A History of American Literature / Edition 2

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"This new history of American literature from pre-Columbian times to the present is written in an informed and accessible style by one of the leading authorities in the field. While paying attention to the full range of fiction, poetry, drama and non-fiction that has been incorporated into the mainstream literary canon, it also looks at other forms, including oral literature, folktales, spirituals, the blues, the western, the defective story, the thriller and science fiction. All this writing is placed in the context of American social and cultural history both before and after the formation of the United States." Taking account of the radical changes that have occurred in our understanding of American literature over the past 30 years, this book concentrates above all on the plural character of culture in the United States, the conflicting forces at work in its history, and the continuing acts of imagination that constitute the making of this nation.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this scholarly but accessible history of American literature, subject specialist Gray (Univ. of Essex) covers the entire range of periods and genres, beginning with Native American oral traditions and progressing to today's postmodern, multicultural, and multidimensional literature. Like previous authors, Gray examines mainstream poetry, fiction, drama, and nonfiction, along with the major authors associated with these genres. But he doesn't stop there: he also delves into folktales, spirituals, Westerns, detective stories, and science fiction, to name a few, placing each in the context of American social and cultural history. In addition, Gray takes a close look at more recent developments and the many forces shaping American literature today. Divided into sections that allow readers to concentrate on particular topics, this excellent study is relatively easy to move through. While it is ideal for classroom use, it is also suitable for general readers. Though many histories of American literature exist, this one is especially welcome for the breadth of its coverage. Highly recommended for all collections. Ron Ratliff, Kansas State Univ. Lib., Manhattan, KS Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Richard Gray's real achievement is somehow to have compressed more than 400 years of thrillingly rich literary history between two covers." (Literary Review)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405192286
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/1/2012
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 952
  • Sales rank: 1,311,963
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Gray is Professor of Literature at the University of Essex and former Distinguished Visiting Professor at a number of universities in the United States.  He is the first specialist in American literature to be elected a Fellow of the British Academy and has published over a dozen books on the topic, including the award-winning Writing the South: Ideas of an American Region (1986) and The Life of William Faulkner: A Critical Biography (1994). His History of American Literature (Blackwell, 2004) is widely considered to be one of the standard works on the subject.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements
1 The First Americans: American Literature Before and During the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods 1
2 Inventing Americas: The Making of American Literature, 1800-1865 100
3 Reconstructing the Past, Reimagining the Future: The Development of American Literature, 1865-1900 245
4 Making it New: The Emergence of Modern American Literature, 1900-1945 336
5 Negotiating the American Century: American Literature since 1945 553
Further Reading 818
Index 845
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