Nothing Abstract: Investigations in the American Literary Imagination

Nothing Abstract: Investigations in the American Literary Imagination

by Tom Quirk
     
 

ISBN-10: 0826213642

ISBN-13: 9780826213648

Pub. Date: 11/28/2001

Publisher: University of Missouri Press

Written by one of the leading scholars in the field, Nothing Abstract is a collection of essays gathered over the past twenty years—all of which, in some fashion, have to do with a genetic approach to literary study. In previous books, the author has traced the compositional histories of certain literary works, the course of individual careers, and the

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Overview

Written by one of the leading scholars in the field, Nothing Abstract is a collection of essays gathered over the past twenty years—all of which, in some fashion, have to do with a genetic approach to literary study. In previous books, the author has traced the compositional histories of certain literary works, the course of individual careers, and the genesis of literary movements. In this book, Tom Quirk resists the direction taken by contemporary theory in favor of an approach to literature through source and influence study, the evolution of a writer's achievement, the establishment of biographical or other contexts, and the transition from one literary era to another.

All of the essays that Quirk has chosen for this collection illustrate a scholarly method. The first two essays, somewhat general in their concerns, constitute a defense for the genetic method, and subsequent essays serve as evidence for the usefulness of genetic inquiry. The entire volume challenges poststructuralist theory not through active confrontation, but merely by being what it is and doing what it does. More important though is that all of the chosen essays are intrinsically interesting. They tell fascinating stories—stories about literary genesis, biographical circumstances, and artistic ambitions and achievement.

Authors discussed at length are Edgar Allan Poe, Tony Hillerman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Wallace Stevens, Willa Cather, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Joyce Carol Oates. Quirk also touches on Flannery O'Connor, Richard Wright, Robert Frost, Jack London, Stephen Crane, William Faulkner, and others. Nothing Abstract makes a great contribution to the study of important American writers and will be welcomed by all students and scholars of American studies and American literature.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826213648
Publisher:
University of Missouri Press
Publication date:
11/28/2001
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
IIntroduction1
IISources, Influences, and Intertexts13
IIIAuthors, Intentions, and Texts32
IVWhat If Poe's Humorous Tales Were Funny? Poe's "X-ing a Paragrab" and Twain's "Journalism in Tennessee"53
VHawthorne's Last Tales and "The Custom-House"64
VIThe Judge Dragged to the Bar: Melville, Shaw, and the Webster Murder Trial81
VIIMark Twain in His Short Works97
VIIIThe Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce115
IXRealism, the "Real," and the Poet of Reality: Some Reflections on American Realists and the Poetry of Wallace Stevens134
XIn the Shallow Light of the Present: The Moral Geography of Death Comes for the Archbishop156
XIFitzgerald and Cather: The Great Gatsby176
XIIA Source for "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"191
XIIIJustice on the Reservation: Tony Hillerman's Novels and the Conflict between Federal and Tribal Jurisdiction199
XIVThe Trying Out of Genetic Inquiry213
A Checklist of Publications221
Index227

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