From suburbia and skyscraper scrawl to the open prairies and 'local color', slum life to rural idyll: reprinting American and British literary classics.



America witnessed great social transition between the end of its Civil War and the beginning of the First World War. Depictions of rural idyll and its regional traditions of ‘local color’ writing were carried forward, but a metropolitan mode of unforeseen scale was introduced to its literature, with descriptions of urbanity and culture, but also of a suburban, skyscraper scrawl. Social distress and a new politics came also with this vast lifestyle.

The artisan virtue signalling of Ruskin and William Morris and the aestheticism of Paget and Wilde were overwhelmed by the profit and lost of an abacus and a vibrant and strongly utilitarian publishing industry that rejoiced in feeding the five thousand rather than just the disciples. The novel and short story form developed, Modernism added spice to the mix, and there was a move towards provincial novels and writing with a much greater sense of place.