Trinity University Press

Literary Washington, D.C.

From the Literary Cities series

Patrick Allen (editor), Alan Cheuse (foreword)

The first book to capture the rich literary history of the nation’s capital city

The public face of Washington—the gridiron of L’Enfant’s avenues, the buttoned-down demeanor of Sloan Wilson’s archetypal “Man in the Grey Flannel Suit,” the monumental buildings of the Triangle—rarely gives up the secrets of this city’s rich life. But beneath the surface there are countless stories to be told. From the early swamp days to the Civil War, the Gilded Age to the New Deal and McCarthy eras, as the center of world power to its underlying multicultural social fabric, Washington is a writer’s town.

While this is surprising to some, it is not news to the close observer. Alan Cheuse, in the foreword to Literary Washington, D.C., writes, “Part of this peculiar city’s sense of place is that it serves as a capital for people who have no permanent sense of place. . . . War has brought us here, peace has brought us here, love has kept us here, and love or loss of love will give some of us reason to leave again. Which makes Washington, D.C., exactly like most other places in the rest of the country and the rest of the world—only more so.”

In fact, D.C. has been a magnet for great writers for centuries. In Literary Washington, D.C., the story of the capital of world power is finally told by novelists, poets, journalists, essayists, and politicians and patriots.


  • Henry Adams
  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Elizabeth Bishop
  • Connie Briscoe
  • Sterling A. Brown
  • Christopher Buckley
  • Alan Cheuse
  • Charles Dickens
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Rita Dove
  • Allen Drury
  • Carlos Fuentes
  • Marita Golden
  • Patricia Browning Griffith
  • Joy Harjo
  • Robert Hayden
  • Essex Hemphill
  • Carolivia Herron
  • Langston Hughes
  • Henry James
  • Randall Jarrell
  • Edward P. Jones
  • Ward Just
  • Elizabeth Keckley
  • Garrison Keillor
  • Archibald MacLeish
  • Larry McMurtry
  • H. L. Mencken
  • Willie Morris
  • Susan Richards Shreve
  • Jean Toomer
  • Frances Trollope
  • Mark Twain
  • Gore Vidal
  • Walt Whitman


Literary Washington, D.C. gathers the writings of 35 local and internationally renowned authors—from Emily Dickinson to Gore Vidal—on topics as divergent as the comings and goings of presidential administrations to collisions between “domestic Washington" and “official Washington.””

National Geographic Traveler

Literary Washington, D.C. cover
  • Price: $16.95 buy »
  • Pages: 320
  • Size: 5.5 x 8.5
  • Published: Aug 2012
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595340788
  • Price: $16.95
  • Published: Sep 2012
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595341259


Literature, Writers / Writing, Regional, Anthology, U.S. Mid-Atlantic