bellow (1915-2005), novelist - Herzog

Arthur Miller (1915-2005), dramatist - Death of a Sales man

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917- 2000), poet - Annie Allen

Robert Lowell (1917 - 1977), poet - Lord Weary's Castle

Carson McCullers (1917-1967), novelist - The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Jack Kerouac (1922-69), novelist - On the Road

Norman Mailer (1923- 2007), novelist - The Deer Park

James Baldwin (1924-1987), novelist and essayist - Ànother Country, The Fire Next Time

Canada - American literature list of works

The following are some of the important classic Canadian literature authors with list of their work:

P. A. de Gaspe (1786 - 1871), novelist - Les Anciens Canadiens

John Richardson (1796 - 1852), novelist - Wacousta

Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796 - 1865), novelist - The Clockmaker, or the Sayings and Doings of Samuel Slick of Slickville

Octave Cremazie (1827 - 79), poet - Chant du vieux soldat canadien

Bliss Carman (1861 - 1929), poet - Low Tide on Grand Pre

Stephen Leacock (1869 - 1944), novelist and humorist - Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

Lucy M. Montgomery (1874-1942), novelist - Ann of Green Gables

Robert W. Service (1874-1958), poet - Ballads of a Bohemian

E. J. Pratt (1883 - 1964), poet - The Witches' Brew

Thomas B. Costain (1885 - 1965), novelist - The Money man

Mazo de la Roche (1885 - 1961), novelist - Jalnà

Ringuet (1896 - 1960), novelist - Trente Arpents

Morley Callaghan (1903 - 1990), novelist - The Loved and the Lost

Hugh MacLennan (1907 - 1990), novelist - The Watch that Ends the Night

Gabrielle Roy (1909 - 1983), novelist - Bonheurs d'occasion

Ann Wilkinson (1910-61), poet - Counterpoint to Sleep

Anne Hebert (1916 - 2000), poet - Songes en equilibre

Louis Dudek (1918 - 2001), poet - Laughing Stalks

Mordecai Richler (1931 - 2001), novelist - The Acrobats

Leonard Cohen (1934), poet - Let Us Compare Mythologies

Marie-Claire Blais (1939- ), novelist - Une Saison dans la Vie d'Emmanuel

You can read these articles also:



























































































































































































  @ - Online Encyclopedia