Updated throughout and with much new material, A History of American Literature, Second Edition, is the most up-to-date and comprehensive survey available of the myriad forms of American Literature from pre-Columbian times to the present. The most comprehensive and up-to-date history of American literature available today Covers fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fiction, as well as other forms of literature including folktale, spirituals, the detective story, the thriller, and science fiction Explores the plural character of American literature, including the contributions made by African American, Native American, Hispanic and Asian American writers Considers how our understanding of American literature has changed over the past?thirty years Situates American literature in the contexts of American history, politics and society Offers an invaluable introduction to American literature for students at all levels, academic and general readers
Acknowledgments xi 1 The First Americans: American Literature Before and During the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods 1 Imagining Eden 1 Native American Oral Traditions 4 Spanish and French Encounters with America 14 Anglo-American Encounters 21 Writing of the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods 27 Puritan narratives 28 Challenges to the Puritan oligarchy 32 Some colonial poetry 36 Enemies within and without 44 Trends toward the secular and resistance 48 Toward the Revolution 60 Alternative voices of Revolution 69 Writing Revolution: Poetry, drama, fiction 75 2 Inventing Americas: The Making of American Literature, 1800–1865 88 Making a Nation 88 The Making of American Myths 92 Myths of an emerging nation 92 The making of Western myth 95 The making of Southern myth 105 Legends of the Old Southwest 109 The Making of American Selves 114 The Transcendentalists 114 Voices of African-American identity 126 The Making of Many Americas 133 Native American writing 134 Oral culture of the Hispanic Southwest 139 African-American polemic and poetry 141 Abolitionist and pro-slavery writing 145 Abolitionism and feminism 154 African-American writing 161 The Making of an American Fiction and Poetry 171 The emergence of American narratives 171 Women writers and storytellers 190 Spirituals and folk songs 196 American poetic voices 199 3 Reconstructing the Past, Reimagining the Future: The Development of American Literature, 1865–1900 219 Rebuilding a Nation 219 The Development of Literary Regionalism 224 From Adam to outsider 224 Regionalism in the West and Midwest 231 African-American and Native American voices 233 Regionalism in New England 235 Regionalism in the South 239 The Development of Literary Realism and Naturalism 255 Capturing the commonplace 255 Capturing the real thing 259 Toward Naturalism 269 The Development of Women's Writing 281 Writing by African-American women 281 Writing and the condition of women 284 The Development of Many Americas 290 Things fall apart 290 Voices of resistance 293 Voices of reform 295 The immigrant encounter 299 4 Making It New: The Emergence of Modern American Literature, 1900–1945 308 Changing National Identities 308 Between Victorianism and Modernism 320 The problem of race 320 Building bridges: Women writers 326 Critiques of American provincial life 336 Poetry and the search for form 345 The Inventions of Modernism 359 Imagism, Vorticism, and Objectivism 359 Making it new in poetry 367 Making it new in prose 397 Making it new in drama 420 Traditionalism, Politics, and Prophecy 431 The uses of traditionalism 431 Populism and radicalism 446 Prophetic voices 462 Community and Identity 466 Immigrant writing 466 Native American voices 472 The literature of the New Negro movement and beyond 476 Mass Culture and the Writer 503 Western, detective, and hardboiled fiction 503 Humorous writing 509 Fiction and popular culture 512 5 Negotiating the American Century: American Literature since 1945 519 Toward a Transnational Nation 519 Formalists and Confessionals 532 From the mythological eye to the lonely "I" in poetry 532 From formalism to freedom in poetry 540 The uses of formalism 548 Confessional poetry 554 New formalists, new confessionals 563 Public and Private Histories 568 Documentary and dream in prose 568 Contested identities in prose 576 Crossing borders: Some women prose writers 588 Beats, Prophets, Aesthetes, and New Formalists 599 Rediscovering the American voice: The Black Mountain writers 599 Restoring the American vision: The San Francisco Renaissance 606 Recreating American rhythms: The beat generation 610 Reinventing the American self: The New York poets 615 Redefining American poetry: The New Formalists 623 Resisting orthodoxy: Dissent and experiment in fiction 631 The Art and Politics of Race 640 Defining a new black aesthetic 640 Defining a new black identity in prose 651 Defining a new black identity in drama 663 Telling impossible stories: Recent African-American fiction 668 Realism and its Discontents 678 Confronting the real, stretching the realistic in drama 678 New Journalists and dirty realists 700 Language and Genre 705 Watching nothing: Postmodernity in prose 705 The actuality of words: Postmodern poetry 720 Signs and scenes of crime, science fiction, and fantasy 727 Creating New Americas 740 Dreaming history: European immigrant writing 740 Remapping a nation: Chicano/a and Latino/a writing 748 Improvising America: Asian-American writing 763 New and ancient songs: The return of the Native American 779 After the Fall: American Literature since 9/11 795 Writing the crisis in prose 795 Writing the crisis in drama 809 Writing the crisis in poetry 816 Further Reading 829 Index 857
"Richard Gray's real achievement is somehow to have compressed more than 400 years of thrillingly rich literary history between two covers." (Literary Review)
Richard Gray is Professor of Literature at the University of Essex and former Distinguished Visiting Professor at a number of universities in the United States. He is the first specialist in American literature to be elected a Fellow of the British Academy and has published over a dozen books on the topic, including the award-winning Writing the South: Ideas of an American Region (1986) and The Life of William Faulkner: A Critical Biography (1994). His History of American Literature (Blackwell, 2004) is widely considered to be one of the standard works on the subject.
First published in 2004, A History of American Literature is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed surveys of American Literature from pre-Columbian times to the present available today. This widely anticipated Second Edition features a wealth of fresh updates and new material, including a detailed survey of the fiction, drama, and poetry written in response to 9/11 and the 'war on terror.' Other additions include coverage of the cultural consequences of the new era in American politics ushered in by the election of President Obama, and the development of new literary and cultural movements such as the New Formalists. Written in an informed and approachable style by Richard Gary, one of the leading authorities in the field, this survey helps the reader develop a deeper understanding of and insight into the immensebreadth of American literary traditions within the context of American social and cultural history. While focusing on the full range of fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fiction that has been incorporated into the mainstream literary canon, Gray also considers popular American literary traditions such as oral literature, folktales, spirituals, Westerns, detective stories, thrillers, and science fiction. Compelling and authoritative, A History of American Literature, Second Edition, continues its tradition of representing an unparalleled introduction to the full breadth and diversity of the American literary tradition.
First published in 2004, A History of American Literature is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed surveys of American literature from pre-Columbian times to the present available today. This widely anticipated second edition features a wealth of fresh updates and new material, including a detailed survey of the fiction, drama, and poetry written in response to 9/11 and the “war on terror.” Other additions include coverage of the cultural consequences of the new era in American politics ushered in by the election of President Obama, and the development of new literary and cultural movements such as the New Formalists. Written in an informed and approachable style by Richard Gray, one of the leading authorities in the field, this survey helps the reader develop a deeper understanding of and insight into the immense breadth of American literary traditions within the context of American social and cultural history. While focusing on the full range of fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fiction that has been incorporated into the mainstream literary canon, Gray also considers popular American literary traditions such as oral literature, folktales, spirituals, Westerns, detective stories, thrillers, and science fiction. Compelling and authoritative, A History of American Literature, Second Edition, continues its tradition of representing an unparalleled introduction to the full breadth and diversity of the American literary tradition.
"This book is the first comprehensive, single volume history of American literature since The Columbia Literary History of the United States edited by Elliott Emory and published sixteen years ago. It is a puzzle, given the extraordinary interest in American literature at home and abroad, that so few full histories of American literature have been published. Consider the fact that the Columbia history arrived nearly four decades after R. E. Spiller's Literary History of the United States. What makes Gray's book so extraordinary is that it supercedes the Spiller and Emory texts in nearly every respect, and even challenges the supremacy of the titanic (this pun is intentional), multi-volume, still-evolving Cambridge History of American Literature. How Gray managed to so captivatingly capture the depth and breadth of so complex a literature in under a thousand pages is worth considering. [...] Richard Gray possesses the most balanced scholarship of the entire range of American literature I ever read. [...] This is the first history of American literature fully worthy of the multi-dimensionality of its subject." —Norman Weinstein, Boise State University
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