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A New Literary History of America

A New Literary History of America

by Greil Marcus, Werner SollorsGreil Marcus
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America is a nation making itself up as it goes along—a story of discovery and invention unfolding in speeches and images, letters and poetry, unprecedented feats of scholarship and imagination. In these myriad, multiform, endlessly changing expressions of the American experience, the authors and editors of this volume find a new American history.

In more than two hundred original essays, A New Literary History of America brings together the nation’s many voices. From the first conception of a New World in the sixteenth century to the latest re-envisioning of that world in cartoons, television, science fiction, and hip hop, the book gives us a new, kaleidoscopic view of what “Made in America” means. Literature, music, film, art, history, science, philosophy, political rhetoric—cultural creations of every kind appear in relation to each other, and to the time and place that give them shape.

The meeting of minds is extraordinary as T. J. Clark writes on Jackson Pollock, Paul Muldoon on Carl Sandburg, Camille Paglia on Tennessee Williams, Sarah Vowell on Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Walter Mosley on hard-boiled detective fiction, Jonathan Lethem on Thomas Edison, Gerald Early on Tarzan, Bharati Mukherjee on The Scarlet Letter, Gish Jen on Catcher in the Rye, and Ishmael Reed on Huckleberry Finn. From Anne Bradstreet and John Winthrop to Philip Roth and Toni Morrison, from Alexander Graham Bell and Stephen Foster to Alcoholics Anonymous, Life, Chuck Berry, Alfred Hitchcock, and Ronald Reagan, this is America singing, celebrating itself, and becoming something altogether different, plural, singular, new.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674064102
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 05/07/2012
Series: Harvard University Press Reference Library , #16
Pages: 1128
Sales rank: 733,810
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.90(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Greil Marcus is the author of The Doors, Mystery Train, and other books.

Werner Sollors is Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Professor of English Literature and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.

Table of Contents


Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors

The name “America” appears on a map
Toby Lester

1521, August 13
Mexico in America
Kirsten Silva Gruesz

1536, July 24
Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
Ilan Stavans

“Counterfeited according to the truth”
Michael Gaudio

Fear and love in the Virginia colony
Adam Goodheart

A city upon a hill
Elizabeth Winthrop

A nearer neighbor to the Indians
Ted Widmer

1666, July 10
Anne Bradstreet
Wai Chee Dimock

The American jeremiad
Emory Elliott

The stamp of God’s image
Jason D. LaFountain

The Jesuit relations
Laurent Dubois

Francis Daniel Pastorius
Alfred L. Brophy

The Salem witchcraft trials
Susan Castillo

1693–94, March 4
Edward Taylor
Werner Sollors

Samuel Sewall, The Selling of Joseph
David Blight

Benjamin Franklin, The Silence Dogood Letters
Joyce E. Chaplin

The Great Awakening
Joanne van der Woude
1740s, September 13-14 1814, Yankee Doodle goes to town; Francis Scott Key writes The Star-Spangled Banner

1765, December 23
Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur
Leo Damrosch

1773, September
Phillis Wheatley
Rafia Zafar

The Declaration of Independence
Frank Kelleter

1784, June
Charles Willson Peale
Michael Leja

James Madison, Notes of the Debates in the Federal Convention
Mitchell Meltzer

John Adams, Discourses on Davila
John Diggins

Philip Freneau and The National Gazette
Jefrey L. Pasley

Washington’s farewell address
François Furstenberg

Mary Rowlandson and the Alien and Sedition Acts
Nancy Armstrong

American gothic
Marc Amfreville

1801, March 4
Jefferson’s first inaugural address
Jan Ellen Lewis

1804, January
The matter of Haiti
Kaiama Glover

Cupola of the world
Judith Richardson

The Missouri crisis
John Stauffer

1820, November 27
Landscape with birds
Christoph Irmscher

Sequoyah, the Cherokee syllabary
Lisa Brooks

1821, June 30
Junius Brutus Booth
Coppelia Kahn

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, the Ojibwe firefly, and Longfellow’s Hiawatha
David Treuer

1825, November
Thomas Cole and the Hudson River
Alan Wallach

1826, July 4
Songs of the republic
Steve Erickson

Cooper’s Leatherstocking tales
Richard Hutson

1826; 1927
Transnational poetry
Stephen Burt

Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon
Terryl L. Givens

David Walker, Appeal, in Four Articles
Tommie Shelby

1830, May 21
Jump Jim Crow
W. T. Lhamon, Jr.

1831, March 5
The Cherokee Nation decision
Philip Deloria

1832, July 10
President Jackson’s bank veto
Dan Feller

1835, January
Democracy in America
Ted Widmer

William Gilmore Simms, The Yemasseee
Jefrey Johnson

The Sacred Harp
Sean Wilentz

1836, February 23–March 6
The Alamo and Texas border writing
Norma E. Cantú

1836, February 28
Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
Kirsten Silva Gruesz

1837, August 31
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar”
James Conant

1838, July 15
“The Divinity School Address”
Herwig Friedl

1838, September 3
The slave narrative
Caille Millner

“The Murders in the Rue Morgue”
Robert Clark

1846, June
James Russell Lowell’s Biglow Papers
Shelley Streeby

1846, late July
Henry David Thoreau
Jonathan Arac

The Scarlet Letter
Bharati Mukherje

1850, July 19
Margaret Fuller and the Transcendentalist Movement
Lawrence Buell

1850, August 5
Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville
Clark Blaise
1851, Moby-Dick

Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Beverly Lowry

Hawthorne’s Blithedale Romance and utopian communities
Winfried Fluck

1852, July 5
Frederick Douglass, “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?”
Liam Kennedy

1854, March
Maria Cummins and sentimental fiction
Cindy Weinstein

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
Angus Fletcher

The Lincoln-Douglas debates
Michael T. Gilmore

The science of the Indian
Scott Richard Lyons

Emily Dickinson
Susan Stewart

1862, December 13
The journeys of Little Women
Shirley Samuels

1865, March 4
Lincoln’s second inaugural address
Ted Widmer

“Conditions of repose”
Robin Kelsey

1869, March 4
Carl Schurz
Michael Boyden

1872, November 5
All men and women are created equal
Laura Wexler

The Winchester Rifle
Merritt Roe Smith

1876, January 6
Melville in the dark
Kenneth W. Warren

1876, March 10
The art of telephony
Avital Ronell

“How to Make Our Ideas Clear”
Christopher Hookway

John Muir and nature writing
Scott Slovic

1881, January 24
Henry James, Portrait of a Lady
Alide Cagidemetrio

Mark Twain’s hairball
Ishmael Red

1884, July
The Linotype machine
Lisa Gitelman

1884, November
The Southwest imagined
Leah Dilworth

The problem of error
James Conant

1885, July
Limits to violence
James Dawes

1885, October
Writing New Orleans
Andrei Codrescu
1888, The introduction of motion pictures

1889, August 28
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Yael Schacher

Chief Simon Pokagon and Native American literature
David Treuer

Ida B. Wells, A Red Record
Jacqueline Goldsby

Paul Laurence Dunbar, Lyrics of Lowly Life
Judith Jackson Fossett

1896, September 6
Queen Lili‘uokalani
Rob Wilson

1897, Memorial Day
The Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Monument
Richard Powers

1898, June 22
Literature and imperialism
Amy Kaplan

1899; 1924
McTeague and Greed
Gilberto Perez

Henry Adams
T. J. Jackson Lears

The Wizard of Oz
Gerald Early

1900; 1905
Sister Carrie and The House of Mirth
Farah Jasmine Grifin

Charles W. Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition
John Edgar Wideman
1901-1903, The problem of the color line

1903, May 5
“The real American has not yet arrived”
Aviva Taubenfeld

The invention of the blues
Luc Sante

One sees what one sees
Daniel Albright

1904, August 30
Henry James in America
Ross Posnock

1905, October 15
Little Nemo in Slumberland
Katherine Roeder

1906, April 9
The Azusa Street revival
R. J. Smith

1906, April 18 , 5:14 a.m.
The San Francisco Earthquake
Kathleen Moran

“Alexander’s Ragtime Band”
Philip Furia

1912, April 15
Lifeboats cut adrift
Alan Ackerman

The lure of impossible things
Heather Love

Tarzan begins his reign
Gerald Early

A modernist moment
Bonnie Costello

D. W. Griffith, The Birth of a Nation
Richard Schickel

Robert Frost
Christian Wiman

The philosopher and the millionaire
Richard J. Bernstein

1920, August 10
Mamie Smith’s “Crazy Blues”
Daphne A. Brooks

Jean Toomer
Elizabeth Alexander

T. S. Eliot and D. H. Lawrence
Anita Patterson
October 1923, Chaplinesque

F. O. Matthiessen meets Russell Cheney
Robert Polito

1924, May 26
The Johnson-Reed Act and ethnic literature
Yael Schacher

The Great Gatsby
Lan Tran

1925, June
Sinclair Lewis
Jefrey Ferguson

1925, July
The Scopes trial
Michael Kazin

1925, August 16
Dorothy Parker
Catherine Keyser

Carla Kaplan

Walter Mosley

The Book-of-the-Month Club
Joan Shelley Rubin

Carl Sandburg and The American Songbag
Paul Muldoon

1927, May 16
“Free to develop their faculties”
Jefrey Rosen

1928, April 8, Easter Sunday
Dilsey Gibson goes to church
Werner Sollors

1928, Summer
John Dos Passos
Phoebe Kosman

1928, November 18
The mouse that whistled
Karal Ann Marling

“You're swell!”
Robert Gottlieb

1930, March
The Silent Enemy
Micah Treuer
October 1930, Grant Wood's American Gothic"

1931, March 19
Nevada legalizes gambling
David Thomson

Edmund Wilson, The American Jitters
Anthony Grafton

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A New Literary History of America 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
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a wasted opportunity. to do this right, authors (who both are smart) should have chosen more first rate minds to do the reviewing