Regional Cosmopolitanism in U.S. Fiction
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: University of Iowa Press
Series: New American Canon
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Title Page, Copyright
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I would have never written this book had it not been for Andrew Hoberek’s
patient guidance and Jeffrey J. Williams’s persistent belief in me.
Because of their insightful conversations and generous advice during the years I spent writing this book, I’m lucky to thank such brilliant people
Introduction: Regional Cosmopolitanism
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Quite a bit of recent critical attention has been paid to American regional fiction.1 This attention, however, hasn’t changed the fact that regionalism is still considered the backwoods cousin of realism or that American literature survey courses still ...
1. Specific Soil: James Agee and the Poverty of Documentary Work
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James Agee played a crucial role in carrying regional cosmopolitanism from the Depression era to the Civil Rights era. Specifically, his documentary book, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, kept alive a conversation about the legacy of rural poverty in ...
2. Pavement: Jack Kerouac and the Delocalization of America
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In “Regionalism in American Fiction” (1932), Mary Austin predicts that, as American culture starts to speed up, the American reading public will start to settle for “less than” the careful localization of regional fiction. In effect, the sharp, inclusive geography of the “American scene” will give way to ...
3. The Chinatown and the City: Maxine Hong Kingston and the Relocalization of San Francisco
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Maxine Hong Kingston is widely considered to be a pivotal figure in what Yunte Huang calls the “multicultural recanonization” of American literature (142). Her memoirs, The Woman Warrior (1976) and China Men (1980), are regularly read both in and out of academic settings. They have ...
4. The Deflowering of New England: Russell Banks and the Wages of Cosmopolitanism
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Van Wyck Brooks concludes his landmark study of New England literature, The Flowering of New England (1936), with a series of vignettes about the deaths of the region’s literary giants (Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Emerson). These deaths mark a shift in the creative imagination of New England, a shift ...
Epilogue: Jonathan Franzen and the Unity of Discord
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Part of what makes Jonathan Franzen infuriating to so many of his contemporaries is that he acts as though he invented the desire to have a big audience for literary fiction, as if his decision to write readable social novels is part of some private, Promethean urge to consolidate the otherwise niche ...
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Page Count: 195
Publication Year: 2003
Series Title: New American Canon