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American Literature 101

Listening to audio books and lectures is an excellent way to study American Literature. With numerous free audio books of classic works, along with literature and poetry recorded by superb narrators, listening to American literature can be more fun than reading it. There are also numerous lecture courses which cover the classics of American literature.

Authors on this Topic

William Faulkner
William Faulkner

William Faulkner is one of the most esteemed writers in American history. Faulkner was born in Mississippi and lived in the state throughout his life. His writing is highly influenced by the culture of the South and of Mississippi.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald, who is regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, is the author of many novels and short stories. The writer was born to an upper middle class American family on September 24, 1896. In the 1920s, Fitzgerald traveled to Europe where he established a close friendship with fellow writer Ernest Hemingway.
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway was an American author as well as a journalist. Most of his work was produced in the 1920s to 1950s and he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works.
Henry James
Henry James

Henry James, hailed as a master of American literary realism, was born in New York City on April 15, 1843. Following in the footsteps of his intellectual father, James published his first short story at age 21. He would go on to pen many fictional novels, biographies, travel books, works of criticism, and even plays.
Jack London
Jack London

Jack London was born John Griffith Chaney on January 12, 1876. He was an American author and journalist, also noted for his work in social activism. The native San Franciscan adopted the name Jack as a boy, and worked odd jobs that usually involved hard labor as a teenager.
Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller was a famous American playwright. The child of two Jewish immigrants from Poland, he worked in an automotive parts warehouse to make money for college. On graduating, he wrote for Broadway, with the play that led to his fame being Death of a Salesman, first performed in 1949.
Mark Twain
Mark Twain

Born in 1835, Samuel Clemens, A.K.A Mark Twain, is one of the most famous American writers of all time. His most popular book, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn now stands as a primary example of the "the american novel" and indeed most american authors look to him as the formative voice in american literature.
Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton was the first woman to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for literature. The Age of Innocence, published in 1920 and currently available for audio download, garnered her the award. As a member of New York's upper class society, Edith was able to write her novel about the morals and lifestyle of the elite from the point of view of a person living within the very circle she portrayed in the book.

Titles on this Topic

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Podcast
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Podcast
by Mark Twain

Written by Mark Twain and performed by Marc Devine. This is an unabridged, 9-1/2 hour, literary, mp3 audiobook–that plays well for mature and young audiences.
Allen Ginsberg Poetry Readings
 
Allen Ginsberg Poetry Readings
by Allen Ginsberg

Irwin Allen Ginsberg (June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American Beat poet born in Newark, New Jersey. Ginsberg is best known for Howl (1956), a long poem about consumer society's negative human values.
Atlas Shrugged
Atlas Shrugged
by Ayn Rand

Atlas Shrugged is the "second most influential book for Americans today" after the Bible, according to a joint survey conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club.
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
by Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is a personal account of the life of the famous American statesman, businessman, philosopher, inventor and scientist.
Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1
Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1
by Mark Twain

The year 2010 marks the one hundredth anniversary of Twain's death. In celebration of this important milestone, here, finally, is Mark Twain's uncensored autobiography, only now free to be published in its entirety.
Barron's EZ 101 Study Keys: American Literature
Barron's EZ 101 Study Keys: American Literature
by Francis E. Skipp

In American Literature, all main periods are covered, from the colonial period to the twentieth century and the present movement toward cultural diversity.
The Call of the Wild
 
The Call of the Wild
by Jack London

Call of the Wild is the story of Buck, a magnificent dog who is stolen from his idyllic life and sold for use on a Yukon dogsled team.
Civil Disobedience & Life Without Principle
Civil Disobedience & Life Without Principle
by Henry David Thoreau

Civil Disobedience is Thoreau's primary essay on how to interact with Government. Here the author argues that a citizen must always uphold conscience over what is prescribed by law.
Classic American Short Stories
Classic American Short Stories
by Ambrose Bierce

Five great American short story writers, dating from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, are represented here. Different in atmosphere and writing style, they...
Classics of American Literature
Classics of American Literature
by Arnold Weinstein

Accessing the great American books - the classics - is a unique way of understanding the history of this country and of adding to our own personal estate of literary wealth.
The Crucible
The Crucible
by Arthur Miller

In the rigid theocracy of Salem, Massachusetts, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
 
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The 1920's, also known as the Jazz Age, were wild times, and Francis Scott Fitzgerald was its king.
Elmer Gantry
Elmer Gantry
by Sinclair Lewis

Elmer Gantry is the portrait of a silver-tongued evangelist who rises to power within his church, yet lives a life of hypocrisy, sensuality, and ruthless self-indulgence.
The Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson Podcast
The Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson Podcast
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

LearnOutLoud.com presents the Selected Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson Podcast. Born in 1803, Emerson was renowned during the mid 19th century as a philosopher, writer, public orator, naturalist, and spiritual trailblazer.
Ethan Frome
Ethan Frome
by Edith Wharton

Ethan Frome is a lonely farmer trying to make a living while also tending to his frigid, demanding and ungrateful wife Zeena.
The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath
by John Steinbeck

The Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression, a book that galvanized—and sometimes outraged—millions of readers.
In Cold Blood
In Cold Blood
by Truman Capote

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.
Invisible Man
Invisible Man
by Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man is not only a great triumph of storytelling and characterization; it is a profound and uncompromising interpretation of the Negro's anomalous position in American society.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
by Washington Irving

The quiet Dutch community of Sleepy Hollow lay in the Adirondack mountains on the western shore of the mighty Hudson River in America’s colonial period.
The Life and Times of Mark Twain
The Life and Times of Mark Twain
by Michael Shelden

Professor of English at Indiana State University and the author of the literary biography Mark Twain: Man in White, Michael Shelden is the perfect candidate to lead this series of lectures on one of the most important—and most influential—of all American authors.
Moby Dick
Moby Dick
by Herman Melville

First published in 1851, this realistic account of a whaling voyage contains within a symbolic account of the conflict between man and his fate...
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave
by Frederick Douglass

First published in 1845, the Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass became Frederick Douglass's most well known work. It is as the name implies his autobiography.
Nature
Nature
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Using bold imagery and beautifully written language to illustrate his points, Emerson formulates a belief system where nature itself is a divine entity that we can know directly.
The Old Man and the Sea
The Old Man and the Sea
by Ernest Hemingway

"The Old Man and the Sea" is one of Hemingway's most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal -- a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.
The Red Badge of Courage
 
The Red Badge of Courage
by Stephen Crane

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane follows Private Henry Fleming as he grows from an innocent youth to a seasoned veteran during the Civil War.
The Scarlet Letter
The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter is a novel published in 1850 and written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who gives birth after committing adultery and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity.
The Sound and the Fury
The Sound and the Fury
by William Faulkner

First published in 1929, Faulkner created his "heart's darling", the beautiful and tragic Caddy Compson, whose story Faulkner told through separate monologues by her three brothers: the idiot Benjy, the neurotic suicidal Quentin, and the monstrous Jason.
A Study Guide to Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises
A Study Guide to Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises
by Robert Murray

Terribly injured in World War I, Jake Barnes finds solace in the shell-shocked immorality of...
To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee

At once an intimate memoir of childhood, a complicated exploration of race and poverty in the South, and a moving portrayal of uncompromising conscience, "To Kill a Mockingbird" has been called the greatest American novel of the 20th century.
Typee
Typee
by Herman Melville

Written by Herman Melville and performed by Michael Scherer. This is an unabridged, 11 1/2 hour, literary, mp3 audiobook–that plays well for mature and young audiences.
Walden
Walden
by Henry David Thoreau

Walden by Henry David Thoreau is one of the best-known non-fiction books written by an American. Published in 1854, it details Thoreau’s life for two years, two months, and two days around the shores of Walden Pond.
Walt Whitman and the Birth of Modern American Poetry
Walt Whitman and the Birth of Modern American Poetry
by Karen Karbiener

In this course, Walt Whitman and the Birth of Modern American Poetry, we'll explore how Walt Whitman broke with the tyranny of European literary forms to establish a broad, new voice for American poetry.
Winesburg, Ohio
Winesburg, Ohio
by Sherwood Anderson

Through twenty-three connected short stories, the author looks into the lives of the inhabitants of a small town in the American heartland.
The Works of Edgar Allan Poe: Raven Edition, Volume 2
The Works of Edgar Allan Poe: Raven Edition, Volume 2
by Edgar Allan Poe

Monday, January 19, 2009 marked Edgar Allan Poe's 200th birthday. Though these tales need no introduction, the rationale for starting with volume two is threefold: many of the best-loved (and best) tales are included, the vast majority run from 15 to 30 minutes, and the other volumes can then be recorded without repetition, if there is interest in doing so.

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