John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath was published. The book told the story of an Oklahoma sharecropper family forced to migrate to California in search of work. The book instantly became a literary emblem of the Great Depression and soon earned the Pulitzer Prize and was instrumental in his selection for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Lorraine Hansberry’s play A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway to great success and interest. The play told the story of a black Chicago family trying to move out of the city and into an all-white neighborhood.
The Beats (beatniks) were a group of American writers and artists. In the 1950s they rejected conformity, materialism, and many traditional values in favor of expression and experimentation. Beats included writers and poets such as Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William S. Burroughs.
Anne Bradstreet (ca. 1612–1672) was an English Puritan who sailed with her family to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. Bradstreet became the first woman published in England and America with the release of The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America in 1650. Her work often dealt with religious and domestic themes.
Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) was an American author who acted as an informal leader of expatriate and European writers and artists in Paris during the first half of the early twentieth century. Stein spent much her youth in Oakland, California. She moved to Europe with her brother after leaving medical school at Johns Hopkins, stopping in London before settling in Paris. In Paris, Stein met Alice B. Toklas, who would become her lifelong companion. The two women associated with various writers and artists Stein called the “Lost Generation.”...