The American Novel And Its Tradition

Overview

"Since the earliest days," writes Richard Chase in this classic study, "the American novel, in its most original and characteristic form, has worked out its destiny and defined itself by incorporating an element of romance." In his detailed study of works by Charles Brockden Brown, James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Henry James, Frank Norris, George Washington Cable, William Dean Howells, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Faulkner, Chase identifies and traces this tradition through two centuries of American

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Overview

"Since the earliest days," writes Richard Chase in this classic study, "the American novel, in its most original and characteristic form, has worked out its destiny and defined itself by incorporating an element of romance." In his detailed study of works by Charles Brockden Brown, James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Henry James, Frank Norris, George Washington Cable, William Dean Howells, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Faulkner, Chase identifies and traces this tradition through two centuries of American literature.

The best novelists, he argues, have found uses for romance beyond the escapism, fantasy, and sentimentality often associated with it. Through romance, these writers mirror the extremes of American culture—the Puritan melodrama of good and evil, or the pastoral idyll inspired by the American wilderness.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801823039
  • Publisher: Hopkins Fulfillment Service
  • Publication date: 9/19/1980
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Chase, author of Quest for Myth, Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman Reconsidered, and other books, was a member of the English department faculty at Columbia University until his death in 1962.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction vii
I The Broken Circuit 1
A Culture of Contradictions 1
Novel vs. Romance 12
The Historical View 13
James on the Novel vs. the Romance 21
II Brockden Brown's Melodramas 29
Wieland 29
Edgar Huntly 35
A Note on Melodrama 37
III The Significance of Cooper 43
Satanstoe 47
The Prairie 52
IV Hawthorne and the Limits of Romance 67
The Scarlet Letter 67
The A vs. the Whale 80
The Blithedale Romance 82
V Melville and Moby-Dick 89
How Moby-Dick Was Written 93
An Epic Romance 100
The Meaning of Moby-Dick 105
A Note on Billy Budd 113
VI The Lesson of the Master 117
The Portrait of a Lady 117
VII Mark Twain and the Novel 139
Huckleberry Finn 139
Pudd'nhead Wilson 149
VIII Three Novels of Manners 157
The Great Gatsby 162
Cable's Grandissimes 167
The Vacation of the Kelwyns 177
IX Norris and Naturalism 185
McTeague 188
The Octopus 193
Norris Historically Viewed 198
X Faulkner--the Great Years 205
As I Lay Dying 207
Light in August 210
The Sound and the Fury 219
Appendix I 237
Sanctuary vs. The Turn of the Screw 237
Appendix II 243
Romance, the Folk Imagination, and Myth Criticism 243
Works Cited 247
Index 249
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