Ruppersburg is a professor of english and associate dean of arts and sciences at the University of Georgia.
Conrad Potter Aiken was born on August 5, 1889 in Savannah, Georgia. He attended Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, where he edited the school newspaper, played baseball, and won a tennis doubles championship. In 1907, he entered Harvard University and became friends with T.S. Eliot. Knowing he was destined to be a poet from an early age, Aiken is paradoxically regarded by some critics as both a dazzling craftsman and by others as being long-winded and vague. However, many critics feel that he was central to American literature, a "literary period in himself." Aiken is perhaps best known for his 1930 Pulitzer Prize-winning book Selected Poems (1929), but he regarded the poem "Ushant" as his most satisfying work. In almost all of Aiken's works, his overriding concern has been to resolve what might be called a personal identity crisis in terms of the cosmic evolution of consciousness and one's relationship to the world at large. In the 1920s Aiken turned to short story writing to supplement his income. Overall, he published more than 50 titles, including 35 collections of poetry, five novels, one autobiographical essay, and several collections of short stories and criticism. Conrad Aiken died on August 17, 1973 at the age of 84.
Erskine Caldwell has been called one of the most banned and censored authors in the United States. The son of a traveling minister, born in White Oak, Georgia in 1903, Caldwell received little formal education, as a young man, Caldwell took odd jobs and worked in the Southern states. He attended briefly Erskine College, Due West, South Carolina, and the Universities of Virginia and Pennsylvania for some semesters. Yet he became a prolific writer whose novels explore the seamy side of life in the American South. At the age of eighteen he went on a gun-running boat to South America, he played professional football and worked as mill-hand, cotton-picker, and in other such occupations. For a time Caldwell was a cub reporter on the Atlanta Journal. In the 1920s Caldwell moved to Maine to devote himself to writing. After several Spartan years, he had three stories accepted for publication. In 1930 Caldwell destroyed all his unpublished work from previous years. 'Country Full of Swedes' was published in the Yale Review, and it received $1,000 award from the journal in 1933. American Earth, a collection of short stories about petty passions and little lecheries, was published in 1931. Some of the stories had first appeared in such magazines as The American Caravan, Blues, Frankfurter Zeitung, Front, The Hound and Horn, Nativity, Pagany, Scribner's Magazine, This Quarter, and transition. The title of one of his novels Tobacco Road (1932) became slang for poverty and degeneracy. The book was made into both a movie (1941) and a long-running Broadway show (1933-1941). Other novels, some of which were made into later films, include The Bastard (1929), Poor Fool (1930), and God's Little Acre (1933). By the late 1940's, Caldwell had sold more books than any writer in the nation's history. Caldwell became a reporter for the Atlanta Journal in 1925, worked as a scriptwriter in Hollywood and was a newspaper correspondent in Mexico, Spain, Czechoslovakia, Russia and China. In 1984, Caldwell was elected, along with Norman Mailer, to the fifty-chair body of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Caldwell is the author of 25 novels, 150 short stories and 12 nonfiction books. He died in Paradise Valley, Arizona on April 11, 1987.