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Great American Authors: Since 1650

Program 4: 1907-1925 (#104)

During this time frame America lost its innocence. Its writers now began to struggle with the problems that accompanied modernization and industrialization. It was also the beginning of the lost generation of American authors. [28 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Series Description: This new series presents the lives and literary output of over 60 of America's most read authors. Designed for literary enthusiasts and history buffs alike, Great American Authors is a must for every 21st century library and classroom. Authors are presented chronologically in concise, stand-alone clips.

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  • Program 1: 1650-1845 (#101)

    As the American colonies moved toward becoming an independent nation, a unique and distinctive voice poured forth from the pens of its authors. Once the nation was founded, America's first literary giants - Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Edgar Allan Poe - told stories and wrote poems that could have only come from the heart and soul of this fledgling country. [27 minutes]

  • Program 2: 1846-1855 (#102)

    Between the War of 1812 and the Mexican American War that ended in 1848, America experienced an exuberant economic period of growth. And, it was during this time that American authors produced the nation's first great wave of classic literature. In this program, such literary giants as Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow make their mark on the American psyche. [29 minutes]

  • Program 3: 1856-1906 (#103)

    After the Civil War the modern American novel took shape ... It was led by Louisa May Alcott, Mark Twain and Henry James. It was also the time that the American literary voice came from everyone and from everywhere. [26 minutes]

  • Program 5: 1926-1939 (#105)

    This was the most turbulent period in American history. It encompassed the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression. It gave rise to America's greatest writers, known collectively as the lost generation. [29 minutes]

  • Program 6: 1940-1949 (#106)

    America entered the technological age through the darkness of WWII and its aftermath. American authors were now becoming legends in their own time through mass media and popular culture. Their response was as diverse as the nation's response to living in the nuclear age. [29 minutes]

  • Program 7: 1950-1957 (#107)

    If the lost generation authors were searching for identity and meaning, the group of authors in this program rejected everything about mainstream America. Ultimately they would speak to the baby boomer generation. [28 minutes]

  • Program 8: 1958-Present (#108)

    This generation of writer witnessed and participated in WWII ... Korea ... The Cold War ... The Civil Rights movement ... And Vietnam. These experiences shaped the intellectually, spiritually and emotionally in ways that were translated into their writing. [28 minutes]

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