Who would have Steinbeck been without Salinas? Faulkner without Oxford? Hawthorne without Salem? Langston Hughes without Harlem? Many things shape a writer, but the one so often cited is that city or town that rose around them.
Most writers ultimately will move away from the city of their birth, and yet so often is it the one thing that they come back to as they write.
A few weeks ago, I was given a copy of the coffee table book “A Journey Through Literary America” by Thomas R. Hummel (photos by Tamra L. Dempsey), and I couldn’t wait to read it. More often than not, I am more fascinated by the lives of writers then the works they write—there’s something about seeing what influenced a writers writing that I find inspiring.
The book, which features 26 different American writers (I’ll list them below if you are interested), shows modern pictures of the town and talks about what it was like when the author was living, and what it is like today.
If you are a literary history buff, it’s a worthy companion to your bookshelf.
Featured in the Book: Washington Irving, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Robert Frost, Willa Cather, Wallace Stegner, John Steinbeck, Robinson Jeffers, William Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe, Sinclair Lewis, Sherwood Anderson, Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, Rita Dove, Henry Miller, Ernest Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, John Updike, Philip Roth, Raymond Carver, E. Annie Proulx, and Richard Ford.