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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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8. Regional Realism   

8. Regional

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
- Charles W.
- Kate Chopin
- Charles
- Mary E. Wilkins
- Joel Chandler
- Bret Harte
- Sarah Orne
- Alexander Posey
- Mark Twain
- Zitkala-Sa
- Suggested
•  Timeline
•  Activities


The information for each author includes biographical and contextual materials and activities.

Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932)
Charles W. Chesnutt was a pioneer among African American fiction writers, addressing controversial issues of race in a realist style that commanded the attention and respect of the white literary establishment of the late nineteenth century. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Chesnutt was the son of free parents who had... Go

Kate Chopin (1851-1904)
Writing at the end of the nineteenth century at the height of the popularity of "local color" fiction, Kate Chopin introduced American readers to a new fictional setting with her evocations of the diverse culture of Cajun and Creole Louisiana. But while much of Chopin's work falls into the category of regionalism, her... Go

Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa) (1858-1939)
A Santee Sioux, physician, government agent, and spokesperson for Indian rights, Charles Alexander Eastman was also the first well-known, widely read Native American author. A fully acculturated Indian, Eastman worked to create understanding between Native Americans and Euro-Americans and sometimes found... Go

Mary E. Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930)
In composing her well-received realist depictions of women's lives in New England villages, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman wrote about the people and places she had known all her life. Born in Randolph, Massachusetts, Freeman grew up in intimate familiarity with the economically depressed circumstances and strict... Go

Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908)
Most famous for his creation of the black folk figure Uncle Remus, Joel Chandler Harris was also a journalist, humorist, and novelist. Born in rural Georgia to a single mother, Harris suffered poverty and social ostracism in his childhood. Many of his biographers suggest that his early insecurities led to lifelong... Go

Bret Harte (1836-1902)
At the height of his career, in the 1860s and 1870s, Bret Harte was one of the most famous and most highly paid American writers. His popular accounts of life in Gold Rush-era California, including short stories such as "The Luck of Roaring Camp" and "The Outcasts of Poker Flat," seized the public imagination... Go

Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)
Sarah Orne Jewett's evocative sketches of village life in nineteenth-century Maine have earned her a place among the most important practitioners of American regional writing. Born in South Berwick, Maine, Jewett grew up steeped in the idioms and atmosphere of coastal New England. Her early experiences accompanying... Go

Alexander Posey (1873-1908)
Alexander Posey recorded his insights into Creek Indian tribal politics and Native American customs in his poetry, journalism, and political satire. He lived through a crucial period in the history of the Creek Nation, when the tribe's land base and political autonomy were threatened by "progressive"... Go

Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) (1835-1910)
Samuel L. Clemens, better known by his pen name "Mark Twain," continues to enjoy a reputation, already attained by the end of his lifetime, as an icon of American literature. As such, he and his most enduringly popular novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, have been subjects of high praise and, at times, subjects of probing questions about the cultural assumptions that shape... Go

Zitkala-Sa (Gertrude Simmons Bonnin) (1876-1938)
Writer, musician, educator, and Indian rights activist, Zitkala-Sa (or Red Bird) was born on the Sioux Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. After her white father abandoned the family, she was brought up by her Indian mother in traditional Sioux ways. At the age of eight, Zitkala-Sa's life was transformed... Go

Suggested Author Pairings Go

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