As a source of literary inspiration, New Orleans has few peers among American cities. For more than a century writers of diverse stripe have been drawn by the city's singular appeal, a result of the intermingling of a host of cultural influences--French, Spanish, African, West Indian--as well as the lingering vestiges of the frontier spirit and ...
As a source of literary inspiration, New Orleans has few peers among American cities. For more than a century writers of diverse stripe have been drawn by the city's singular appeal, a result of the intermingling of a host of cultural influences--French, Spanish, African, West Indian--as well as the lingering vestiges of the frontier spirit and the ordeals of the Civil War. Literary New Orleans is an altogether engaging collection of ruminations on some of the most important writers who have fallen under the spell of this exotic place. The nineteenth-century author George Washington Cable, though a native New Orleanian, was in many respects an outsider. As Alice Hall Petry notes, Cable, a man of Puritan ancestry, frequently cast a critical eye on what he perceived to be the moral failings of New Orleans society, particularly in regard to issues of race. Grace King, on the other hand, was an unfailing apologist for her city and region. Robert Bush writes about King's life and career, noting that she combined a political conservatism with a forward-looking attitude toward the role of women in the world. Though neither was a native of New Orleans, both Lafcadio Hearn and Kate Chopin were influenced, in different ways, by their experiences there. Hephzibah Roskelly describes the writing that emerged from the years that Hearn spent among the city's marginalized ethnic populations, and Anne Rowe notes that Chopin's memories of New Orleans found expression in much of her best work, including her still widely read novel The Awakening. W. Kenneth Holditch has interviewed everyone he could locate who was a member of the French Quarter's artistic colony in the 1920s in order to bring WilliamFaulkner's stay in New Orleans to life and discuss its influence on his work. In another piece Holditch describes the creative and personal freedom Tennessee Williams found in the Crescent City, which the playwright called his spiritual home. Walker Percy lived in New Orleans for only
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