Special Sub-Topic: American Authors
|One of my favourite literary works of all time is the play "Long Day's Journey into Night". The author of the play was born in 1888 and died in 1953. His father was an actor. In 1912 he joined an experimental theatre group called the Provincetown Players. In 1936 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Some other works: "Mourning Becomes Electra"; "The Iceman Cometh"; "A Moon for the Misbegotten". What is his name?|
Eugene O'Neill. "Long Day's Journey into Night" is an autobiographical play. O'Neill found the content of his masterpiece so intimate that he refused to have it put on stage during his lifetime. It was first produced in 1956.
|'One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.' This is the final line of a poem by one of America's most famous poets. His work illustrates his fondness of New England, where he lived, although he was born in California. He lived from 1874 to 1963 and defined poetry as 'a momentary stay against confusion'. Some well-known poems are "After Apple-Picking" and "The Road Not Taken". Do you know the name of this swinger of birches?|
Robert Frost. The opening line of the question was taken from "Birches", Burn's definition of poetry comes from his essay "The Figure a Poem Makes". For lovers of poetry I can recommend "The Wood-Pile", which is a personal favourite of mine.
|Every now and again a novel comes along that wonderfully captures the spirit of it's time. In 1920 "This Side of Paradise" was published, an immediate best-seller that 'was accepted as the voice of the younger generation in a society increasingly oriented toward youth'(NAAL). The author of the book moved to Europe in 1924. There he wrote his most famous novel, the title of which I won't mention (it would make the question too easy), in 1925. This novel featured an experimental narrative point of view that was widely imitated. In 1934 he wrote his fourth and last novel: "Tender is the Night". Although he didn't write much, he is still considered as one of the biggest novelists from the twentieth century. His health ruined by heavy drinking, he died from a heart-attack in 1940, only 44 years of age. Who am I talking about?|
F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald's best known work is of course "The Great Gatsby". Besides his four novels he also wrote about 178 short stories, so, all in all, his output wasn't that small. (NAAL-quote is from "The Norton Anthology of American Literature".)
|Born in Joplin, Missouri, in 1902, the man I'm looking for was most probably the most popular and versatile of all writers connected with the Harlem Renaissance. His first volume of poems, "The Weary Blues", was published in 1926. In 1943 he invented Jesse B. Semple, a folksy streetwise character, under whose name, he wrote commonsense prose monologues about race. Although he always kept publishing poetry, he was also involved in drama, screenplay writing, and after World War II he published a variety of anthologies, such as "First Book of Negroes" and "The Book of Negro Folklore". Who is this African American poet?|
Langston Hughes. The Harlem renaissance is a name given to the unprecedented outburst of African American art, which occurred in the US and especially in New York, during the 1920's. It was not only a literary movement, but also (in some ways maybe of even more importance) a social revolt against racism. The Harlem renaissance gave Afro-Americans a voice in American society. The movement died out in the 1930's, because of the Depression, but Afro-American writing was launched big time, enriching American literature in general till this day. Some important writers were Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston and Nella Larsen, to name just four.
|"Slaughterhouse Five". I probably needn't tell you any more, but here goes anyway. The author I'm looking for based this book on his own experiences in the second World War, particularly in Dresden, during the destruction of that town in 1945. Who is this man?|
Kurt Vonnegut & Vonnegut. The Dresden bombing shows that an army without nuclear weapons can inflict as much damage as one with nuclear weapons. The destruction of Dresden caused about 135,000 people to die, which is almost twice as much as Hiroshima.
|Modernist in style, traditionalist in content, this native Mississippian, born in 1897, situated a lot of his novels in Yoknapatawpha County. Some titles: "Absalom, Absalom!"; "As I Lay Dying" and "The Sound and the Fury". Who is this man?|
William Faulkner. An amusing anecdote. After finishing school, the young William 'enlisted in the British Royal Flying Corps and was sent to Canada to train. World War I ended before he saw active service; nevertheless, when he returned to Oxford in 1919 he was limping from what he claimed was a war wound.' (Quote taken from "The Norton Anthology of American Literature".)
|'I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterically naked,/ dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix / angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.' This is the beginning of one of the most famous poems from the twentieth century. Which beat-poet wrote it?|
Allen Ginsberg. The poem was called "Howl". It gained immediate fame after a poetry reading in 1955 at the Six Gallery in San Francisco. Together with Kerouac's "On the Road" and Burrough's "Naked Lunch" it forms the highlight of Beat literature.
|Now I'm looking for a contemporary writer, nicknamed 'the demon dog of American crime fiction'. He made his debut in 1981 with the Chandleresque "Brown's Requiem". Curtis Hanson's film adaptation of "L.A. Confidential" made this writer a household name all over the world. Some other titles are "American Tabloid" and "Black Dahlia". What's his name?|
James Ellroy. His real name is Lee Earle Ellroy. When this quiz got online, director Robert Greenwald was working on a film adaptation of Ellroy's 1996 novel "My Dark Places", an autobiographical crime novel in which he investigates the unresolved murder on his mother.
|Making his debut in 1900 with "The son of the wolf" and dying in 1916, this man was one of the most important American novelists before World War I. He was very much involved in the socialist movement and he embraced the views of Darwin and Nietzsche. He 'believed in both the inevitable triumph of the working class and the evolutionary necessity of the survival of the strongest' (NAAL). His personal involvement in socialism led to a number of polemic works as "War of the Classes" and "Revolution". His belief in the law of survival and the will to power is dramatized in his most popular novels: "Call of the Wild" and "The SeaWolf". What is the name of this author, who claimed he only wrote for the money?|
Jack London. Jack London (official name: John Griffith London) received his surname from his stepfather. His biological father, William H. Chaney, abandoned Jack's mother, Flora Wellman, when she was three months pregnant. Three months later Flora Wellman married John London, and Jack was given his name at birth. Apparently, he never met his biological father. (NAAL-quote taken from "The Norton Anthology of American Literature".)
|The father of imagist poetry, friend of T.S. Eliot, who credited him as 'Il Miglior Fabbro'. He later became a strong admirer of Mussolini and moved to Italy. After the second world war he was put in St. Elizabeth's Hospital for the criminally insane in Washington. Although he was a very controversial poet, he won the Bollingen Prize for poetry in 1948, with "The Pisan Cantos". Who is this man?|
Ezra Pound & Ezra pound & Ezra Loomis Pound &Pound. Whether you like his poetry or not, it cannot be denied that Pound had an enormous influence on twentieth century poetry, all over the western world.
|Dorothy Rothschild was born in 1893, in New York. She wrote captions for fashion photos in Vogue magazine and played piano in a dancing school. After she lost her job, she tried to establish herself as an independent writer. In 1926 "Enough Rope" appeared, which became a best-seller. It featured bitter, yet humorous poems about the every day life of a women in the big city. For example "Résumé", a poem about suicide: 'Razors pain you;/ Rivers are damp;/ Acids stain you;/ And drugs cause cramp./ Guns aren't lawful;/ Nooses give;/ Gas smells awful;/ You might as well live.' She also wrote short stories. Born Rothschild, she chose to use her first husband's surname as her public name. How do we know Dorothy Rothschild better?|
Dorothy Parker. Her first husband was Edwin Pond Parker II, whom she married in 1917 and divorced in 1928. In 1933 she married Alan Campbell, an actor, and they went to Hollywood to work as scriptwriters. I'll give you another poem from "Enough Rope", for no other reason than because they're such good fun: "General Review of the Sex Situation: Woman wants monogamy;/ Man delights in novelty./ Love is woman's moon and sun;/ Man has other forms of fun./ Woman lives but in her lord;/ Count to ten, and man is bored./ With this the gist and sum of it,/ What earthly good can come of it?"
|Born in 1931, she was the first African American women to win the Nobel Prize for literature. Two of her most famous novels are "Jazz" and "Beloved", the latter of which won her the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 and was made into a film ten years later by Jonathan Demme and starred, among others, Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover. Name?|
Toni Morrison. Hope you didn't answer Mary J. Blige.
|Who wrote the following novels: "The Grapes of Wrath", "Of Mice and Men", "Tortilla Flat" and "Cannery Row"?|
John Steinbeck & Steinbeck. I love John Steinbeck. That's why I think it's a shame that his books have been gradually losing fame over the years. I'd very much like to see a Steinbeck-revival coming up.
|In the first half of the century, there was woman who wrote imagist poetry. She signed her poems with the initials H.D. What was her real name?|
Hilda Doolittle. Her poems were among the first important products of the imagist movement. One of her greatest poems is called "The Walls Do Not Fall", from 1944, which deals with World War II.
|Last question, so why not have a difficult one. Who wrote "Spoon River Anthology", a poetry collection from 1915 that lacked rhyme, featured unpoetic diction and presented the ordinary lives and small-town values of the Spoon River people? He's a man, he was born in Chicago, later moved to New York and died there in 1950. Who is he?|
Edgar Lee Masters. Tried to fool you with Sandburg, who was also from Chicago and even wrote a poem named after that city.
I don't really know if Edgar Lee Masters is still a well-known name, but he definitely was in his own age. I stumbled across some of his poems a few months ago and I immediately liked them. He wrote more than fifty books, but none of them gained the same success as "Spoon River Anthology", except perhaps for the sequel "The New Spoon River", from 1924. Thanks for playing the quiz.
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