For those interested in Williams’s other writings, probably the best place to start would be with his Selected Poems, first published in 1949 and reprinted and augmented many times since. A comprehensive portrait of Williams’s verse is provided in the two-volume Complete Poetry of William Carlos Williams. Most of Williams’s novels, as well as his Autobiography (1951), are still in print.
Williams worked with many original historical texts in writing In the American Grain, and those texts are frequently available in commercially produced editions. The diaries of Columbus and the letters of Cortéz to the King of Spain were texts that Williams consulted which are easily accessible today. Another fascinating portrait of the conquest of the Aztecs is provided by Bernal Diaz del Castillo, one of Cortéz’s soldiers, who wrote his True History of the Conquest of New Spain (1568), refuting Cortéz’s self-serving depiction of the defeat of Montezuma. Bartolome de las Casas was a Catholic priest who lived in southern Mexico in the late sixteenth century, and his book The Destruction of the Indians (first published in English in 1656) provides chilling descriptions of Spanish colonial policies towards the Indians of the area—policies that included enslavement and genocide.
The American colonial period is well documented. William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation (1654) describes the early days of the Puritans. Nathaniel Hawthorne, born into a family with Puritan ancestors, focused on the dark side of Puritan society in his fiction. His novel The Scarlet Letter (1850) tells the story of Hester Prynne, marked...
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