Updated throughout and with much new material, A History of American Literature, Second Edition, is the most up-to-date and comprehensive survey available of the myriad forms of American Literature from pre-Columbian times to the present. The most comprehensive and up-to-date history of American literature available today Covers fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fiction, as well as other forms of literature including folktale, spirituals, the detective story, the thriller, and science fiction Explores the plural character of American literature, including the contributions made by African American, Native American, Hispanic and Asian American writers Considers how our understanding of American literature has changed over the past?thirty years Situates American literature in the contexts of American history, politics and society Offers an invaluable introduction to American literature for students at all levels, academic and general readers
The History of American Literature from 1950 to the Present offers a comprehensive analysis of the wide range of literary works that extends into the 21st century Covers drama, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, science fiction, and detective novels Features discussion of American works within the context of such 21stcentury issues as globalization, medicine, gender, education, and other topics.
Widely acknowledged as a contemporary classic that has introduced thousands of readers to American literature, From Puritanism to Postmodernism: A History of American Literature brilliantly charts the fascinating story of American literature from the Puritan legacy to the advent of postmodernism. From realism and romanticism to modernism and postmodernism it examines and reflects on the work of a rich panoply of writers, including Poe, Melville, Fitzgerald, Pound, Wallace Stevens, Gwendolyn Brooks and Thomas Pynchon. Characterised throughout by a vibrant and engaging style it is a superb introduction to American literature, placing it thoughtfully in its rich social, ideological and historical context. A tour de force of both literary and historical writing, this Routledge Classics edition includes a new preface by co-author Richard Ruland, a new foreword by Linda Wagner-Martin and a fascinating interview with Richard Ruland, in which he reflects on the nature of American fiction and his collaboration with Malclolm Bradbury. It is published here for the first time.
We are beginning to realize that the Civil War marks a dividing line in American history as sharp and definitive as that burned across French history by the Revolution. That the South had been vastly affected by the war was manifest from the first. The widespread destruction of property, the collapse of the labor system, and the fall of the social régime founded on negro slavery, had been so dramatic and so revolutionary in their results that they had created everywhere a feeling that the ultimate effects of the war were confined to the conquered territory. Grady's phrase, "the new South," and later the phrase, "the end of an era," passing everywhere current, served to strengthen the impression. That the North had been equally affected, that there also an old régime had perished and a new era been inaugurated, was not so quickly realized. The change there had been undramatic; it had been devoid of all those picturesque accompaniments that had been so romantic and even sensational in the South; but with the perspective of half a century we can see now that it had been no less thoroughgoing and revolutionary. The first effect of the war had come from the sudden shifting of vast numbers of the population from a position of productiveness to one of dependence. A people who knew only peace and who were totally untrained even in the idea of war were called upon suddenly to furnish one of the largest armies of modern times and to fight to an end the most bitterly contested conflict of a century. First and last, upwards of two millions of men, the most of them citizen volunteers, drawn all of them from the most efficient productive class, were mustered into the federal service alone. It changed in a moment the entire equilibrium of American industrial life. This great unproductive army had to be fed and clothed and armed and kept in an enormously wasteful occupation. But the farms and the mills and the great transportation systems had been drained of laborers to supply men for the regiments. The wheatfields had no harvesters; the Mississippi the great commercial outlet of the West, had been closed by the war, and the railroads were insufficient to handle the burden.
A History of American Literature In its beginnings American literature differs from the literatures of most other great nations; it was a transplanted thing. It sprang in a way like Minerva, full-armed from the head of Jove,—Jove in this case being England, and the armor being the heritage which the average American colonist had secured in England before he crossed the Atlantic. In contrast, Greek, Roman, French, German, English, and the other less familiar literatures can all be more or less successfully traced back to primitive conditions. Their early life was interwoven with the growth of the language and the progress of a rude civilization, and their earliest products which have come down to us were not results of authorship as we know it to-day. They were either folk poetry, composed perhaps and certainly enjoyed by the people in groups and accompanied by group singing and dancing,—like the psalms and the simpler ballads,—or they were the record of folk tradition, slowly and variously developed through generations and finally collected into a continuous story like the Iliad, the Æneid, the “Song of Roland,” the “Nibelungenlied,” and “Beowulf.” They were composed by word of mouth and not reduced to writing for years or generations, and they were not put into print until centuries after they were current in speech or transcribed by monks and scholars.