A Cultural History of the American Novel, 1890-1940: Henry James to William Faulkner

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This book interweaves a wide selection of the novels of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with a series of cultural events ranging from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show to the Southern Renaissance of the 1930s.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It [the book] gives contemporary scholars and students a desperately needed sense of place and position from which to view and understand the origins of our dominant literary and intellectual tradition. ...Minter balances a broad and thorough range of works and authors with in-depth, detailed, and persuasive readings of individual texts. ...Minter brings fresh insights to his historical and literary materials through acute critical intelligence, informed historical consciousness, and penchant for developing fascinating juxtapositions and relations." Modernity

"David Minter's book is a model of the way literary history should be done...Minter's elegant writing makes the book a pleasure to read." John T. Irwin, Johns Hopkins University

"...A Cultural History of the American Novel approximates a luminous archaeology of the burgeoning modernist period, uncovering the spectral relations between culture, cultural production, and the socio-political pressures of the times....Given the wide range of such powerful insights and 'cultural readings,' Minter's book will undoubtedly prove valuable not only to scholars of American literary history but also to anyone interested in understanding the all too often invisible connections between cultural production, 'real' people and 'real issues'—such as racism, scientific/technological invention, discovery, ethnicity, borders, responsibility, freedom, World War. hope, assent and democracy." Carlton Smith, American Literature

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521452854
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2007
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

A Preface in Two Parts
A Note on Sources, Citations, and Bibliography
Pt. 1 A Dream City, Lyric Years, and a Great War
1 The Novel as Ironic Reflection 1
2 Confidence and Uncertainty in The Portrait of a Lady 5
3 Lines of Expansion 11
4 Four Contemporaries and the Closing of the West 21
5 Chicago's "Dream City" 23
6 Frederick Jackson Turner in the Dream City 27
7 Henry Adam's Education and the Grammar of Progress 31
8 Jack London's Career and Popular Discourse 38
9 Innocence and Revolt in the "Lyric Years": 1900-1916 43
10 The Armory Show of 1913 and the Decline of Innocence 50
11 The Play of Hope and Despair 54
12 The Great War and the Fate of Writing 64
Pt. 2 Fiction in a Time of Plenty
1 When the War Was Over: The Return of Detachment 77
2 The "Jazz Age" and the "Lost Generation" Revisited 81
3 The Perils of Plenty, or How the Twenties Acquired a Paranoid Tilt 96
4 Disenchantment, Flight, and the Rise of Professionalism in an Age of Plenty 103
5 Class, Power, and Violence in a New Age 110
6 The Fear of Feminization and the Logic of Modest Ambition 117
7 Marginality and Authority / Race, Gender, and Region 125
8 War as Metaphor: The Example of Ernest Hemingway 133
Pt. 3 The Fate of Writing During the Great Depression
1 The Discovery of Poverty and the Return of Commitment 147
2 The Search for "Culture" as a Form of Commitment 152
3 Three Responses: The Examples of Henry Miller, Djuna Barnes, and John Dos Passos 160
4 Cowboys, Detectives, and Other Tough-Guy Antinomians: Residual Individualism and Hedged Commitments 167
5 The Search for Shared Purpose: Struggles on the Left 181
6 Documentary Literature and the Disarming of Dissent 195
7 The Southern Renaissance: Forms of Reaction and Innovation 202
8 History and Novels / Novels and History: The Example of William Faulkner 215
Notes 231
Bibliographical Notes 234
Bibliography 247
Index 253
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