American literature (Hemingway)
The first major American novelist was James Fennimore Cooper, with The Last of the Mohicans, The Prairie and other works about frontier life.
From about 1830 to 1865, introduced important novelists such as:
Nathaniel Hawthorne – author of The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables, in which he probed New England’s Puritan heritage
Herman Melville – author of Moby Dick, a complex and poetic novel of the sea. Captain Ahab is striving against his own fate and trying to catch Moby Dick, which is an enormous white whale and symbolizes evil. Harriet Beecher Stowe – author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which became a bestseller and a vehicle for antislavery sentiments.
Prominent from the close of the Civil War until about the beginning of the 20th century, included important writers such as:
Mark Twain – author of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, his classic tales of boyhood
Henry James – author of The Portrait of the Lady and The Ambassadors, which were landmarks in the development of the American novel.
Theodore Dreiser – author of Sister Carrie and An American Tragedy, describes how spiritually empty industrial America had become.
F. Scott Fitzgerald – author of The Great Gatsby, who was the first Nobel Prize winner in literature in 1930.
Ernest Hemingway – also a Nobel Prize winner in 1954, noted for his terse, carefully crafted prose in such works as The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms.
William Faulkner – whose innovative techniques and thoughtful characterizations in such novels as The Sound and the Fury, Light in August and Absolom, Absolom! won him the Nobel Prize in 1949.
Hemingway and Faulkner remained leading writers into the 1950s and they were joined by:
John Steinbeck – the author of The Grapes of the Wrath, which won him the Nobel Prize in 1962.
Norman Mailer – the author of The Executioner’s Song and The Naked and the Dead.
Novelists of contemporary
They note include Flannery O’Connor and his Wise Blood, Toni Morrison and his Beloved and Alice Walker and her The Color Purple. The most outstanding personalities in the 20th century drama are:
Eugene O’Neil – American dramatist, Nobel laureate, winner of four Pulitzer Prizes, who attempted to define fundamental human problems in his works.
His most ambitious work, the trilogy Mourning Becomes Electra, was an attempt to re-create the power and the profundity of the ancient Greek tragedies by setting the themes and plot of the Oresteia by Aeschylus in 19th – century New England.
Tennessee Williams – shows in his plays people’s crude, selfish, violent and cruel motives of their behavior as well as their deep desire to love and to be loved. His works are A Streetcar Named Desire, Orpheus Descending and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Edward Albee - American playwright, who’s most successful plays focus on familial relationships. His first play was The Zoo Story, then The American Dream, Who is Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Ballad of the Sad Café. His early plays are marked by themes of the Theatre of the Absurd, in which characters suffer from an inability or unwillingness to communicate of to sympathize or empathize with one another.
Arthur Miller – American dramatist, regarded as one of the major playwrights of the 20th century. His major achievement was Death of Salesman. It won the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the New York Drama Critics´ Circle Award for the best play of the year. It tells the tragic story of an average man, much like Miller’s father.
Distinctive American poetry first appeared in the 19th century, with the musical works of Edgar Allan Poe who also became a father of detective story, the chant of Walt Whitman and his Leaves of Grass and the tightly wrought lyrical verse of Emily Dickinson.
Modern American poetry began in the early 20th century with the works of the poet Robert Frost, the Cantos of Ezra Pound, and The Waste Land and other revolutionary works by American-born English poet T.S.Eliot.
Modern American poetry has continued to be enriched by such gifted poets as Allen Ginsberg and Adrienne Rich.
Hemingway was a man whose unique mastery of the art of writing influenced the style of an entire generation of writers. It is an influence that persists today.
Ernest Hemingway, one of six children, was born in Illinois, on July 21, 1899. His parents wanted him to become a doctor, but after graduation from high school, he began his writing career as a sports reporter for the Kansas City Star.
When the USA entered World War I, Hemingway tried to enlist in the army and he was finally accepted as an ambulance driver of the Red Cross in Italy. Shortly before his 19th birthday, he was badly wounded and spent several weeks in a hospital in Milan. This experience provided material for his future novel A Farewell to Arms. He returned to Chicago in 1919 and then went to Canada to work for the Toronto Star. From 1921 to 1927, he lived in Europe where he worked hard to become a writer. He wrote his first stories, which he collected in the books Three Short Stories, Ten Poems and In Our Time.
In 1926 with the publication of The Sun Also Rises, his reputation as an excellent novel writer was established. Later, in 1929 he published A Farewell to Arms
Drawing on the experiences of his numerous African trips, he wrote The Green Hills Of Africa, The Snows of Kilimanjaro and some others.
Out of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War came his longest novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls. The novel emphasizes the idea that a loss of liberty anywhere means the loss of liberty everywhere.
When the war ended, he settled in Cuba. One story he heard from a fisherman gave him the idea for his short novel The Old Man and the Sea. It tells of an old Cuban fisherman, who, after a run of bad luck, hooks a giant marlin, but the sharks attack the catch and reduce it to a skeleton. This novel ends with the words: „A man can be destroyed but not defeated. “
He received a Pulitzer Prize and was awarded the Nobel Prize.
He suffered from serious stomach ailment and, on July the 2nd, 1961, he committed suicide.