American and European Literary Imagination

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Overview

Western culture is composed of a subtle and complex mixture of influences: religious, philosophical, linguistic, political, social, and sociological. American culture is a particular strain, but unless European antecedents and contemporary leanings are duly noted, any resulting history is predestined to provincialism and distortion. In his account of American literature during the period 1919 to 1932, McCormick deals with the extraordinary work of artists who wrested imaginative order from a world in which the abyss was never out of sight.

McCormick's volume is intended as a critical, rather than encyclopedic history of literature on both sides of the Atlantic between the end of World War I and the political and social crises that arose in the 1930s. Although he emphasizes American writers, the emergence of a vital and distinctly modern American literature is located in the cultural encounter with Europe and the rejection of national bias by the major figures of the period.

McCormick deals with Gertrude Stein and the mythology of the "lost generation," the tensions and ambivalences of traditionalism and modernity in the work of Sherwood Anderson and F. Scott Fitzgerald, the effect and qualities of Hemingway's style as compared to that of Henry de Montherlant, and the provincial iconoclasm of Sinclair Lewis juxtaposed with the more telling satire of Italo Svevo. The formal innovations in the work of John Dos Passos, E.E. Cummings, and William Faulkner, the poetic revolution against cultural parochialism and genteel romanticism is given extensive consideration with regard to the work of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, and Marianne Moore are also discussed. The concluding chapters discuss literary and social criticism and assess the influence of psychoanalysis, philosophical pragmatism, and radical historiography on the intellectual climate of the period.

Teachers and students in English and American Literature, American History, and Comparative Literature, and the general reader interested in the writing of the period, may gain new insights from these valuations, devaluations, and re-evaluations.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
This new edition of John McCormick's American & European Literary Imagination 19191932 is enhanced with a new introduction by the author who is professor emeritus of comparative literature at Rutgers University and Honorary Fellow of English and Literature at the University of York. McCormick offers a critical and selective history of English and American literature between the end of World War I and the political and social crises emerging through the 1920s and into the first years of the 1930s. Here the work of Gertrude Stein, Sherwood Anderson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, John Dos Passos, E.E. Cummings, William Faulkner, and many others are discussed within the context of their times. McCormick treats the reader to an informative and thoughtprovoking chapters on literary and social criticism, assesses the influence of psychoanalysis, philosophical pragmatism, and radial historiography on upon the literature and intellectual climate of the times. A thoroughly engaging and scholarly study, American & European Literary Imagination 19191932 is a highly recommended addition to the reading lists and library reference collections for literary, intellectual history, and humanities studies.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765806352
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/31/2000
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 8.94 (w) x 7.96 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

John McCormick (1918-2010) taught American Studies at the Free University, Berlin, and later went on to become distinguished professor of comparative literature at Rutgers University. He is the author of numerous works, including Bullfighting, American and European Literary Imagination, Catastrophe and Imagination, and Fiction as Knowledge.

John McCormick (1918-2010) taught American Studies at the Free University, Berlin, and later went on to become distinguished professor of comparative literature at Rutgers University. He is the author of numerous works, including Bullfighting, American and European Literary Imagination, Catastrophe and Imagination, and Fiction as Knowledge.

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