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With an increasing desire to produce uniquely American literature and culture, a number of key new literary figures emerged, perhaps most prominently Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe.
The American literary tradition thus began as part of the broader tradition of English literature.
The revolutionary period is notable for the political writings of Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Paine.
This is a small number compared to the output of the printers in London at the time.
London printers published materials written by New England authors, so the body of American literature was larger than what was published in North America.
Ernest Hemingway became famous with The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms; in 1954, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. In the mid-twentieth century, American drama was dominated by the work of playwrights Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller, as well as by the maturation of the American musical.
William Faulkner became one of the greatest American writers with novels like The Sound and the Fury. Depression era writers included John Steinbeck, notable for his novel The Grapes of Wrath.
Inspired by that movement, Henry David Thoreau wrote Walden, which celebrates individualism and nature and urges resistance to the dictates of organized society.
The political conflict surrounding abolitionism inspired the writings of William Lloyd Garrison and Harriet Beecher Stowe in her famous novel Uncle Tom's Cabin.
American poetry reached a peak after World War I with such writers as Wallace Stevens, T. Henry Miller assumed a distinct place in American Literature in the 1930s when his semi-autobiographical novels were banned from the US.
From the end of World War II until the early 1970s many popular works in modern American literature were produced, like Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.