Some of the greatest stories of American literature are the stories of the authors themselves and the places that sparked their imaginations.

2010 Eric Hoffer Prize Winner [ Art Book ]

“This absolutely gorgeous book belongs in every book lover’s library.”
— Shelf-Awareness

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This award-winning 304 page coffee table book takes a look at 26 of America’s great authors and the places that inspired them. Unique to this book of literary biography is the element of the photograph. With over 140 photographs throughout, the images add mood and dimension to the writing – and they are often shockingly close to what the featured authors described in their own words. Lushly illustrated, and beautifully designed, the book is as much of a pleasure to look at as it is to read.

Rags to riches. Forbidden loves. Supernatural experiences. Narrow escapes. Some of the greatest stories of American literature are the stories of the authors themselves and the places that sparked their imaginations. In 2008, writer Thomas Hummel and photographer Tamra Dempsey set out in search of the sources of inspiration for 26 of this country’s greatest authors. Two years and twenty thousand miles later, the result is A Journey Through Literary America — a literary pilgrimage in photography and prose that begins in New York City.

“The land was ours before we were the land’s,” Robert Frost wrote. In the centuries after the founding of the United States, American writers painted the vast blank continent in colors from their own experience. Their experience became our experience. In seven sections, ranging from “New England’s Early Leafs” to “The Inner Migration,” from “America’s Main Streets” to “Twentieth Century Excursions,” this book examines the facets of the American literary experience through captivating biographies, over 140 vivid photographs, hand drawn maps by Sinclair Lewis and William Faulkner, and in the words of the authors themselves.

This is a volume for the literary enthusiast, the armchair traveler or the intrepid reader. It is a handsome and beautifully illustrated companion for those who seek to learn more about authors they have read and those who wish to discover new writers. It’s the perfect gift for book lovers.


Beginnings
Washington Irving & James Fenimore CooperThe Catskills, New York

New England: Her Early Leafs
Ralph Waldo Emerson & Henry David ThoreauConcord, Massachusetts
Nathaniel HawthorneConcord, Salem & the Berkshires, Massachusetts
Herman MelvilleNew Bedford & the Berkshires, Massachusetts
A Later Flowering: Robert FrostVermont & New Hampshire

Reeling Westward: From the Pioneer Spirit to the “Turn of the World”
Willa CatherRed Cloud, Nebraska
Wallace StegnerLeadville, Colorado • New Almaden, California & the West
John SteinbeckMonterey, Pacific Grove & Salinas, California
Robinson JeffersCarmel & Big Sur, California

Not Forgotten: Yoknapatawpha to Altamont
William FaulknerOxford, Mississippi
Thomas WolfeAsheville, North Carolina

Main Streets: Gopher Prairie, Minnesota to Winesburg, Ohio
Sinclair LewisSauk Centre, Minnesota
Sherwood AndersonClyde, Ohio

The Inner Migration: What Happens to a Dream
Langston HughesHarlem, New York
Toni MorrisonLorain, Ohio
Rita DoveAkron, Ohio

Twentieth Century Excursions
Henry MillerBrooklyn, New York
Ernest HemingwayHorton Bay & Walloon Lake, Michigan
Flannery O’ConnorMilledgeville, Georgia
John UpdikeShillington, Plowville & Reading, Pennsylvania
Philip RothNewark & Mendham, New Jersey
Raymond CarverYakima & Port Angeles, Washington
E. Annie ProulxWyoming
Richard FordPrinceton, Hopewell, Pennington & the Shore, New Jersey


  • Icy Glen
  • Herman Melville

A Journey Through Literary America

Size:   8 3/4” x 9 3/4” (vertical)
Pages:   304 Full-Color w/ over 140 photographs
Publisher:   Val de Grâce Books • Napa, California
ISBN:   978-0-9817425-1-9
Shelving:   Travel, Biography, Literary Studies, Literary Landmarks, Photography, America-General
Ancillary Items:   Greeting Cards & Fine Art Prints
Released:   October 2009
Retail Price:   $35.00


We are proud to support the new American Writers Museum. Purchase the book, greeting cards or fine art prints directly through this website and we'll donate 50%. Purchases must be made DIRECTLY THROUGH THIS WEBSITE to benefit the AWM.

It’s the Perfect Gift for Book Lovers!

Personally signed editions available. Please note in your order if you would like your book signed by either Thomas, Tamra or both.


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