Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1874) was an American poet who was almost unknown during her lifetime. Extremely reclusive by nature, just a handful of her poems were published by friends during her lifetime, and they were altered significantly to fit what they perceived to be the poetic conventions of the time. Remarkably, it was not until 1955 that a complete, unaltered collection of her poems was published, and she is now considered to be a major American poet.
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was an American poet, essayist and journalist. The collection of his poetry,’ Leaves of Grass’ was highly controversial in its day, as some found its overt sexuality offensive. The quality of his later works places him among the most influential American poets, and he has been called’ the father of free verse’.
Margery Williams Bianco, born on the 22 July 1881, was an English-American author, primarily of popular children’s books. A professional writer since the age of nineteen, she achieved lasting fame at forty-one with the 1922 publication of the classic that is her best-known work, The Velveteen Rabbit.
Kate Chopin, born Katherine O’Flaherty on February 8, 1850, was an American author of short stories and novels. She is now considered by some to have been a forerunner of the feminist authors of the 20th century.
Robert William Chambers (1865 – 1933) was an American illustrator and writer, best known for his influential collection of strange short stories, ‘The King in Yellow’.
H. P. Lovecraft (1890 – 1937) is widely considered the twentieth century’s most important writer of supernatural horror fiction. Forging a unique niche within the horror genre, he created what became known as “weird tales,” stories containing a distinctive blend of dreamlike imagery, Gothic terror, and elaborate concocted mythology.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American writer who, despite being plagued by problems with drink, drugs, gambling, depression and madness, created a body of work which has had a lasting influence on three genres: fantasy and science fiction, detective fiction and horror stories
The writing career of Lew Wallace (1827-1905) was very much a supplement to an eventful life. His military career started with the Mexican American war of 1846, and in the American Civil War he reached the rank of Major-General. Subsequently he became governor of New Mexico, and then U.S. minister to the Ottoman Empire. In the midst of all this activity, he found time to write ‘Ben-Hur’, a novel of the later days of the Roman Empire, and the early days of Christianity, which became one of the best-selling American novels of the nineteenth century.
Edith Wharton (1862 -1937) was an American writer, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1921, the first woman to do so. She was a popular novelist and short-story writer during her lifetime, although in the years following her death she came to be viewed as rather old-fashioned. Subsequent reappraisal of her work has established ‘The House of Mirth’, ‘Ethan Frome’ and ‘The Age of Innocence’ as classic American novels, and her excellent ghost stories have found a new audience.