American Writers during the British Modernist Era

Think about the poets Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson as “precursors” to Modernist movements within the U.S., even though they lived in the Victorian timeframe.

Robert Frost, poet, b. 1874 – d. 1963

                -First collections of poetry published as he lived in England from 1912 to 1915; awarded the

                Pulitzer Prize four times; collections include A Boy’s Will, North of Boston and Mountain Interval

Wallace Stevens, poet and prose author, b. 1879 – d. 1979

                -Consistently labeled as an “American Modernist”; awarded Pulitzer Prize in 1955; was a

                vice president for Hartford Insurance Co.; works include the poetry collections

                The Man with a Blue Guitar and Parts of a World

Edna St. Vincent Millay , poet, b. 1892 – d. 1950

-Generally labeled as a lyric poet, and also wrote stage plays; was first woman to earn the

 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry;  The British poet Thomas Hardy once said that “America has two

great attractions: the skyscraper and the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay.”

William Faulkner, novelist and short-story author, b. 1897 – d. 1962

                -Writing style has been described as exhibiting a fragmented style of  “stream of consciousness”

                 in its narration; commonly focused his setting in the fictitious Yoknapatawpha County within

                 his native Mississippi, examining issues such as class, gender and racial issues; Novels include

                 Light in August, As I Lay Dying and Go Down Moses; short stories include “Barn Burning”

                 and “Rose for Emily”.

Ernest Hemmingway, author and journalist, b. 1899 – d. 1961

                -prose writing labeled as “terse”, using an “economy of words” and understatement in his

                novels, short stories, poems and even non-fiction prose; major works include the novels

                The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, The Old Man and the Sea.

Tennessee Williams, playwright, b. 1911 – d. 1983

                -Focused on “realism” in portrayals of human life and its struggles, as in plays such as

                The Glass Menagerie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Streetcar Named Desire