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Probably no other country possesses as many diverse writers as does America, with its historical and social diversity. The time and the location characterize many American writers.
- The South brought writers who concentrated on the Old or Antebellum South, distinctive for its culture and its problems, primary among them, slavery.
- The Wild West gave us writers who described the problems of settling the area, and the feuds between the Cowboys and Indians, and the cattle ranchers and the farmers.
- The Midwestern writers brought their unique experiences to their writings, giving the reader a better understanding of how Midwesterners think and live.
Categories of American Writers
The three major categories to which American writers belong are:
Romanticism, often called the American Renaissance, saw large amounts of great literature, especially from 1850 to 1855. Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau, and Whitman were just a few writers of that period. Realism, 1860 to 1890, represented true pictures of America and its people, and how they lived. Major writers of that time included Mark Twain, Henry James, and William Dean Howells. Modernism, which began in 1914, has been a time of rebellion against tradition. Influenced by the turmoil of the time, Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, and E.E. Cummings are representatives of Modernism. Perhaps the one theme throughout all writers of these periods is the thought that America was the land of opportunity and possibility.