Caldwell, Erskine (1903-1987) - Research Article from St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture

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Although Erskine Caldwell gradually descended into obscurity, during his heyday in the 1930s and 1940s his books were perennial best-sellers. Notorious for the explicit sexuality in his novels about Southern poor whites, Caldwell withstood several obscenity trials and saw his work banned on a regular basis. Caldwell's trademark mixture of sex, violence, and black humor garnered various reactions. Southerners in particular felt that Caldwell pandered to stereotypes of the South as a land of ignorance, sloth, and depravity, but many respected literary critics saw burlesque humor, leftist political activism, or uncompromising realism in Caldwell's writing. Caldwell's major fiction included Tobacco Road (1932), God's Little Acre (1933), Kneel to the Rising Sun and Other Stories (1935), Trouble in July (1940), and Georgia Boy (1943). In addition to novels and short stories, Caldwell coauthored a number of photograph-and-text books with his second wife, photographer Margaret Bourke-White, the most popular of which...

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This section contains 728 words
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