Secret Histories: Reading Twentieth-Century American Literature

Overview

Secret Histories claims that the history of the nation is hidden-in plain sight-within the pages of twentieth-century American literature. David Wyatt argues that the nation's fiction and nonfiction expose a "secret history" that cuts beneath the "straight histories" of our official accounts. And it does so by revealing personal stories of love, work, family, war, and interracial romance as they were lived out across the decades of the twentieth century.

Wyatt reads authors both...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (5) from $48.75   
  • New (2) from $55.44   
  • Used (3) from $48.75   
Secret Histories: Reading Twentieth-Century American Literature

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$19.49
BN.com price
(Save 44%)$35.00 List Price

Overview

Secret Histories claims that the history of the nation is hidden-in plain sight-within the pages of twentieth-century American literature. David Wyatt argues that the nation's fiction and nonfiction expose a "secret history" that cuts beneath the "straight histories" of our official accounts. And it does so by revealing personal stories of love, work, family, war, and interracial romance as they were lived out across the decades of the twentieth century.

Wyatt reads authors both familiar and neglected, examining "double consciousness" in the post-Civil War era through works by Charles W. Chesnutt, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Booker T. Washington. He reveals aspects of the Depression in the fiction of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Anzia Yezierska, and John Steinbeck. Period by period, Wyatt's nuanced readings recover the felt sense of life as it was lived, opening surprising dimensions of the critical issues of a given time. The rise of the women's movement, for example, is revivified in new appraisals of works by Eudora Welty, Ann Petry, and Mary McCarthy.

Running through the examination of individual works and times is Wyatt's argument about reading itself. Reading is not a passive activity but an empathetic act of co-creation, what Faulkner calls "overpassing to love." Empathetic reading recognizes and relives the emotional, cultural, and political dimensions of an individual and collective past. And discovering a usable American past, as Wyatt shows, enables us to confront the urgencies of our present moment.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

American Literature - Timothy Parrish

The secret history his book truly tells is one of the remarkable readers's engagement with the diversity of American literature. Wyatt testifies to the power that strong novels have to transform the reader's sense of the world and his or her place in it... The works of fifty-six American novelists with different historical and aesthetic perspectives, novelists who are men and women, novelists who are brown, black, and white, come alive and speak to the ongoing richness and variety of American literature in the twentieth century. It is a remarkable achievement, especially given the current critical context of American literary studies.

Choice

A useful introduction to a broad canon of 20th-century authors, this book touches on important issues in literary-historical scholarship and uses clear, conversational language deliberately devoid of jargon; a distinctive feature of the discussion is Wyatt's pointed use of a first-person personal voice that blends his autobiographical insights with his critical readings... Highly recommended.

Choice

A useful introduction to a broad canon of 20th-century authors, this book touches on important issues in literary-historical scholarship and uses clear, conversational language deliberately devoid of jargon; a distinctive feature of the discussion is Wyatt's pointed use of a first-person personal voice that blends his autobiographical insights with his critical readings... Highly recommended.

Western American Literature
His latest book shows that Wyatt's skill as an engaging literary historian is certainly no secret.

— Erik Larson

The Hopkins Review
A sweeping critical work that is compelling, always interesting, and often moving.

— Mitchell Breitwieser

Reviews in American History
I felt fortunate to come across David Wyatt's Secret Histories because Wyatt so clearly delights in American fiction.

— Kimberly Engber

American Literature
The secret history his book truly tells is one of the remarkable readers's engagement with the diversity of American literature. Wyatt testifies to the power that strong novels have to transform the reader's sense of the world and his or her place in it... The works of fifty-six American novelists with different historical and aesthetic perspectives, novelists who are men and women, novelists who are brown, black, and white, come alive and speak to the ongoing richness and variety of American literature in the twentieth century. It is a remarkable achievement, especially given the current critical context of American literary studies.

— Timothy Parrish

Western American Literature - Erik Larson

His latest book shows that Wyatt's skill as an engaging literary historian is certainly no secret.

The Hopkins Review - Mitchell Breitwieser

A sweeping critical work that is compelling, always interesting, and often moving.

Reviews in American History - Kimberly Engber

I felt fortunate to come across David Wyatt's Secret Histories because Wyatt so clearly delights in American fiction.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801897115
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

David Wyatt is a professor of English at the University of Maryland.

Johns Hopkins University Press

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

To the Reader ix

Acknowledgments xvii

1 The Body and the Corporation

Norris

Chambers 1

2 Double Consciousness

Johnson

Chesnutt

Du Bois

Washington 12

3 Pioneering Women

Austin

Eaton

Stein

Eliot

Williams

Cather 30

4 Performing Maleness

Hemingway 53

5 Colored Me

Toomer

Hurston 68

6 The Rumor of Race

Faulkner 86

7 The Depression

Dreiser

Fitzgerald

Yezierska

Di Donato

Himes

Farrell

Steinbeck 105

8 The Second World War

Mori

Vonnegut

Pynchon

Silko

Hersey 135

9 Civil Rights

Wright

Gaines

Baldwin

Walker

King

Clark 163

10 Love and Separateness

Welty

Petry

Douglas

Mary Mccarthy

Friedan

Steinbeck 190

11 Revolt and Reaction

Mailer

Didion 215

12 The Postmodern

Shepard

Beattie

Carver

Delillo

Gaddis 234

13 Studying War

Cormac Mccarthy

Herr 259

14 Slavery and Memory

Morrison 280

15 Pa Not Pa

Kingston

Walker

Ellison

Lee

Rodriguez 292

16 After Innocence

Roth 312

A Personal Note 331

Notes 335

Works Cited 377

Index 393

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)