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Novak's (art history, emerita, Barnard Coll. & Columbia Univ.) seminal American Painting of the Nineteenth Century(1969) and her National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Nature and Culture(1980) are being reissued in third editions by Oxford with the publication of this final book in her trilogy on American art and culture. Here, she pairs some of her earlier artist subjects, as well as some 20th-century artists, with a major writer of the same period (e.g., John Singleton Copley and Jonathan Edwards, Winslow Homer and William James, Frederic Edwin Church and Walt Whitman, Jackson Pollock and Charles Olson), drawing remarkable parallels between their themes, philosophies, and aesthetics and revealing what she sees to be their uniquely American pragmatism. While her scholarship is meticulous, her writing style is accessible to general readers who follow American art and literature. This multidisciplinary work is highly recommended for public libraries where there is interest and for academic art history, literature, and American studies collections.
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