The Cambridge History of American Literature, Volume 2: Prose Writing, 1820-1865

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The narratives in this volume make for a four-fold perspective on literature: social, cultural, intellectual, and aesthetic; they constitute a basic reassessment of American prose-writing between 1820 and 1865. These narratives place the American literature in an international context, while never losing sight of its distinctive American characteristics, whether colonial, provincial, or national. Together, they offer a compelling and comprehensive revision of the literary importance of early American history and the historical value of early American literature.

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Editorial Reviews

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"...the general editor has assembled four sophisticated contributions that reassess the remarkable achievemant of the period....the book's four sections are a hand difficult to beat for an overview of antebellum prose....all four scholars demonstrate themselves in full control of general methodologies as well as the range of prose literature germane to them." Reviews in American History

"...Cambridge University Press continues to remake scholarly standards in the study of American literature....These essays are smart and remarkably rich in historical detail....The Cambridge History of American Literature earns its place on the offering the reader far more detail about early American life and letters than any other single source." Peter Temes, Harvard Review

"...a real strength of this literary history is that its main focus is on literature rather than history....I still go to literature to learn about myself." Stephen Railton, Nineteenth-Century Literature

"...each of the essays is a wide-ranging monograph, citing numerous authors and drawing upon the historical, intellectual, political, and economic traditions to which they respond....The result is a rich tapestry in which these four scholars speak to each other to provide a multifaceted view of a crucial forty-five years of American literary history....I'm keeping this book within reach as an indispensable resource." Nancy A. Walker, American Studies

"The Cambridge History of American Literature [...] is, without doubt and without any serious rival, THE scholarly history for our generation." —Journal of American Studies

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Conditions of Literary Vocation, 1820–1850 Michael D. Bell; 2. The literature of the expansion and race conflict Eric Sundquist; 3. The transcendentalists Barbara L. Packer; Narrative forms Jonathan Arac.

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