American Literature

 

Colonial / Pre-Revolutionary

John Smith - Generall Historie of Virginia New England and the Summer Isles

William Bradford - History of Plimmoth Plantation

John Winthrop - History of New England

Increase Mather - An Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences

Cotton Mather - Magnalia Christi Americana: The Ecclesiastical History of NE from its First Planting

Thomas Morton - New English Canaan

John Mason - Brief History of the Pequod War            

Mary Rowlandson - (wrote about captivity by Wampanoags under King Philip [Metacomet, son of

Massasoit])

Thomas Weld, Richarad Mather, John Eliot - Bay Psalm Book (Whole Book of Psalms Faithfully

Translated into English Meter)

                Anne Bradstreet - Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America (poems including A Dialogue

between Old England and New, Four Elements, Four Constitutions, Four Ages of Man,

Four Seasons, Four Monarchies, and Contemplations)

                Edward Taylor - Poetcial Works, God's Determinations Touching His Elect

                Michael Wigglesworth - Day of Doom (sinners and unbaptized infants condemned to Hell on Day

of Judgement)

                George Alsop - A Character of the Province of Maryland

                Daniel Denton - A Brief Description of New York

                Jonathan Edwards - Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising

Work of God, Freedom of the Will

                William Byrd - History of the Dividing Line, Secret Diary, Another Secret Diary

                Lucy Terry - (first by black American) Bar's Fight August 28 1746

                Jupiter Hammon - (black slave) An Evening Thought Salvation by Christ with Penitential Cries

                Phillis Wheatley - (first famous black) Poems on Various Subjects Religious and Moral

                ? - Publick Occurrences (first newspaper, Boston, 1690)

                John Campbell - Boston News-Leter (first regular newspaper, 1704)

                Andrew Bradford - American Magazine (one of first two magazines, 1741)

                Benjamin Franklin - General Magazine and Historical Chronicle (one of first two magazines,

1741), Autobiography, Poor Richard's Almanack (Richard Saunders)

                Crevecoeur (J. Hector St. John) - Letters from an American Farmer

Revolutionary and Late 1700s

                John Jay, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton - The Federalist

                Thomas Paine - Common Sense, Crisis, Age of Reason (controversial book expounding deism),

The Rights of Man (defends French Revolution)

                Hartford Wits

                                John Trumbull - M'Fingal (American Revolution: Scotch-American Tory orator M'Fingal

is tarred and feathered and repents)

                                Timothy Dwight (grandson of Jonathan Edwards) - The Conquest of Canaan, The

Triumph of Infidelity, Greenfield Hill

                                Joel Barlow - Hasty Pudding

                Philip Freneau - House of Night

                Olaudah Equiano - (freed slave) The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Gustavus Vassa the African

                William Brown - Power of Sympathy (first American novel; Harrington can't marry Harriot

Fawcett because she is his half-sister; both die)

                Hugh Henry Brackenridge - Modern Chivalry (Captain Farrago and Teague O'Regan travel,

seeing unqualified office holders, including Teague)

                Charles Brown - Wieland or the Transformation (first American novel popular in Europe), Arthur

Mervyn, Edgar Huntly

Early 1800s - First Nationalist Period / Romanticism

                Washington Irving - (the "American Goldsmith")

A History of New York by Diedrich Knickerbocker (satire of historians),

Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon (including Rip Van Winkle [Rip Van Winkle drinks

from dwarf's keg with dog Wolf in Catskills and sleeps for 20 years; like German

Peter Klaus], Sleepy Hollow [schoolmater Ichabod Crane loves Katrina Van Tassel

but is scared away by rival Brom Bones who masquerades as headless horseman]),

The Alhambra,

A Tour of the Praires,

biographies of Columbus and Washington

                William Cullen Bryant - Thanatopsis, Inscription for the Entrance to a Wood, edited New York Post

                James Fenimore Cooper -

Leatherstocking series:

Pioneers (Templeton, NY: Natty Bumppo punished for killing deer while others

kill many pigeons; Elizabeth Temple marries Edward Effingham, resolving

question of Judge Temple's lands),

Last of the Mohicans (Alice and Cora Munro try to join father at Fort William

Henry; opposed by Hurons under Magua; Uncas, his dad Delaware Chief

Chingachgook, and Hawkeye [Natty Bumppo] oppose Hurons),

Prairie (old Natty Bumppo dies; Ishmael Bush squatters),

Pathfinder (Pathfinder dumps Mabel Dunham when he learns she loves

suspected but vindicated traitor Jasper Western; Indian heroine Dew-of-June),

Deerslayer (Lake Otsego [Glimmerglass], NY: Natty Bumppo and Hurry Harry

March fight Hurons; Judith Hunter fails to interest Natty);

Pilot,

Spy,

Littlepage Manuscripts (Satanstoe, The Chainbearer, The Redskins; tenants of NY

patrons refuse to pay rent)

                Cambridge Poets

                                Henry Wadsworth Longfellow -

Evangeline (Gabriel Lajeunesse sent to LA and Evangeline Bellefontaine to NE

when Acadians expelled from Nova Scotia; meet again in Philadelphia where

she is nurse and he dies) ,

Song of Hiawatha (Ojibway Indian Hiawatha raised by grandmother Nokomis, daughter of

the moon; revenges mom Wenonah against dad West Wind; teaches peace with

whites; wife Minnehaha becomes ill and they go to Northwest Wind),

Courtship of Miles Standish (Plymouth Plantation: shy military man Miles

Standish asks John Alden to woo Priscilla Mullins for him, but she marries John

instead, and Miles gives blessing),

translated the Divine Comedy,

My Lost Youth (youth in Portland ME),

Village Blacksmith,

The Building of the Ship,

The Children's Hour,

The Wreck of the Hesperus,

Tales of a Wayside Inn (collection of poems in style of Canterbury Tales;

includes Paul Revere's Ride, Elizabeth, The Battle of Carmilhan, Emma and

Eginhard, The Saga of King Olaf)

                                James Russell Lowell - The Biglow Papers, Harvard Commemoration Ode (in honor of

Civil War dead), Among My Books, A Fable for Critics, edited the Atlantic Monthly

                                Oliver Wendell Holmes -

Autocrat of the Breakfast Table;

The Chambered Nautilus (sea creature enlarges its shell as it grows),

The Deacon's Masterpiece or The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay (shay fell apart,

satirizing Calvinist permanence),

Elsie Venner A Romance of Destiny (Elsie Venner has serpentine qualities

because mom was bitten by snake; loves Bernard Langdon but she dies),

Old Ironsides (saved USS Constitution from being scrapped)

                                John Greenleaf Whittier - (sometimes included in Cambridge Poets) Snow-Bound,

Massachusetts to Virginia (anti-slavery), Barbara Frietchie, Maud Muller (judge and

Maude meet; "It might have been"), Telling the Bees

                Frederick Douglass - (escaped slave) - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American

Slave, My Bondage and My Freedom, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass

                William Wells Brown - (escaped slave) - Clotel (about racial intermarriage, first novel by black American)

                Ralph Waldo Emerson - The American Scholar, Nature, Address at Divinity College (stressed

Christ's humanity and man's divinity), Essays, Self-Reliance, Compensation (evil and good

balance each other), Concord Hymn, Days, Merlin, The Over-Soul, Representative

Men (Shakespeare, Plato, Goethe, Swedenborg, Napoleon, Montaigne)

                Henry David Thoreau - Walden or Life in the Woods (about simple life near Concord NH), Civil

Disobedience ("that government is best which governs least"), Life Without Principle

                Count Alexis de Tocqueville - Democracy in America

                Nathaniel Hawthorne -

The Scarlet Letter (Salem: Hestor Prynne forced to wear A for committing adultery but

won't reveal dad's name; physician husband Richard Chillingsworth suspects minister

Arthur Dimmesdale, who dies after confessing; daughter Pearl finally cries),

Twice-Told Tales (tales including Howe's Masquerade, The Grey Champion, The Great

Carbuncle, and The Minister's Black Veil; title from King John),

Mosses from an Old Manse (25 stories including Young Goodman Brown [Puritan Brown, led by

old man, observes wife Faith at a witches' Sabbath in the woods and returns to Salem a

sad man], The Birthmark [Aylmer removes birthmark from perfect wife Georgiana, killing her],

Rappaccini's Daughter [doctor Rappaccini nourishes daughter Beatrice on poisons so

she may help with dangerous plant experiments; she dies drinking antidote from faithless

suitor], and The Celestial Railroad),

House of the Seven Gables (Salem: Colonel Pyncheon obtained land for House of Seven

Gables by accusing owner Matthew Maule of witchcraft; Maule cursed Pyncheons;

Clifford Pyncheon jailed for murder of uncle actually committed by Judge Jaffrey

Pyncheon; Phoebe and Holgrave, a descendant of Maule, fall in love and break the curse),

Marble Faun (Italian count Donatello loves Miriam and kills her pursuer Antonio; artist

Hilda witnesses murder, confesses to priest, and loves Kenyon),

Blithedale Romance (based on Brook Farm; Miles Coverdale narrates; Zenobia loves

Hollingsworth who loves Priscilla),

Fanshawe (Fanshawe loves Ellen Langdon, ward of Harley College President Dr.

Melmoth but gives her to man she loves and dies; modeled on Bowdoin),

The Dolliver Romance (unfinished; Dr. Dolliver makes elixir to care for granddaughter

Pansie but Colonel Dabney wants it for selfish reasons and dies),

                                Tanglewood Tales

                Herman Melville -

Typee A Peep at Polynesian Life (hero and friend Toby jump ship in Marquesas Islands

and wander into valley of Typee where cannibals capture them; Fayaway nurses hero

but he chooses to return to civilization),

Omoo A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas (crew of Julia is imprisoned on

Tahiti; hero and fried Doctor Long Ghost are released and explore the island),

Mardi and a Voyage Thither (5 men sail through Mardi on King Media's boat; stop in

Vivenza [US]; Taji kills priest Aleema to rescue Yillah; Hautia seeks Taji; others include

philosopher Babbalanja, poet Yoomy, and historian Mohi),

Moby-Dick or the White Whale (monomaniacal Captain Ahab pursues Moby-Dick; others on the

Pequod include God-fearing Starbuck, Stubb, harpooners Queequeg, Daggoo, and

Tashtego, black Pip, and fire-worshipping Parsee; only narrator Ishmael survives),

Pierre or the Ambiguities (writer Pierre Glendinning leaves mom and fiancée Lucy

Tartan for illegitimate sister, whom he comes to love; commits suicide in prison),

                                White Jacket or The World in a Man-of-War (white jacket nearly drowns narrator when he falls

into water; Jack Chase appears on US Navy man-of-war; brutal floggings condemned)

Billy Budd Foretopman (Claggart falsely accuses Billy; Billy kills Claggart; Captain

Vere reluctantly hangs Billy),

Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War,

Clarel A Poem and A Pilgrimage in the Holy Land (theological student Clarel loves Jew

Ruth while in Holy Land),

The Confidence-Man His Masquerade (Fidele MS River boat on April Fool's Day; no plot),

The Piazza Tales (short stories including The Bell Tower [artist Bannadonna rivals God],

The Lightning-Rod Man [man refuses to buy lightning-rod because he does not

control or fear God], The Enchanted Isles [sketches based on Galapagos Islands], Benito

Cerreno, Bartleby the Scrivener [Bartleby refuses to do his job proofreading legal

documents, is imprisoned, and starves]),

                Edgar Allan Poe -

Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (stories including The Fall of the House of Usher

[narrator visits Roderick Usher; twin sister Madeline Usher emerges from burial vault;

house and family destroyed] and Berenice),

The Murders in the Rue Morgue (detective C. Auguste Dupin discovers a mother and

daughter were murdered by an "Ourang-Outang"),

The Pit and the Pendulum (victim of Spanish Inquisition escapes prison by falling into a

pit; rats save him from knife-swinging pendulum; rescued by opposing army),

The Purloined Letter (C. Auguste Dupin solves case of royal woman blackmailed by a

cabinet minister on the basis of a compromising letter),

The Raven (poet is startled by raven tapping at chamber door; raven perches on bust of

Pallas Athene and answers questions about dead lover "Nevermore"),

The Tell-Tale Heart (murderer hides body of victim under floor but hears a beating heart

and confesses),

Ulalume (narrator and his soul walk in woodland on Halloween following Venus and are

stopped by door of forgotten tomb of beloved Ulalume),

Annabel Lee,

The Bells,

The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym (NE boy steals away on a whaler; drifts towards South

Pole in a canoe),

Ligeia (Ligeia dies and husband marries Rowena, who dies and turns into Ligeia),

The Golden Bug (Sullivan's Island SC: William Le Grand discovers cipher telling of

buried treasure, and drops beetle through one eye of a skull),

The Masque of the Red Death (castle masquerade ball during Plague years: Prince Prospero),

The City in the Sea

                Walt Whitman - Leaves of Grass (including When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd, O

Captain My Captain [both about Abraham Lincoln's death], and Song of Myself  ["a uniform

hieroglyphic" grass, "barbaric yawp", "look for me under your bootsoles", "origin of all poems",

reading it is "good health"]), Drum-Taps, Democratic Vistas (alarmed at superficial US), Specimen

Days & Collect, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking, Song of the Open

Road

Late 1800s - Realism, Later Naturalism

                Abraham Lincoln - Gettysburg Address, Second Inaugural Address

                Harriet Beecher Stowe - Uncle Tom's Cabin: Life Among the Lowly (Vermonter plantation owner

Simon Legree beats slave Uncle Tom to death; Uncle Tom cared for owner Augustine St. Clare's

daughter Little Eva; others include mulatto Eliza, impish black child Topsy, Miss Ophelia St. Clare,

and slave catcher Marks)

                George Washington Cable - Old Creole Days, The Grandissimes A Story of Creole Live (Frowenfeld learns

of De Grapion vs. Grandissimes family feud; African king Bras Coupe tortured to death)

                Joel Chandler Harris - Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings (black servant tells white boy tales

involving Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer Bear, and Tar Baby)

                Francis Hopkinson Smith - Colonel Carter of Cartersville

                Kate O'Flaherty Chopin - The Awakening

                Sarah Orne Jewett - The Country of the Pointed Firs

                Bret Harte - The Luck of the Roaring Camp (miners adopt Thomas Luck, son of dying prostitute

Cherokee Sal, but he dies in Kentuck's arms in flood), The Outcast of Poker Flat

(gambler John Oakhurst, two prostitutes, and a drunkard sacrifice themselves in a blizzard to

save young eloping couple)

                Joaquin Miller - (poems)

                James Whitcomb Riley - Little Orphan Annie, The Raggedy Man (boy admires farm hand)

                Sidney Lanier - The Marshes of Glynn (sea marshes of Glynn County GA), The Revenge of Hamish

                George Santayana - Sonnets and Other Verses, The Last Puritan (A Memoir in the Form of a

Novel; Puritan Oliver Alden out of place in 1900s)

                Paul Laurence Dunbar - Lyrics of a Lowly Life

                Emily Dickinson - Poems (not famous until long after her death)

                Humor Writers

                                Josh Billings - Josh Billings His Sayings

                                Petroleum V. Nasby -The Nasby Papers

                                Artemus Ward - Artemus Ward His Book

                                Finley Peter Dunne - Mr. Dooley's Opinions

                Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) -

The Celbrated Jumping Fog of Calaveras County (Simon Wheeler narrators, Jim Smiley

bets his frog Dan'l Webster can outjump any; stranger pours quail shot in frog),

The Innocents Abroad (travel letters from Europe; burlesqued sentimental travel books),

Roughing It,

Life on the Mississippi (autobiographical; river loses its romance over 7 years),

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Tom Sawyer, cared for by Aunt Polly, and friend Huck

Finn witness murder by Injun Joe in cemetery but run away in fear to Jackson's Island;

they return to witness their funerals; Tom testifies at trial of falsely accused Muff Potter;

Tom and Becky Thatcher get lost in cave with Injun Joe but escape),

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (narrated by Huck, who escapes from drunken

father and journeys down Mississippi River with runaway slave Jim),

Pudd'nhead Wilson (lawyer David Wilson exposes that Roxy's mulatto son murdered his

uncle and accused Luigi),

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court,

Tom Sawyer Detective,

The Gilded Age,

The Mysterious Stranger (Satan disguised as Philip Traum disillusions boy in 1590

Eseldorf Austria),

The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg (stranger leaves sack of money [actually lead] in a

bank in Hadleyburg and sends letters to 19 telling them how to claim it),

The Prince and the Pauper (Edward VI and pauper Tom Canty switch places for several days),

                                1601 ("Conversation as It Was by the Social Fireside in the Time of the Tudors")

                Louisa May Alcott -

Little Women (Meg mares tutor John Brooke; Beth likes music but dies young; fashionable Amy

marries Laurie; tomboyish and literary Jo marries German professor Mr. Bhaer),

Little Men (Meg and John Brooke have twins Daisy and Demi),

Jo's Boys (Jo and Mr. Bhaer turn their home into school for boys)

                William Dean Howells -

Criticism and Fiction,

A Modern Instance (Squire Gaylord tries to prevent Bartley Hubbard from divorcing his

daughter Marcia; Ben Halleck debates marrying divorced Marcia),

The Rise of Silas Lapham (Silas Lapham and wife Persis grow rich from Back Bay paint

mine on his farm and build home on Beacon Hill and try to acclimate to rich social scene;

daughter Penelope marries Tom Corey and goes to Mexico; family is financially ruined),

A Hazard of New Fortunes (Dryfoos moves to NY and makes son Conrad publisher of a

magazine; Basil March refuses to fire a socialist; Conrad is killed in a labor riot),

A Chance Acquaintance (Kitty Ellison loves Miles Arbuton as they travel on St.

Lawrence River but he ignores her),

                                A Traveller from Altruria (Aristides Homos likes utopia Altruria with democratic

Christian socialist government)

                Deam Hamlin Garland - Main-Traveled Roads

                Stephen Crane -

The Red Badge of Courage (study of fear in US Civil War soldier Henry Fleming),
Maggie A Girl of the Streets (Maggie Johnson in NY slums is seduced by bartender Pete,

becomes a prostitute, and commits suicide),

The Open Boat (captain, cook, oiler, and correspondent escape sinking ship on small

boat; oiler dies as they come ashore),

The Black Riders and Other Lines,

War Is Kind (poems, including Do Not Weep Maiden for War Is Kind),

Whilomville Stores (stories set in Port Jervis NY; in Lynx-Hunting Jimmie Trescott

shoots a cow),

The Blue Hotel (Swede comes to Nebraska looking for romantic violence),

The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky (Sheriff Jack Potter, who has no gun, encounters

Scratchy Wilson)

                Frank Norris - The Octopus (CA wheat farmers battle the railroad; love affair of Vanamee; The Pit

sequel), McTeague (McTeague prevented from practicing dentistry and murders wife Trina who

had won $5000 in a lottery; he kills Marcus Schouler but is handcuffed to the corpse and dies of

thirst in the desert)

                Helen Hunt Jackson - A Century of Dishonor (US treatment of Indians), Ramona (Scottish-Indian

Ramona elopes with Indian Alessandro)

                Ambrose Gwinett Bierce - In the Midst of Life (26 stories; young soldiers die), The Devil's

Dictionary

                Jacob Riis - How the Other Half Lives

                Jack London -

The Sea Wolf (literary critic Humphrey Van Weyden is shipwrecked in SF Bay and

rescued by Wolf Larsen on the Ghost, who makes him work as cabin boy; Maude

Brewster also rescued; Ghost wrecks and blinded Larsen prevents its repair),

The Call of the Wild (dog Buck taken from CA to Klondike; kills lead dog Spitz; owner

John Thornton killed by Indians),

White Fang (wolf-dog White Fang is abused by first owner but rescued and tamed by

mining engineer Weedon Scott in CA; Fang defends Scott from convict),

Martin Eden

                David Graham Phillips - Susan Lenox Her Fall and Rise

                Upton Sinclair - The Jungle (Lithuanian immigrant Jurgis Rudkus and wife Ono work in early

1900s Chicago stockyard)

                Theodore Dreiser -

Sister Carrie (country girl Carrie Meeber saved from cruel 1890s Chicago by salesman

Charles Drouet; George Hurstwood takes her to NY and she becomes actress but he

kills self),

Trilogy

The Financier (magnate Frank Cowperwood watches lobster devour a squid;

caught in stock crash and imprisoned; goes to Chicago to try again),

The Titan (Frank Cowperwood marries Aileen Butler and tries to gain monopoly

of utilities in Chicago; citizens foil plans and he goes to Europe with Berenice

Fleming, daughter of a Louisville madam),

The Stoic,

An American Tragedy (Clyde Griffiths seduces Roberta Alden but loves Sondra Finchly;

plans to murder Roberta but lacks the courage; fails to rescue Roberta when boat

overturns; charged with murder; based on story of Chester Gillette and Grace Brown 1906)

                Henry James -

The American (Christopher Newman, an unsophisticated American, loves Claire de

Bellegarde but opposed by aristocratic family; he decides not to reveal her mom and

brother murdered her father),

The Aspern Papers (former mistress of poet Jeffrey Aspern won't let his poems be published),

                                The Awkward Age (Nanda Brookenham and her mom love Vanderbank),

The Bostonians (post-Civil War Boston: Olive Chancellor, a radical feminist, and Basil

Ransom, a MS Confederate veteran, compete for Verena Tarrant; Miss Birdseye),

Portrait of a Lady (Isabel Archer marries Gilbert Osmond in Italy; Isabel becomes

disillusioned but stays to raise Pansy, daughter of Gilbert and Madame Merle),

The Wings of the Dove (Kate Croy loves English journalist Merton Densher but gets him

to marry dying friend Milly Theale to inherit her money; Densher cannot accept money or

promise he doesn't love  memory of Milly so Kate leaves),

The Ambassadors (New England and France: Lambert Strether sent to Paris by fiancée

Mrs. Newsome to get her son Chad who loves Madame de Vionnet),

The Golden Bowl (Prince Amerigo marries Maggie Verver but has affair with Maggie's

friend Charlotte Stant; Charlotte marries Maggie's dad Adam Verver),

The Turn of the Screw (governess, in love with employer, cares for orphans Miles and Flora, who

are under evil influence of the ghosts of Peter Quint, ex-stewart, and Miss Jessel,

ex-governess),

Roderick Hudson (American sculptor Roderick Hudson, who loves Christina Light, goes

to Rome and becomes disillusioned),

The Princess of Casamassima (Princess Casamassima, formerly Christiana Light, studies

poverty in London and meets radical Hyacinth Robinson),

The Passionate Pilgrim and Other Stories (Clement Searle goes to England to claim rich

estate but dies),
The Spoils of Pynton (Owen Gereth refuses to marry Fleda Vetch so his mom removes

art treasures from his house; he marries Mona Brigstock and offers Fleda art but house

burns down),

                                What Maisie Knew (12-year-old Maisie Farange spends 6 months with each of divorced

parents, each of whom are remarried and having affairs again),

Notes on Novelists,

The Sacred Fount (older partner is refreshed and younger depleted in marriage),

The Art of the Novel,

Daisy Miller (narrator Frederick Winterbourne regrets rigid adherence to European

conventions when Daisy Miller dies of Roman fever),

The Europeans (artist Felix Young and his sister Baroness Munster visit relatives the

Wentworths in Boston)

                WEB Du Bois - Souls of Black Folk, The Quest for the Silver Fleece

                Frank J. Webb - The Garies and Their Friends

                Sutton Griggs - Imperium in Imperio

                Charles Chesnutt - The Conjure Woman, The Marrow of a Tradition

                James Parton - biographies of Greeley, Jefferson, and others

                George Bancroft - History of the United States

                William Hickling Prescott - History of the Conquest of Mexico

                Henry Brooks Adams - History of the United States During the Administration of Thomas

Jefferson and James Madison, The Education of Henry Adams

                Henry George - (economist) Progress and Poverty

                Edward Bellamy - Looking Backward 2000-1887

                Henry Charles Corey - (economist) Past Present and Future

                Lester Frank Ward - Dynamic Sociology

                William James - The Principles of Psychology, The Will to Believe

Twentieth Century

                Major Authors and Poets

                                Edith Wharton -

The House of Mirth (orphan Lily Bart loves Lawrence Seldon but reject him

because he is poor; blackmailed and falsely accused by other men; becomes

milliner and takes overdose of sleeping pills),

The Age of Innocence (NY 1870s: Neland Archer marries May Welland but

loves her cousin Ellen Olenska),

Ethan Frome (MA farm: farmer Ethan Frome marries whining hypochondriac

Zeena but loves her cousin Mattie; Ethan and Mattie injured in bobsled suicide

attempt; Zeena becomes devoted nurse and Mattie becomes nag),

The Custom of the Country (Undine Spragg samples pleasures, marries

millionaire from hometown),

                                                Old New York (4 novellas about 1840 to 1880, including False Dawn [Lewis

Raycie buys modern pictures], The Old Maid [Charlotte Lovell's cousin raises

her illegitimate daughter Tina], The Spark [Walt Whitman influences old man],

New Year's Day [wife sacrifices for sick husband])

                                Willa Cather -

A Lost Lady (Marian Forrester's pioneer husband dies and she becomes mistress of Ivy

Peters; Niel Herbert adores her; she disappears to South America),

Death Comes for the Archbishop (Jean Latour and Father Joseph Vaillant

establish diocese in NM),

My Antonia (Bohemian immigrant Antonia Shimerda works on farms after

father's suicide, elopes with railway conductor, and marries farmer Anton

Cuzak; others include lawyer Jim Burden),

O Pioneers (Alexandra Bergson takes over NE farm when dad dies; brother Emil

killed; marries Carl Linstrum),

One of Ours (Claude Wheeler grows up on Western farm, goes to college, killed

in army in France),

                                                The Song of the Lark (Coloradoan Thea Kronborg, daughter of Swedish

clergyman, goes to Chicago, has affair with Fred Ottenburg, and becomes

soprano at Met. Opera House in NY),

Alexander's Bridge,

Youth and the Bright Medusa (stories, including Paul's Case)

                                Sherwood Anderson - Winesburg Ohio (23 stories; reporter George Willard develops),

Dark Laughter, The Triumph of the Egg (chicken farmer is unable to perform simple trick

with an egg)

                                Sinclair Lewis (first American to win Nobel Prize) -

Main Street (Carol Kennicott tires of physician husband Will and tries to bring

culture to dull Gopher Praire, MN [based on Sauk Centre]),

Dodsworth,

Arrowsmith (Martin Arrowsmith, a bacteriologist, goes to VT farm and West Indies),

Babbit (Zenith, the Zip City: George F. Babbitt, real estate broker, fears

ostracism but encourages son Tom to rebel),

Elmer Gantry (Kansas City: ex-football player Elmer Gantry becomes popular

but hypocritical minister)

                                                It Can't Happen Here (Berzelius Windrip sets up fascist dictatorship in US;

Doremus Jessup and Walt Trowbridge in Canada oppose him)

                                Ernest Hemingway -

The Sun Also Rises (Lost Generation 1925 France: journalist Jake Barnes narrates;

Lady Brett Ashley is divorcing and may love Jake but plans to marry Michael

Campbell and has affair with Spanish bullfighter Pedro Romero in Pamplona;

others include Greek Bill Gorton and American-Jewish writer Robert Cohn),

A Farewell to Arms (WWI ambulance driver Lt. Frederic Henry loves English

nurse Catherine Barkley, who becomes pregnant; Henry deserts after Caporetto

in Italy and they go to Switzerland, where she dies),

In Our Time (short stories about Nick Adams, including Indian Camp and Big

Two-Hearted River),

Men Without Women (short stories including The Killers [Nick Adams warns

Ole Andreson that two hired gunmen from city are coming to kill him], The

Undefeated, Fifty Grand, Hills Like White Elephants, A Simple Inquiry),

For Whom the Bell Tolls (Spanish Civil War: American professor Robert Jordan

assigned by Pablo and Pilar to blow up a bridge; Jordan loves Maria for three

days; Jordan carries out mission but is left to die; title from Donne's Devotions

upon Emergent Occasions),

The Old Man and the Sea (Cuban fisherman Santiago catches marlin on 85th day

but it is slowly eaten by sharks on way home),

                                                The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber (English guide Wilson saves

Macombers from lion on African safari; next day Macomber fights wild buffalo

but wife shoots him),

                                                The Snows of Kilimanjaro (writer Harry goes on African safari to "work fat off

his mind" but gets gangrene, sees vision of a frozen leopard, and dies),

                                                To Have and Have Not (Harry Morgan smuggles Chinese and liquor in Key

West during Depression and is shot)

F. Scott Fitzgerald -

The Great Gatsby (Jazz Age Long Island: Jay Gatsby loves Daisy

Buchanan, cousin of narrator Nick Carraway, but she stays with husband Tom;

Daisy runs over Tom's mistress Myrtle Wilson and Tom shoots Jay),

Tender Is the Night (wealthy schizophrenic Nicole Warren marries her

psychiatrist Dick Diver; she becomes mentally stable but he deteriorates; she

leaves him for a lover),

This Side of Paradise (spoiled Middle Westerner Amory Blaine goes to

Princeton and joins literary cults; loves Rosaline Commase but is rejected;

serves in WWI; starts career in advertising)

                                Stephen Vincent Benet - The Devil and Daniel Webster (NE farmer Jabez Stone sells his

soul to the devil but is saved by Webster's oratory before demonic jury, John Brown's

Body (Civil War narrative beginning with Harper's Ferry), Western Star

                                John Steinbeck -

Of Mice and Men (strong giant half-wit migrant worker Lennie accidentally kills woman

who seduces him and is shot by friend George to protect him from lynch mob),

The Grapes of Wrath (Joad family travels from OK to CA during the Great

Depression to find work picking fruit; Tom Joad becomes involved in strikes and

kills a man; Rose of Sharon has baby),

Travels with Charlie,

In Dubious Battle (Communist Mac's friend Jim Nolan murdered; Doc Burton

helps striking CA fruit pickers),

East of Eden (Salinas Valley: Adam Trask and Cathy have two sons; Cal kills

Aron by telling him mom is a prostitute),

Tortilla Flat (carefree Danny meets with simple friends Pablo, Big Joe Portagee,

Jesus Maria Corcoran, and Pirate in his home, "like the Round Table"),

The Pearl (CA Indian pearl-fisher and wife Juana's baby bitten by scorpion; they

pay doctor with large pearl)

                                John Dos Passos -

USA Trilogy (panoramic picture of US life from just before WWI to Great

Depression; The 42nd Parallel, 1919, The Big Money; consists of

"newsreels," "camera eyes," and biographies),

Manhattan Transfer (NYC: journalist Jimmy Herf and actress wife Ellen Thatcher

divorce; Bud Korpenning commits suicide; gambler Joe Harland

becomes beggar),

Three Soldiers (3 American WWI soldiers: Italian Dan Fuselli, Indianan

Chrisfield, musician John Andrews)

Thomas Clayton Wolfe -

Look Homeward Angel (describes youth of Eugene Gant in Altamont, Catawba

[based on Asheville, NC]; Eugene attends mother's boarding house, has

romance, and goes to college; brother Ben Gant dies at St.Louis World's Fair),

Of Time and the River (Eugene Gant studies drama at Harvard under James

Hatcher; dad dies; tours France; teaches literature in NYC),

The Web and the Rock (George Webber goes to "Enfabled Rock" of NY and

has affair with scenic designer Mrs. Esther Jack but he breaks from her web

of devotion to NY to seek stability),

You Can't Go Home Again (George Webber returns from Germany, resumes

affair with Esther Jack, becomes writer, and is disillusioned by hometown)

                                William Faulkner -

Soldiers' Pay,

The Reivers,

Sanctuary (Popeye rapes Temple Drake with corn cob and takes her to a

Memphis brothel, but she protest him and testifies against Lee Goodwin,

defended by Horace Benbow, and Goodwin is lynched),

The Sound and the Fury (4 sections narrated by Compson family: idiot Benjy;

Harvard student Quentin, whose ties with sister Caddy shattered by her

loveless marriage; Jason, who keeps money Caddy sends to support daughter

Quentin; black cook Dilsey),

The Hamlet - The Town - The Mansion trilogy (Flem Snopes becomes part

owner of Will Varner's store in Frenchman's Bend and marries his daughter

Eula; becomes VP of bank in Jefferson and drives president Manfred De Spain

from town; Gavin Stevens loves Eula and her daughter Linda),

Go Down Moses (series of stories about McCaslin family in Yoknapatawpha

County, including Was, The Fire and the Hearth, Pantaloon in Black, and The

Bear [hunt for Big Ben]),

Light in August (part-black Joe Christmas employed by Joe Brown has affair

with Joanna Burden and kills her; Christmas is killed by mob; pregnant Lena

Grove comes to Jefferson looking for her lover; Revereand Gail Hightower loses

his church because of devotion to the past),

Absalom Absalom (Thomas Sutpen elected colonel in Jefferson MS's Civil War

regiment; daughter Judith's lover Charles Bon killed by Sutpen's son),

As I Lay Dying (husband Anse and kids Cash, Darl, Jewel, Vardaman, and

Dewey Dell carry body of Addie Bundren to Jefferson MS),

A Fable (allegory of Jesus in WWI France),

Knight's Gambit (stories involving Detective Gavin Stevens, including Monk),

Requiem for a Nun (Temple Drake marries Gowan Stevens; Pete blackmails her; black

servant Nancy Manningoe kills her youngest child, but Temple also is responsible),

Intruder in the Dust (Chick Mallison, Aleck Sander, and Miss Eunice

Habersham prove innocence of non-servile black Lucas Beuchamp),

                                                Sartoris (Col. John Sartoris's descendant Bayard returns from WWI guilty about

brother John's death; grandfather dies of heart attack in car; Bayard marries

Horace Benbow's sister Narcissa; Bayard dies as Ohio test pilot),

                                                The Unvanquished (7 stories about Sartoris family during Civil War; adventures

of Bayard Sartoris and black companion Ringo),

These Thirteen (short stories including A Rose for Emily [Southern spinster

Emily Grierson locks Yankee construction worker Homer Barron, who courted

her, in upstairs bedroom, where he dies])

                                E. E. Cummings - The Enormous Room (WWI French concentration camp where

Cummings was imprisoned on false treason charge)

                                Norman Mailer -

The Naked and the Dead (Lt. Robert Hearn's infantry platoon invade

Japanese island in Pacific in WWII),

The Executioner's Song,

An American Dream (Stephen Rojack),

Armies of the Night ("History as a Novel, the Novel as History" from Dover

Beach; anti-Vietnam march on Pentagon)

                                Jame Michener - Tales of the South Pacific

                                John Hersey - A Bell for Adano, Hiroshima (tells of nuclear bombing throught the eyes

of six people, including priest, minister, and two doctors)

                                JD Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye (Holden Caulfield runs away from his prep school

and drifts about NY), Franny and Zooey (college student Franny Glass and actor brother

Zooey feel alienated)

                                Joseph Heller - Catch-22 (Pianosa Island during WWII: Yossarian can only stop bombing

missions if insane but wanting to stop is sane), Something Happened, Good as Gold

                                Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse-Five or the Children's Crusade A Duty-Dance with

Death (optometrist Billy Pilgrim survives Dresden firebombing and returns to Illium NY;

kidnapped by aliens from Talfamadore who teach about 4D world),

Cat's Cradle, Player Piano

                                Robert Heinlein - Stranger in a Strange Land (a Martian)

                                John Barth - Giles Goat-Boy The New Revised Syllabus (computer WESAC's developer

Max Spielman designates George Giles, who had been raised by goats and opposed by

poet Harold Bray, as Our Great Tutor; Giles's teachings are edited by WESAC, the

academician JB, and a publisher), The Sot-Weed Factor (Ebenezer Cooke

comes from England to take charge of MD tobacco plantation Malden)

                                Robert Penn Warren - All the King's Men (US South: Willie Stark, like Huey Long;

narrated by Jack Burden)

                                O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) - The Four Million (title from NYC population; 25

stories including An Unfinished Story and The Gift of the Magi [poor man sells watch

to buy combs for wife, who sells hair to buy watch fob for him]), The Last Leaf (ill girl

decides to die when last of five leaves outside her window falls but one hangs) , A

Retrieved Restoration (Jimmy Valentine tries to reform but foiled when he opens a safe

during an emergency)

                                John Cheever - The Wapshot Chronicle, Falconer

                                John Updike - Rabbit Run (salesman Harry Angstrom leaves alcoholic wife Janice and

child to find freedom but returns), Rabbit is Rich, Rabbit at Rest

                                Ezra Pound - Pipostes, Cantos (ancient Greece, 1800s US, Renaissance Italy; Pisan

Cantos written when arrested for pro-Fascist Italian radio broadcasts, awarded Bollingen

Prize; Section Rock-Drill), Personae ("masks of the actor")         

                                Winston Churchill - The Crisis (Stephen Brice and Virginia Carvel in St. Louis), Richard Carvel

(hero rescued by John Paul Jones in American Revolution)

                                Edwin Arlington Robinson - The Town Down the River, Miniver Cheevey, Richard

Cory, The Man Against the Sky

                                Robert Frost - North of Boston, Stopping by Woods on Snowy Evening, The Road Not

Taken (takes the one less traveled and "that has made all the difference"), The Gift

Outright, Fire and Ice, Mending Wall (narrator's neighbor says "good fences make good

neighbors"), A Boy's Will, Birches, The Death of the Hired Man (farmer and wife debate

keeping returned hired man), A Further Range (including Ten Mills and Build Soil)

                                Edna St. Vincent Millay - Ballad of the Harp Weaver, A Few Figs from Thistles

                                William Carlos Williams - (NJ pediatrician) Paterson (Passaic River, NJ: mythical

Paterson wanders about his environs and reflect on history of the locale and

contemporary scene), In the American Grain (study of Columbus, Cortez, De Soto,

Raleigh, Franklin, and others)

                                Ray Bradbury - Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles

                                James Agee - Death in the Family, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (about AL farmers in

the Depression, with photographer Walker Evans)

                                Zane Grey - Riders of the Purple Sage, The Last of the Plainsmen, Tales of Fishing

                                N. Scott Momaday - (American Indian) The House Made of Dawn

                                Archibald MacLeich - Collected Poems, The Pot of Earth (fertility rite)

                                Ayn Rand - The Fountainhead (architect Howard Roark, possibly based on Frank Lloyd

Wright, turns down commissions rather than sacrifice integrity), Atlas Shrugged (railroad

worker Dagny Taggart finds government-free utopia at Gat's Gulch, CO)

                                Nathaniel West - Miss Lonelyhearts (love advice columnist murdered), The Day of the

Locust (Hollywood painter Tod loves starlet; paints "The Burning of Los Angeles")

                                Robert and Helen Lynd - Middletown (Muncie IN)

                                Lillian Hellman - The Children's Hour (lesbian teachers), The Little Foxes (story of

Hubbard family condemns new industrial Southerners), Watch on the Rhine (German

refugee kills informer at German embassy in US)

                                John Phillips Marquand - The Late George Apley (A Novel in the Form of a Memoir;

Horatio Willing tells about life of Bostonian George Apley), Wickford Point (upper-class

family near Boston declines)

                Jewish Authors

Saul Bellow -

The Adventures of Augie March (Chicago 1930s: Augie March refuses

settled life; brother Simon March marries rich),

Herzog (Prof. Moses Herzog, at his MA summer home, writes letters about ex-

wife Madeleine and ex-friend; brought to senses by semicomic misadventures),

Humboldt's Gift (Charles Citrine falls under spell of Von Humboldt Fleisher and

Rinaldo Cantabile; debates isolated life of art)

                                Bernard Malamud - The Assistant, Idiots First, The Fixer, The Natural

                                Isaac Bashevis Singer - The Magician of Lublin

                                Philip Roth - Goodbye Columbus, Portnoy's Complaint (Alexander Portnoy resents

expectations and sacrifice of domineering mother Sophie Portnoy), Zuckerman Bound,

American Pastoral

                Harlem Renaissance

                                Claude McKay - Home to Harlem, Banjo

                                Countee Cullen - Color, The Ballad of the Brown Girl

                                Langston Hughes - The Weary Blues (Jesse B Simple)

                                Jean Toomer - Cane

                Other Major African-American Authors

                                Richard Wright - Native Son (Bigger Thomas, from Chicago slums, is victimized for

being black, commits two murders, is defended by a Communist lawyer, and sentenced

to death), Black Boy

                                James Baldwin - Go Tell It on the Mountain, Nobody Knows My Name, Another

Country (study of love among blacks and whites in NYC)

                                Ralph Ellison - Invisible Man (narrator-hero searches for identity in South and in Harlem)

                                Alice Walker - The Color Purple (Celie made pregnant twice by dad by age 14 and sold

to Albert but befriends Shug), Meridian

                                Toni Morrison - The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved (Sethe kills her

daughter Beloved rather than have her grow up a slave)

Maya Angelou - Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Die, I Know Why the Caged

Bird Sings

                Southern Gothic

Carson McCullers -

The Member of the Wedding (Frankie Addams wants to accompany

her brother on his honeymoon; cousin John Henry gets sick; black cook

Berenice Sadie Brown),

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (eccentric tomboy Mick Kelly, goodhearted Biff

Brannon, drunken Jake Blount, and black intellectual Dr. Benedict Copeland

admire deaf mute Singer, who commits suicide),

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (Amelia Evans rejects her husband Marvin Macy

and turns her general store into a cafe when her cousin Lymon comes; 6 years

later Lymon loves Marvin and they torment)

                                Truman Capote - Other Voices Other Rooms (Joel Knox meets Randolph, Jesus Fever,

and dad at Skully's Landing and achieves self-awareness at Cloud Hotel), In Cold Blood,

Breakfast at Tiffany's

                                Eudora Welty - The Ponder Heart, The Optimist's Daughter, The Wide Net, The Delta Wedding

Flannery O'Connor - The Violent Bear It Away

                Illinois Group

                                Edgar Lee Masters - Spoon River Anthology (deceased people from Spoon River narrate

biographies from cemetery)

                                Carl Sandburg - Chicago Poems, Abraham Lincoln (The Prairie Years, The War Years),

The People Yes, Rootabaga Stories

                                Vachel Lindsay - The Congo, The Santa Fe Trail A Humoresque (contrasts industrial

civilization with Rachel-Jane bird)

                Beat Generation (1950s)

                                Jack Kerouac - On the Road (Sal Paradise [Kerouac] hitch-hikes across US with Carlo

Marx [Ginsberg] and Dean Moriarity [Cassady]),

                                Allen Ginsberg - Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems (elegy for mom Naomi)

                                Lawrence Ferlingheti - Pictures from the World Gone Wild

                                William Burroughs - The Naked Lunch

                Drama

                                Edward Albee - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (history professor George and wife

Martha invite new instructor and barren wife for a drink; all get drunk and become

sadistic), Seascape, Tiny Alice, Three Tall Women, The Zoo Story (bum Jerry accosts

Peter in Central Park and stabs himself)

                                Maxwell Anderson - Winterset (based on Saccho and Vanzetti; Mio, whose Italian

radical father was executed for murder he didn't commit, loves Miriamne; both killed by

gangsters), Gods of the Lightning, Night Over Taos, What Price Glory? (written with

Laurence Stallings; Capt. Flag and Sgt. Quirt compete for French girl in WWI)

                                Georges Kaufman - You Can't Take It with You (written with Moss Hart; happy but

bizarre NY Vanderhof family), Of Thee I Sing (Presidential candidate John Wintergreen

campaigns on love platform and marries Atlantic City beauty contest winner)

                                Arthur Ashur Miller - The Crucible (1692 Salem: John and Elizabeth Proctor, Abigail

Williams accuses Elizabeth of witchcraft, Mary Warren also makes accusations, Giles

Corey), Death of a Salesman (salesman Willy Loman considers himself a failure and

commits suicide; other characters include wife Linda and sons Biff and Happy)

                                Eugene O'Neill -

                                                Ah, Wilderness (July 4 1906: adolescent Tommy Miller in adult world)

                                                All God's Chillun Got Wings (Ella Downey marries lawyer Jim Harris, becomes

racist to feel superior)

Anna Chrisitie (Christopher Christopherson, a Swedish-American barge

captain, sends daughter Anna Chrisite to St. Paul where she becomes a

prostitute; she loves Mat Burke),

                                                Beyond the Horizon (brothers Robert and Andrew Mayo love same woman),

Desire Under the Elms (elderly father Ephraim Cabot marries Abbie, who

seduces his son Eban),

Emperor Jones (Brutus Jones, a former Pullman porter, sets himself up as a

West Indian island dictator but is killed in revolt),

                                                The Great God Brown (successful businessman takes the mask of artist Dion Anthony),

The Iceman Cometh (NYC: salesman Theodore Hickman in End of the Line

Café bar tells about killing his wife),

                                                Lazarus Laughed (Lazarus preaches new religion of laughter after being raised

by Jesus; Caligula stabs Lazarus),

Long Day's Journey Into Night (autobiographical story of actor Edmund Tyrone

and family, including drunk son and servant Cathlen),

                                                Marco Millions (Kublai Khan's daughter loves Marco Polo but he only wants money),

                                                A Moon for the Misbegotten (unfulfilled love of alcoholic and farm woman),

Mourning Becomes Electra (trilogy based on Oresteia by Aeschylus, set in post

Civil War NE; General Ezra Mannon's [ Agamemnon] wife Christine

[Clytemnestra] has affair with Adam Brant [Aegisthus], and daughter Lavinia

[Electra] persuades her brother Orin [Orestes] to shoot him),

Strange Interlude (Nina Leeds' fiancée dies in WWI; she marries Sam Evans but

aborts their child but has baby from affair with Dr. Darrell),

The Hairy Ape (ship stoker Yank rejected by IWW and crushed by gorilla at NYC zoo)

                                Tony Kushner - Angels in America

                                William Saroyan - The Human Comedy, The Time of Your Life (lovable eccentrics and

Detective Blick of the Vice Squad meet in waterfront saloon)

                                Robert Sherwood - Idiot's Delight, Road to Rome, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, The Petrified

Forest (Alan Squier, hitchhiking NE author, gets gangster to kill him so his insurance

money can save lunchroom owner's daughter), There Shall Be No Night

                                Neil Simon - Biloxi Blues, Odd Couple, The Sunshine Boys, Broadway Bound, Brighton

Beach Memoirs, Lost in Yonkers

Thornton Wilder -

Our Town (Grover's Corners, NH: Stage Manager talks to audience; Professor

Willard and Editor Webb commend on daily life; Webb's daughter Emily

marries George Gibbs; Emily dies in childbirth),

The Skin of Our Teeth (George Antrobus, his family, and temptress maid Sabina

survive world upheavals throughout history, including Ice Age, Deluge,

and WWII),

The Matchmaker,

The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1714 Peru: Brother Juniper investigates death of 5

travelers on bridge),

Theophilus North

Tennessee Williams -

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Big Daddy Pollitt is dying of cancer on MS Delta; son Gooper

wants inheritance; other son Brick accuses his wife Maggie of causing his

friend's death; Maggie says she is pregnant to help Brick get inheritance),

The Glass Menagerie (St. Louis: Tom Wingfield narrates; mother Amanda asks

Tom to bring a gentleman caller for crippled sister Laura, who has withdrawn to

private universe of her glass animals; Laura temporarily emerges into real world

when the horn of the glass unicorn breaks),

A Streetcar Named Desire (New Orleans: faded belle Blanche DuBois comes to live with

sister Stella and her husband Stanley Kowalski, who warns a friend not to marry

Blanche and then rapes her; streetcars Desire and Cemetery run on same track),

                                                The Rose Tattoo (dressmaker Serafina Delle Rose's truckdriver husband is killed; 3 years

later she marries truckdriver with tattoo on chest like husband did)

                Recent Bestselling Authors

                                Larry McMurtry - Lonesome Dove

                                John Grisham - The Firm, The Client, The Chamber, The Testament

                                Michael Crichton - Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Rising Sun, Sphere

                                Tom Clancy - Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger

                                Stephen King - The Shining, The Stand, Insomnia

Known Primarily For One Work

                                James Thomas Farrell - Studs Lonigan (trilogy: Young Lonigan, The Young Manhood of

Studs Lonigan, and Judgment Day; Studs Lonigan, son of Irish Catholics in Chicago,

has affair with Iris, loves Lucy Scanlan, and works as house painter; friend Wery

Reilley rapes Irene at party; Studs becomes unemployed and has affair with Catherine

Banahan)

                                Edgar Rice Burroughs - Tarzan of the Apes

                                Shirley Jackson - The Lottery (winner is stoned)

                                James Jones - From Here to Eternity (story of life in US army before Pearl Harbor; title

from Kipling's Gentlemen Rankers)

                                Vladimir Nabokov - Lolita (Humbert Humbert loves 12-year-old Dolores Haze, whom he

calls Lolita, and marries her mom Charlotte, who dies; Lolita seduces him but marries

Clare Quilty, whom Humbert murders), Pale Fire (Charles Kinbote, who imagines himself

king of Zembla, edits murdered John Shade's poem; 999 lines)

                                L Frank Baum - The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

                                Alex Haley - Roots (many generations of slaves from Gambia, including Kunta Kinte)

                                Malcolm Little and Alex Haley - The Autobiography of Malcolm X

                                Pearl Buck - The House of Earth Trilogy including The Good Earth (China: Wang Lung

and wife O-lan rise from poverty to wealth but sons don't share their respect for the land),

Erskine Caldwell - Tobacco Road (Georgia sharecropper Jeeter Lester and sickly wife

Ada have 3 kids; Jeeter's widowed preacher sister Bessie Rice gets Jeeter's son Dude to

marry her by buying him a car, which he crashes, killing his grandmother; daughter Pearl

married at 12 to railroad worker Lov Bensey, who then lives with other daughter Ellie May;

 Jeeter and Ada die in shack fire), God's Little Acre (protagonist shifts location of acre on

his farm dedicated to the church)

                                Edward Hale - The Man Without a Country

                                Dashiell Hammett - The Maltese Falcon (private eye Sam Spade investigates theft of

jewel-encrusted Maltese Falcon of Knights Templar; hard-boiled fiction), The Thin Man

John Knowles - A Separate Peace (NE prep school: narrator Gene Forrester and good

student Brinker each cause adventurous Phineas to fall, and he dies)

                                Walter Clark - The Ox-Bow Incident (three alleged cattle rustlers are lynched just as

news comes that they are innocent)

                                DuBose Heyward - Porgy (crippled black beggar Porgy becomes involved in murder in

Catfish Row, Charleston; others include Bes, Sportin' Life, Crown, and Serena)

Ken Kesey - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (mental hospital patient Randle Patrick

McMurphy stages guerilla warfare against evil nurse Miss Ratched)

                                Margaret Mitchell - Gone With the Wind (Civil War Georgia: Scarlett O'Hara of Tara

plantation loves Ashley Wilkes but he marries Melanie Hamilton; Scarlett is widowed

twice, then marries Rhett Butler; Alexandra Ripley wrote 1992 sequel Scarlett)

                                Charles Bernard Nordhoff and James Normal Hall - Mutiny on the Bounty (Roger Byam

narrates mutiny of Fletcher Christian against Capt. William Bligh on the HMS Bounty in

1789; sequels Men against the Sea and Pitcairn's Island)

                                Katherine Anne Porter - Ship of Fools (German ship sails from Veracruz to Bremerhaven

1931), Pale Horse Pale Rider (3 novels including Pale Horse Pale Rider [WWI soldier and

Southern journalist have affair during influenza epidemic], Noon Wine [farmer Mr.

Thompson kills stranger], and Old Mortality)

                                Marjorie Rawlings - The Yearling (northern Florida boy Jody loves a fawn but must

shoot it when it eats family corn)

                                Lew Wallace - Ben-Hur A Tale of the Christ (Judah Ben-Hur falsely accused by Messala,

whom he defeats in chariot race)

Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird (AL town: lawyer Atticus Finch defends a black

man; his daughter Scout Finch narrates)

                                John Kennedy Toole - A Confederacy of Dunces

                                Amy Tan - The Joy Luck Club

                                Betty Frieden - The Feminine Mystique         

Other Authors and Poets

                                Ellen Glasgow - In This Our Life, Barren Ground, Vein of Iron

                                Jerzy Kosinski - The Painted Bird (autobiographical story of Polish boy in WWII)

                                Grace Metalious - Peyton Place (vice and crime in NE town)

                                William Henry Hudson - Green Mansions (Mr. Abel tells of his affair with bird girl

Rima, killed by savages, in South America)

                                Gertrude Stein - Three Lives (The Good Anna [kindly German servant], Melanctha

[uneducated black girl], The Gentle Lena [dumb German maid]), Autobiography of Alice

B. Toklas (her secretary), Four Saints in Three Acts (opera by Virgil Thomson with

all-black cast), The Making of Americans (autobiographical Martha Hersland)

                                John James O'Hara - Appointment in Samarra

                                Zora Neale Hurston - Their Eyes Were Watching God

                                Arna Bontemps - God Sends Sundays, Black Thunder

                                Irwin Shaw - The Young Lions

                                Henry Miller - Tropic of Cancer (young poet reaches peak of creative powers)

                                Edna Ferber - Show Boat (MS showboat owner Captain Andy Hawks marries NE

teacher Parthy Ann; actress daughter Magnolia marries Gaylord Ravenal; daughter Kim

becomes Broadway star)

                                Thomas Heggen - Mr. Roberts

                                Joyce Carol Oats - A Garden of Earthly Delights, Bellefleur, Mysteries of Winterthurn

                                Anne Tyler - Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant

                                Gloria Naylor - The Woman of Brewster Place

                                Harriot Monroe - edited Poetry: A Magazine of Verse

                                Amy Lowell - Men Women and Ghosts, Sword Blades and Poppy Seed

                                Wallace Stevens - Peter Quince at the Clavier (Susanna in the Apocrypha), Sunday Morning,

Le Monocle de Mon Oncle, Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction, The Necessary Angel

                                Robert Lowell - Life Studies (confessional; travel poems, childhood, tributes to Crane

Schwartz Sntayana and Ford, family portraits)

                                Raymond Chandler - Farewell My Lovely (Los Angeles: Philip Marlowe searches for

missing woman and serves as bodyguard for man looking for a stolen necklace)

                                Hamlin Garland - Main-Travelled Roads (stories about Iowa and Dakota farmers,

includes Under the Lion's Paw), A Son of the Middle Border (autobiography)

                                Robinson Jeffers - Roan Stallion, Tamar (Monterey coast girl based on King David's

daughter), The Tower Beyond Tragedy (based on Agamemnon), Thurso's Landing

                                Sylvia Plath - (committed suicide) Ariel (love songs to death; dehumanize people as

mannequins and paper figures), The Bell Jar (schoolgirl prodigy Esther

Greenwood has mental breakdowns)

                                Anne Sexton - Live or Die, To Bedlam and Part Way Back, The Death Notebooks

                                John Ashbery - Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror

                                Leo Rosten - The Education of H*y*m*a*n K*a*p*l*a*n, The Joys of Yiddish

                                Thomas Pynchon - Gravity's Rainbow (bureaucracies use WWII to gain power), The

Crying of Lot 49

                                Charles and Mary Beard - The Rise of American Civilization, America in Midpassage

                                Seymour Hersh - My Lai 4

                                Arthur Schleinger - The Colonial Merchants and the American Revolution, New

Viewpoints in American History, The Rise of the City, Prelude to Independence The

Newspaper War in Boston

Arthur Schleinger Jr - The Age of Jackson, The Age of Roosevelt, A Thousand Days (JFK)

                                Tom Wolfe - Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, In Our Time

                                Booth Tarkington - Seventeen (William Baxter [Silly Billy] loves Lola Pratt, who talks

to dog Flopit), Alice Adams (drug company employee has nagging wife,

shiftless son, and dreaming daughter Alice whose hopes are dashed and enters

Frincke's Business College), Penrod (Midwest 12-year old Penrod Schofield), The

Magnificent Ambersons

                                Herman Wouk - The Caine Mutiny (officers on WWII minesweeper mutiny against

Captain Queeg), War and Remembrances, The Winds of War

                                Henry Roth - Call It Sleep (Jewish boy grows up in Lower East Side)