Stephen Crane

  1. Leader of naturalist movement
  2. Most famous for vivid battlefield images

a) included emotional & mental state of a soldier

  1. 1893 he published “Maggie; a girl of the streets.”

a) Story of a beautiful young girl’s slide into prostitution to stay alive.

b) No publisher would publish it. So he published it with his own money and it was a big failure

  1. “The Red Badge of Courage.” –Greatest work
  2. Died when he was 28 of tuberculosis
  3. Wrote of the harsh reality of war & degradation of humanity, and of people under incredible pressure

Ambrose Bierce

  1. Born and raised in poverty
  2. Served as an officer during civil war.
  3. Pessimistic, unsentimental, cynical
  4. Wrote of cruelty and senselessness of war & and the indifference of death.

Mark Twain

  1. A creator of short stories, novels, & essays
  2. Incredibly popular & successful in his own lifetime
  3. Much of his work was witty & was great at his writing skill.
  4. The man & his work was influenced by the Mississippi River.
  5. Characters based on real people
  6. Life’s dream was to be a river boat pilot
  7. Writing career started in 1867, wrote for a newspaper in Nevada
  8. His heroes were common people & sometimes they were low class

--Sometimes children were heroes; sometimes unexpected heroes.

9. Always involved a moral dilemma in his stories

10.A lot is purely entertainment—all just for fun

11.Wrote in dialect. (how people talk—informal)

12.Outstanding public speaker

13.At the end of his life, his writings were angry, bitter, etc. (he never got over his wife’s, son’s, and 2 daughters’ death) (blamed God for disasters in his life)

14.He was the first, & possibly the greatest, authentically American writer.

Bret Harte

  1. The first writer to create a picture of the Old West.

a) main focus on the characters.

b) Hollywood’s version of the Old West has its roots on Harte

  1. Stories show the ruggedness & the violence.
  2. Lived and witnessed what he wrote.
  3. 2-hit wonder

a) popularity lasted 2 years

b) 2 stories were his fame

c) Served America as a diplomat. He abandoned his family, moved to England, and lived out his life there.

Jack London

  1. Grew up in extreme poverty

a) this gave him a sympathy for & understanding of the working class

b) Actively fought for workers’ rights.

c) This created in him the passion to be active.

  1. He read an incredible amount

a) Created in him a passion for travel.

  1. Took his education upon himself—H.S.—2 years of college

a) quit college because of the lure of wealth (gold in Alaska)

  1. Failed in search for gold, but “struck gold” in his experiences he had there which became the basis for much of his writing.
  2. Incredibly hard working writer

a) get up & write 1000 words

b) write 15 hours a day sometimes

c) 5 ft high pile of publication rejections

d) 1st American writer to make 1 million $

e) Published “Call of the Wild”

f) Published over 50 books in 13 years

  1. Most of his work is Naturalist.

Kate Chopin

  1. Regionalist & her focus was on the people & color of Louisiana
  2. Explored the role of women in society
  3. She & her husband were successful business people but husband died so she went home to her parents
  4. Urged to write by doctor who thought it would be therapy for her & her health.
  5. Touched on 3 things

a) Marriage

b) Racial Prejudice

c) Women’s role in society

  1. Published “Awakening” in 1899.

Willa Cather

  1. Realist & regionalist who focused on Nebraska frontier
  2. Understood & appreciated diversity—influenced her writing.
  3. Highly educated woman

a) Very knowledgeable & passionate of music

  1. One of the 1st female writers to win Pulitzer Prize (Huge!)
  2. Her work focused on the courage, spirit, endurance, work eithic, etc of Nebraska frontier, especially for women, but also the isolation, loneliness hardness, loss, etc.

Paul Lawrence Dunbar

  1. 1st African American to support himself with his writing
  2. Very versatile in what he wrote—short stories, poems, & novels.
  3. Wrote in two totally different styles

a) southern, slave, pre-civil war dialect

-focus on recreating the plantation life

b) Very formal & sophisticated

-focus was on the social problems facing African Americans of the time.

4. Public & critics like the southern dialect but he wanted people to notice the formal writing.


  1. 100% American in character

a) roots in gospel, blues, & jazz music

  1. Outlet or release for pain, misery, anger…etc of slavery.
  2. Songs of hope—1. earthly 2. heavenly
  3. System of communication (coded)


  1. Show real life lived by ordinary people
  2. Initiated by Civil War & western expansion
  3. showed life in a factual, honest, objective way
  4. Out of this grew naturalism. ↓


  1. Mankind is against forces greater than itself

a) nature

b) heredity

c) fate

  1. man becomes victim
  2. man keeps fighting, we endure
  3. literature of discontent

Local Color

  1. Very popular after the civil war
  2. Writers tried to portray a certain geographical area

a) focus on setting

b) focus on characters—clothes, dialect, manners & attitude

3. Local color authors:

a) Bret Harte—wrote of the west

b) Mark Twain—wrote of the “river” towns.


  1. Same as local color, but more sophisticated & deeper
  2. deal w/ history a little
  3. Regionalist Writers

a) Willa Cathur—people of Nebraska

b) William Faulker—people of the South