Contemporary Writers

Literature of 1946 to the Present

In the years since Wold War II, American life has grown more and more diversified and complex. This diversity is reflected in the wide variety of different types of literary works written in the last decades.

Historical Context

Soon after the United States dropped the first nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, a new era began, characterized by rapid change. Everyday, new technology insures continual change in American life. The United States has participated (and still participates) in wars abroad. The nation passes through periods of stability and then unrest - only to be repeated again and again.

Literary Movements

A number of small literary movements have developed since World War II. These movements are often referred to as Postmodernism. In fiction, some writers have continued to develop the fragmentary approach of the Modernists. Others have tried blending realism and fantasy in their works, and still others have experimented with radically different fictional forms and techniques.In poetry, many small regional movements have developed, and the poetry that has been written has varied dramatically in form, style, and content.

During the contemporary period, writers have continued to use many of the literary forms and techniques that were popular during the Modern Age. Free verse has remained a dominate poetic form, and many poets have continued to focus on creating vivid, striking images in their poems. In addition to using popular modern devices such as the stream-of-consciousness technique, fiction writers hav experimented with a variety of new forms and techniques. For example, writers have composed works from dialogue alone, have created works that blend fiction with nonfiction, and have experimented with the physical appearance of their worlk.

The Beat Generation


Sandra Cisneros

Maxine Hong

Don DeLillo

Saul Bellow

Ayn Rand

James Baldwin

Truman Capote

Joan Didion

Ralph Ellison

Louise Erdrich

Jonathon Franzen

Gish Jen