Major Works of Literature and Writing

By lmjetb
  • Poor Richard's Almanac

    Poor Richard's Almanac
    Written by Benjamin Franklin under the pseudonym "Poor Richard," these yearly almanacs provided colonists with weather forecasts, household hints, puzzles, and other itenms that would amuse the colonists. They were published from 1732 to 1758.
  • Common Sense

    Common Sense
    Witten by Thomas Paine, this pamphlet quickly became very popular among the colonists as it described in simple langauage that the colonists should be free from British rule. Paine structured his pamphlet like a sermon and hab biblical references written in as well.
  • Thanatopsis

    This poem written by William Cullen Bryant was the first widely recognized American poem. It was very popular throughout America and Europe and later lead to the collection of poems called "Thanatopsis and Other Poems," It was a milestone in American literature because it was teh start of American Poetry
  • The Sketch Book

    The Sketch Book
    The Sketch Book was written by Washington Irving and was a collection of short stories including "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," and "Rip Van Winkle." This helped advance American writers and get them a national audience, and it was commonly read throughout America and Europe.
  • Walden

    Written by Henry David Thoreau, this book depicts his stay in the woods near lake Walden in Connecticut where he stayed for 2 years. His works argued about teh ideas of solidarity and the fact that Americans were getting too obsessed with possesions.
  • Leaves of Grass

    Leaves of Grass
    Written by Walt Whitman, this collection of poetry focused on the body and the material world. His topics were considered contoroversial in the time it was published because Whitman wrote about intimate relationships and the human body. It was republished many times until his death in 1892.
  • New York World

    A popular newspaper in the late 1800s written by Joseph Pulitzer, some of the articles featured in the paper were given the nickname "yellow journalism." Altogether, this newspaper was a critical turning point for newspaper companies nationwide.
  • Juvenile Fiction

    Horatio Alger was a New England born writer who focused primarily on juvenile fiction, ultimately selling over 100 million copies.
  • Atlantic Monthly

    The Boston-based "Atlantic Monthly" was a magazine very popular in the late 1800s, and whose editor-in-chief was William Dean Howells. The magazine typically focused on literary and cultural affairs.
  • Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly

    Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly
    The author, Victoria Woodhull, was described as being a strong women's rights activist, and wrote about free love and independence. With the help of her sister, Tennessee Claflin, they wrote a journal which was a mjor influence on the women's rights movement.
  • The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today

    The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today
    Written by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner, this novel gave the post Civil War era the nickname "The Gilded Age". Although it may be considered one of Twain's less popular works of literature, the novel centers around a Tennessee family who attempted to get funding in Washington D.C. to build a dam in their hometown.
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
    Written by Mark Twain, as known as Samuel Clemens, wrote this book about two young men growing up in the town of St. Peterdburg along the Mississippi River. Set around 1845, this novel follows the excursions and relationships of two youngs boys, Thomas Sawyer and Hucklberry Finn. This novel is a satire on racism in the South int eh Antebellum age.
  • Progress and Poverty

    Written in 1879 by Henry George, this novel thoroughly depicts the similarity of industrialization and povery in the late 1800s.
  • The Portrait of a Lady

    The Portrait of a Lady
    Henry James's novel "The Portrait of a Lady" was highly controversial, due to his acknowledgement of the rising feminist movement.
  • New York Nation

    Otherwise known as "The Nation," this journal, founded by Edwin L. Godkin, focused on politics and culture.
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
    Written by Tom Sawyer, this novel is commonly know as great American literature. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry "Huck" Finn and depicts very distinct places on the Mississippi River. It is a satire on the South before the Civil War, and it focuses on denouncing racism. It became controversial in the 20th century when the racial stereotyping and slurs started to be considered wrong.
  • Looking Backward

    Looking Backward
    Edward Bellamy sold over 1 million copies of his novel. A hero falls into a hypnotic sleep and awakens in 2000 and looks back into the social and economic injustices of 1887 that have disappeared due to a government that has nationalized big businesses to serve the interests of the public.
  • How the Other Half Lives

    How the Other Half Lives
    Photojournalist Jacob A. Riis exposed the slums of the cities in his shocking plunge into poverty of big Easter cities. This was the first real muckraking book, and set a standard for the rest of the muckrakers of America.
  • Maggie: A Girl of the Streets

    Maggie: A Girl of the Streets
    Written by Stephen Crane, this short novel talks bout how a urban life during the Gilded Age can turn a young girl from naive to a prostitute. This move was daring, but proved to be succesful.
  • Turner's Frontier Thesis

    Historian Frederick Jackson Turner delievered his speech "The Significance of the Frontier in American History" in 1893, of which he argued that the American character has been a result of the exapansion of the Frontier. He states that the Frontier has encouraged Western settlement, and that Europeans have been influenced by the colonization of the United States.
  • Wealth Against Commonwealth

    Wealth Against Commonwealth
    Henry Demarest Lloyd wrote this shocking exposé on the Standard Oil Company that showed the world John D. Rockefeller's corruption of the business world. This muckraker's work of writing came before Ida Tarbell’s “The History of Standard Oil," yet it is often forgotten.
  • Bryan's "Cross of Gold" Speech

    Bryan's "Cross of Gold" Speech
    Delivered before the democratic convention in 1896 by William Jenning's Bryan, his famous "Cross of Gold" Speech summarized his Populist views, and his opposition to the Gold Standard.
  • The Awakening

    The Awakening
    Written by Kate Chopin, this novel is set in New Orleans and on the Southern Louisiana coast at the end of the nineteenth century. The plot focuses on Edna Pontellier and the turn of the century views on feminism. It is one of the first novels in favor of feminism.
  • The Theory of the Leisure Class

    The Theory of the Leisure Class
    Thorstein Veblen wrote this thesis about the conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure of the upper class. He believed that eh upper class was wasteful in using objects such as silver utensils, and that they only participated in leisurely activities that would higher their social status. He criticized the lives of the upper class, following the trend of resentment of the wealthy at this time.
  • Sister Carrie

    Sister Carrie
    Written by THeodore Dreiser, the novel proposed ideas of "new women" and illustrated the gritty realism of city life. A woman becomes one man's mistress, then elopes with another, and finally tries to make herself a carreer on stage.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
    One of the most acclaimed novels of all time, this story, written by L. Frank Baum seemed to be an innocent children's story, but there are many politcal theories that the fairy tale relates back to the gold standard. This was an unexpectadly succesful novel and is still popular today, but mostly as a child's fairy tale.
  • The Octopus

    The Octopus
    Written by Frank Norris, this novel depicts the struggles of Western farmers as the railroad encroached on the land that they had been improving for many years. The book stresses forcers over the individual.
  • The Bitter Cry of Children

    The Bitter Cry of Children
    Written by John Spargo, this book fit into the trend of exposing the horrible conditions in this era. This book promoted the end to child labor and shared stories of children in the working place. Horrific stories are included which influenced readers to support the end to child labor.
  • The Jungle

    The Jungle
    Written by Upton Sinclair, this book shows the poor living and working conditions of the lower class in the early 20th century. Sinclair depicts grotesque yet real scenes from the meatpacking industry that shocked the public and helped rally a reform for healthier working conditions.
  • The Promise of American Life

    The Promise of American Life
    A book published by Herbert Croly that inspired Theodore Roosevelt's New Nationalism campaign. It was in favor of economic planning to benefit the lives of citizens and offered "Progressive" beliefs.
  • Other People's Money and How the Bankers Use It

    Other People's Money and How the Bankers Use It
    A collection of writings written by Louis Brandeis about the use of investment funds and the big industries in control of little businesses. Lots of criticism was offered about investment bankers by Brandeis and recieved a lot of attention during it's time.
  • Sussex Pledge

    Sussex Pledge
    The Sussex Pledge was a promise made by Germany to the United Stated during WW1 which promised a change in their naval warfare tacticts. The Sussex Pledge was passed in fear of America's entrace into WW1.
  • Espionage Act

    Espionage Act
    In an effort to stop public disruption of the military during WW1, the U.S. government passed the Espionage Act of 1917 which banned any attempt to interfere with military operations.
  • Zimmermann Telegram

    Zimmermann Telegram
    The Zimmermann Telegram was one of the main reasons America entered World War 1. The telegram was initially sent from the German Empire to Mexico asking for an alliance between the two countries, persuading Mexico to fight against the U.S.. Germany proposed that Mexico would be given Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico in return for their alliance with Germany if they helped attack American territory.
  • Sedition Act of 1918

    Sedition Act of 1918
    Passed alongside the Espionage Act during WW1, the Sedition Act banned any profound language or efforts used against the president, government, military, the U.S. flag, or armed forces. If an individual was caught doing something that could be considered "anti-nationalism", the individual could be potentially jailed.
  • Fourteen Points

    Fourteen Points
    The Fourteen Points speech was delievered by President Woodrow Wilson in Congress of 1918. The purpose of the speech was to develop some sort of peace agreements among the Central Powers and Allies in an effort to end the four-year long WW1.
  • Treaty of Versailles

    Treaty of Versailles
    The Treaty of Versailles was a peace treaty ending World War 1. Singed at the Paris Peace Conference after six months of negotiations, the treaty harshly punished the German Empire, causing them to surrender troops, limit their military, pay massive fines for the war, and most importantly, Germany must take the blame for the entire war.
  • The Great Gatsby

    The Great Gatsby
    The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, captures the essence of post WW1 America and the Roaring Twenties. The novel depicts that anyone can acheive their dreams, and is very educational in that it is developed around the Prohibition era.
  • Mein Kampf

    Mein Kampf
    Mein Kampf, Hitler's biography, was published prior to his dictatorship during WW2. The novel exposed his political views, and historians claim it is an "open source for for the presentation of Hitler's ideas about the state of the world". Mein Kampf is currenly illegal in the country of Germany.
  • Winnie-the-Pooh

    This children's novel, written by A. A. Milne, is known world wide for being a classic work of literature that inspires many. Written in the 1920's, Winnie-the-Pooh began en entire century of creative child novels.
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

    Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
    The Diary of Anne Frank just may be the most popular diary ever read by the human population. During the midst of the WW2 terror for Jews in Europe, Anne Frank wrote about her experiences in a journal which was found many years later. Her precise memories of being a Jewish child in the 1940's helped historians and WW2 studiers paint a mental image of what it would have been like to live during WW2 as a Jew in Europe.
  • The Catcher in the Rye

    The Catcher in the Rye
    The Catcher in the Rye, a 1951 novel written by J. D. Salinger, has become a significant piece of literature regarding teenage rebellion, confusion, and sexuality.
  • The Old Man and the Sea

    The Old Man and the Sea
    The Old Man and the Sea, a 1952 novel written by Ernest Hemingway, depicted an aging Cuban fisherman who struggled with a fishing in the Gulf Stream.
  • The Town

    The Town
    The Town, a 1957 novel written by William Faulkner, portrayed the preserved culture and society of the deep South during the mid-twentieth century.
  • The House of Five Talents

    The House of Five Talents
    The House of Five Talents, a 1960 novel written by Louis Auchincloss, depicted a very wealthy family living in New York (as did many of his writings). Auchincloss was well known throughout the twentieth century as he wrote about the upper-class of New York society.
  • Catch 22

    Catch 22
    Catch 22, a 1961 novel written by Joseph Heller, is considered one of the most famous works of literature during the twentieth century. Taking place during WW2, Catch 22 criticized American airmen in the Wartime Mediterranean.
  • Letter from Birmingham Jail

    Letter from Birmingham Jail
    Written by Martin Luther King Jr. from a jail cell during the Civil Rights' Movement of the 1960s, King stated that 'one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws".
  • Why We Can't Wait

    Why We Can't Wait
    Why We Can't, a 1964 novel written by Martin Luther King Jr., portrayed his efforts in reaching racial equality during the second half of the twentieth century.
  • Of the Farm

    Of the Farm
    Of the Farm, a 1965 novel written by John Updike, depicts a complex relationship between a middle-aged son and his elderly mother. Author John Updike is today considered one of the most talented writers of American history, often portraying the struggle of the middle class.