American Dream, American Nightmare: Fiction Since 1960

Overview

In this masterful survey of American fiction since 1960, Kathryn Hume explores how estrangement from America has shaped the fiction of a literary generation, which she calls the Generation of the Lost Dream.

Examining the differing critiques of America embedded in nearly one hundred novels, Hume breaks down the divisions among standard categories of race, religion, ethnicity, and gender. She identifies shared core concerns, values, and techniques among seemingly disparate and ...

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Overview

In this masterful survey of American fiction since 1960, Kathryn Hume explores how estrangement from America has shaped the fiction of a literary generation, which she calls the Generation of the Lost Dream.

Examining the differing critiques of America embedded in nearly one hundred novels, Hume breaks down the divisions among standard categories of race, religion, ethnicity, and gender. She identifies shared core concerns, values, and techniques among seemingly disparate and unconnected writers including T. Coraghessan Boyle, Ralph Ellison, Russell Banks, Gloria Naylor, Tim O'Brien, Maxine Hong Kingston, Walker Percy, N. Scott Momaday, John Updike, Toni Morrison, William Kennedy, Julia Alvarez, Thomas Pynchon, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Don DeLillo.

Hume explores fictional treatments of the slippage in the immigrant experience between America's promise and its reality. She exposes the political link between contemporary stories of lost innocence and liberalism's inadequacies. She also invites us to look at the literary challenge to scientific materialism in various searches for a spiritual dimension in life.

About the Author:

Kathryn Hume, Distinguished Professor of English at Penn State University, is the author of four other books, including Fantasy and Mimesis: Responses to Reality in Western Literature and Calvino's Fictions: Cogito and Cosmos.

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What People Are Saying

Brian McHale
It's hard to think of a critical book as a 'page-turner,' but I literally read American Dream, American Nightmare as though it were a novel, so engaging did I find it.
— (Brian McHale, author of Postmodernist Fiction)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252070570
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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