An American writer is an author who produces literature in the United States or who was born in the United States. American literature goes all the way back to the days of the colonies. In fact, one of the most famous early American writers would have to be Thomas Jefferson for penning the Declaration of Independence. Other early Americans like Ben Franklin, Samuel Adams, and Thomas Paine are famous writers of the revolutionary period.
American Writers of the 1800s
In the 1800s the American style of writing really began to diversify and take off. Some of the most famous American literature includes the short stories of Edgar Allen Poe, penned in the mid-1800s. Ralph Waldo Emmerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and others also came on the scene during this century.
American wasn’t just home to novelists and short story writers. Two of the world’s most famous 19th-century poets were from the US: Emily Dickenson and Walt Whitman. The 20th century saw even more famous American poets such as Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound.
Mark Twain Changes American Writing
Until Twain began writing about life on the Mississippi River from his hometown in Missouri, all American writers had been from the East coast. This opened up a whole new world for American authors to explore.
War Changes American Writing Again
First, it was the Civil War. Writers like Stephen Crane brilliantly captured the way the nation was affected. Then it was the Great War (WWI) Which led to many great writings by American authors like Gertrude Stein (although she did most of her writing in Paris). She coined the term the “Lost Generation” to describe the lives of people in the decade following the first World War. Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald also wrote during this time (and also frequently in Paris).
The Depression, Dramatists, and a Second World War
Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller were among the first great American playwrights. John Steinbeck highlighted the poor working class American in his writings. Salinger, Vonnegut, and others depicted the decline of morality following WWII.
The Modern American Author
Today just about anyone can write a book, publish it on Amazon, promote it on social media, and become an American author. However, this has only served to diversify the literature of America further, resulting in a melting pot of writing styles and genres for us to enjoy.