The Columbia Literary History of the United States

Overview

For the first time in four decades, there exists an authoritative and up-to-date survey of the literature of the United States, from prehistoric cave narratives to the radical movements of the sixties and the experimentation of the eighties.

This comprehensive volume -- one of the century's most important books in American studies -- extensively treats Hawthorne, Melville, Dickinson, Hemingway, and other long-cherished writers, while also giving considerable attention to ...

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Overview

For the first time in four decades, there exists an authoritative and up-to-date survey of the literature of the United States, from prehistoric cave narratives to the radical movements of the sixties and the experimentation of the eighties.

This comprehensive volume -- one of the century's most important books in American studies -- extensively treats Hawthorne, Melville, Dickinson, Hemingway, and other long-cherished writers, while also giving considerable attention to recently discovered writers such as Kate Chopin and to literary movements and forms of writing not studied amply in the past. Informed by the most current critical and theoretical ideas, it sets forth a generation's interpretation of the rise of American civilization and culture.

The Columbia Literary History of the United States contains essays by today's foremost scholars and critics, overseen by a board of distinguished editors headed by Emory Elliott of Princeton University. These contributors reexamine in contemporary terms traditional subjects such as the importance of Puritanism, Romanticism, and frontier humor in American life and writing, but they also fully explore themes and materials that have only begun to receive deserved attention in the last two decades. Among these are the role of women as writers, readers, and literary subjects and the impact of writers from minority groups, both inside and outside the literary establishment.

Columbia University Press

For the first time in four decades, there exists an authoritative, up-to-date survey of the literature of the United States, from prehistoric cave narratives to the radical movements of the sixties and the experimentation of the eighties.

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Editorial Reviews

Paul Fussell
Thoroughly up-to-date in understanding and attitude, this new literary history is refreshingly contentious and crammed with bright and bold reevaluations. It is intellectually challenging and socially and politically provocative.
Library Journal
Given the publisher's prestige and the numerous contributors, most libraries will regard this new literary history as a necessary purchase. And it probably is necessary. One regrets, however, certain editorial decisions. For example, there is no bibliography other than what is found in the essays themselves; in precision and number, these citations are not what one would expect of such histories. The decision to represent a ``variety of viewpoints'' and to permit ``considerable variation in approach, tone, and style'' caused huge variations in the value of the various essays. Most are standard scholarly fare, but some are simply too personal and subjective. This new history will replace Spiller's 40-year-old Literary History of the United States , since Spiller does not reflect new critical emphases that have emerged in the past 20 years. Peter Dollard, Alma Coll. Lib., Mich.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231058124
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 2/8/1988
  • Pages: 1263
  • Lexile: 1480L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Table of Contents

PrefaceGeneral IntroductionNote on the TextAcknowledgmentsPart One - Beginnings to 1810Associate Editor, Daniel B. SheaI.A Key into the Languages of AmericaThe Native VoiceThe Literature of Discovery and ExplorationEnglish Literature at the American MomentThe Puritan Vision of the New WorldII.The Prose and Poetry of Colonial AmericaHistory and ChronicleSermons and Theological WritingsBiography and AutobiographyThe Poetry of Colonial AmericaIII.America in TransitionFrom Cotton Mather to Benjamin FranklinJonathan Edwards, Charles Chauncy, and the Great AwakeningThomas Jefferson and the Writing of the SouthIV.The Literature of the New RepublicThe American Revolution as a Literary EventPoetry in the Early RepublicCharles Brockden Brown and Early American FictionToward a National Literature

Part Two 1810-1865Associate Editor, Terence MartinI.The Age in PerspectiveIdealism and IndependenceII.Cultural Diversity and Literary FormsWashington Irving and the Knickerbocker GroupJames Fenimore Cooper and the Writers of the FrontierEdgar Allan Poe and the Writers of the Old SouthWilliam Cullen Bryant and the Fireside PoetsThe Rise of the Woman AuthorForms of Regional HumorA New Nation's DramaIII.Intellectual Movements and Social ChangeSocial Discourse and Nonfictional ProseThe TranscendentalistsIV.The American RenaissanceRalph Waldo EmersonHenry David ThoreauNathaniel HawthorneHerman MelvilleWalt Whitman

Part Three 1865-1910Associate Editor, Martha BantaI.Signs of the TimesLiterature and CultureCulture and ConsciousnessII.Genre DeliberationsRealism and RegionalismNaturalism and the Languages of DeterminismIII.Literary DiversitiesLiterature for the PopulaceImmigrants and Other AmericansWomen Writers and the New WomanIV.Major VoicesEmily DickinsonMark TwainHenry AdamsHenry James

Part Four 1910-1945Associate Editor, David MinterI.Contexts and BackgroundsThe Emergence of ModernismIntellectual Life and Public DiscourseLiterary Scenes and Literary MovementsII.Regionalism, Ethnicity, and Gender: Comparative Literary CulturesRegionalism: A Diminished ThingAfro-American LiteratureMexican American LiteratureAsian American LiteratureWomen Writers Between the WarsIII.FictionThe Diversity of American FictionErnest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Gertrude SteinWilliam FaulknerIV.Poetry and CriticismThe Diversity of American PoetryRobert FrostEzra Pound and T. S. EliotWilliam Carlos Williams and Wallace StevensLiterary Criticism

Part Five 1945 to the PresentAssociate Editor, Marjorie PerloffI.The Postwar EraCulture, Power, and SocietyThe New PhilosophyLiterature as Radical StatementII.Forms and GenresPoetry Twentieth-Century DramaNeorealist FictionSelf-Reflexive FictionIII.The PresentThe Fictions of the PresentThe Avante-Garde and Experimental Writing

Notes on ContributorsIndex

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