Studies in Midwestern History

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Unfortunately, many Midwestern writers are used to being labeled “regional” in a pejorative sense. In the past, many have indeed left the Midwest because the region offered far fewer possibilities than the coasts (e.g., Hemingway, Cather, Lewis, and Fitzgerald). Thanks to such things as the development of literary small presses and MFA and history programs, this has begun to change—witness such important writers as Ted Kooser and Louise Erdrich who have stayed in the Midwest and written about the richness of material they find right here at “home.” More than ever, we—writers and readers alike—need to realize the positive (and complex) sides of “regionalism,” to rid ourselves of the “chips” that have been many years in the making.

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