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The Literature of California, Volume 1: Native American Beginnings to 1945
     

The Literature of California, Volume 1: Native American Beginnings to 1945

by Jack Hicks (Editor), Al Young (Editor), James D. Houston (Editor)
 

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The Literature of California is a landmark publication—unmatched by any existing collection and distinguished by its breadth, variety of sources, and historical sweep. The editors have been refreshingly inclusive and imaginative in their selection: some of the writers are internationally known, others are anthologized here for the first time. The

Overview


The Literature of California is a landmark publication—unmatched by any existing collection and distinguished by its breadth, variety of sources, and historical sweep. The editors have been refreshingly inclusive and imaginative in their selection: some of the writers are internationally known, others are anthologized here for the first time. The richness of material, ranging from Native American origin myths to Hollywood novels dissecting the American Dream; from the familiar voices of John Steinbeck, Jack London, and William Saroyan to the less-well-known narratives of Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Josephine Miles, and Jade Snow Wong—all of it captures the spirit and scope of the state itself.

This first volume of the comprehensive two-volume anthology is divided into four parts. The first includes stories, legends, and songs of the indigenous tribes. The second section comprises letters, diaries, reports, and travel narratives that trace a century of exploration, discovery, and conquest. Part III includes Mother Lode tales by Mark Twain and Bret Harte, the first signs of California poetry, the rise of narrative by California women, the nature writing of John Muir and Mary Austin, and some of the earliest prose from writers of Asian background, as well as the maturing fiction of Jack London and Frank Norris. Part IV traces the period between the World Wars, when California literature came fully into its own.

A lively introduction contextualizes each section, and concise biographical material is included for each writer. Volume Two, to be published in 2007, concentrates on the second half of the twentieth-century, during which California became one of the most active literary regions in the world. A colossal contribution to the culture of the state, The Literature of California broadens our sense of this region's richness, both past and present, offering new ways of perceiving history, community, and oneself.

Editorial Reviews

Sacramento Bee
The state's most ambitious literary anthology to date.
Los Angeles Times
As expansive and varied as California's own geography.
San Diego Union-Tribune
Treats us to a comprehensive look at that body of writing inspired by the Golden Land.
Library Journal
The ideal of California has historically brought many images to the minds of explorers. Whether it was Native Americans living on its land, gold diggers panning its waters, or technology gurus developing Silicon Valley, California has always opened its doors to disconnected people seeking refuge, power, spirituality, fame, or prosperity. The Literature of California, Vol. 1 offers a thorough, chronological review of the writings that flowed from these people. The volume begins with the Native American tales which initiated the spiritual quest that, to this day, continues to draw new residents to the West Coast. Part 2 contains letters, diaries, reports, and travel narratives from Clarence King, Dame Shirley, Sarah Eleanor Royce, and John Rollin Ridge, the first Native American to publish a novel. Part 3 features the stories of popular writers like Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Jack London, and Frank Norris. Part 4, which covers what the editors call "the period between the world wars," includes Robinson Jeffers, Dashiell Hammett, and Nathanael West. It is in these last two sections that the influence of Asian writers begins to take shape. Overall, the diversity and the inclusion of many female authors make this work refreshing. Readers will also come away with a respect for the spirituality embraced by so many of the travelers. A second volume is due in 2002. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520222120
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
12/05/2000
Pages:
653
Sales rank:
956,919
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.63(d)

Meet the Author


Jack Hicks teaches California literature and directs the Graduate Creative Program at the University of California, Davis. James D. Houston's seven books of fiction/nonfiction include Continental Drift (California, 1996) and The Last Paradise (1998), which won the American Book Award. Maxine Hong Kingston is the author of The Woman Warrior (1976), China Men (1980), and Tripmaster Monkey (1989). An early draft of her fourth novel, The Fifth Book of Peace, was destroyed in a fire; the restored version will be published in 2000-2001. Al Young's twenty books include African American literary anthologies, memoirs, collections of poetry, and the novels Sitting Pretty (1976) and Who Is Angelina? (California, 1996).

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