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American Literary Realism

Vol. 40 (2007) through current issue

For forty years, American Literary Realism has brought readers critical essays on American literature from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The whole panorama of great authors from this key transition period in American literary history, including Henry James, Edith Wharton, Mark Twain, and many others, is discussed in articles, book reviews, critical essays, bibliographies, documents, and notes on all related topics. Each issue is also a valuable bibliographic resource.

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American Literary Scholarship

1998 through current year

Now sold as an annual journal, American Literary Scholarship covers current critical analysis of American literature. Bibliographic essays are arranged by writers and time periods, from pre-1800 to the present. Among the writers discussed are Emerson, Hawthorne, Poe, Melville, Whitman, Twain, James, Pound, and Faulkner.

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American Literature

Vol. 71, no. 3 (1999) - vol. 76 (2004)

American Literature has been regarded since its inception as the preeminent periodical in its field. Each issue contains articles covering the works of several American authors--from colonial to contemporary--as well as an extensive book review section; a "Brief Mention" section that offers citations of new editions and reprints, collections, anthologies, and other professional books; and an "Announcements" section that keeps readers up-to-date on prizes, competitions, conferences, grants, and publishing opportunities.

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American Literature and Culture in an Age of Cold War

A Critical Reassessment

Steven Belletto

The time is right for a critical reassessment of Cold War culture both because its full cultural impact remains unprocessed and because some of the chief paradigms for understanding that culture confuse rather than clarify.
 
A collection of the work of some of the best cultural critics writing about the period, American Literature and Culture in an Age of Cold War reveals a broad range of ways that American cultural production from the late 1940s to the present might be understood in relation to the Cold War. Critically engaging the reigning paradigms that equate postwar U.S. culture with containment culture, the authors present suggestive revisionist claims. Their essays draw on a literary archive—including the works of John Updike, Joan Didion, Richard E. Kim, Allen Ginsberg, Edwin Denby, Alice Childress, Frank Herbert, and others—strikingly different from the one typically presented in accounts of the period.
 

Likewise, the authors describe phenomena—such as the FBI’s surveillance of writers (especially African Americans), biopolitics, development theory, struggles over the centralization and decentralization of government, and the cultural work of Reaganism—that open up new contexts for discussing postwar culture. Extending the timeline and expanding the geographic scope of Cold War culture, this book reveals both the literature and the culture of the time to be more dynamic and complex than has been generally supposed. 

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American Literature and Science

edited by Robert Scholnick

Literature and science are two disciplines are two disciplines often thought to be unrelated, if not actually antagonistic. But Robert J. Scholnick points out that these areas of learning, up through the beginning of the nineteenth century, "were understood as parts of a unitary endeavor." By mid-century they had diverged, but literature and science have continued to interact, conflict, and illuminate each other. In this innovative work, twelve leaders in this emerging interdisciplinary field explore the long engagement of American writers with science and uncover science's conflicting meanings as a central dimension of the nation's conception of itself. Reaching back to the Puritan poet-minister-physician Edward Taylor, who wrote at the beginning of the scientific revolution, and forward to Thomas Pynchon, novelist of the cybernetic age, this collection of original essays contains essential work on major writers, including Franklin, Jefferson, Poe, Emerson, Thoreau, Twain, Hart Crane, Dos Passos, and Charles Olson. Through its exploration of the ways that American writers have found in science and technology a vital imaginative stimulus, even while resisting their destructive applications, this book points towards a reconciliation and integration within culture. An innovative look at a neglected dimension of our literary tradition, American Literature and Science stands as both a definition of the field and an invitation to others to continue and extend new modes of inquiry.

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American Metempsychosis

Emerson, Whitman, and the New Poetry

John Michael Corrigan

"The transmigration of souls is no fable. I would it were, but men and women are only half human." With these words, Ralph Waldo Emerson confronts a dilemma that illuminates the formation of American individualism: to evolve and become fully human requires a heightened engagement with history. Americans, Emerson argues, must realize history's chronology in themselves--because their own minds and bodies are its evolving record. Whereas scholarship has tended to minimize the mystical underpinnings of Emerson's notion of the self, his depictions of "the metempsychosis of nature" reveal deep roots in mystical traditions from Hinduism and Buddhism to Platonism and Christian esotericism. In essay after essay, Emerson uses metempsychosis as an open-ended template to understand human development. In Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman transforms Emerson's conception of metempsychotic selfhood into an expressly poetic event. His vision of transmigration viscerally celebrates the poet's ability to assume and live in other bodies; his American poet seeks to incorporate the entire nation into his own person so that he can speak for every man and woman.

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American Naturalism and the Jews

Garland, Norris, Dreiser, Wharton, and Cather

Donald Pizer

Otherwise known for their progressive social values, Hamlin Garland, Frank Norris, Theodore Dreiser, Edith Wharton, and Willa Cather all also expressed strong anti-Semitic prejudices throughout their fiction, essays, letters, and other writings, producing a contradiction in American literary history that has stymied scholars and, until now, gone largely unexamined. In this breakthrough study, Donald Pizer confronts this disconcerting strain of anti-Semitism pervading American letters and culture, showing how these writers' racist impulses represented more than just personal biases, but resonated with larger social and ideological movements within American culture, including such various movements as the western farmers' populist revolt and the East Coast patricians' revulsion against immigration.

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The American New Woman Revisited

A Reader, 1894-1930

Edited by Martha H. Patterson

In North America between 1894 and 1930, the rise of the "New Woman" sparked controversy on both sides of the Atlantic and around the world. As she demanded a public voice as well as private fulfillment through work, education, and politics, American journalists debated and defined her. Who was she and where did she come from? Was she to be celebrated as the agent of progress or reviled as a traitor to the traditional family? Over time, the dominant version of the American New Woman became typified as white, educated, and middle class: the suffragist, progressive reformer, and bloomer-wearing bicyclist. By the 1920s, the jazz-dancing flapper epitomized her. Yet she also had many other faces. Bringing together a diverse range of essays from the periodical press of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Martha H. Patterson shows how the New Woman differed according to region, class, politics, race, ethnicity, and historical circumstance. In addition to the New Woman's prevailing incarnations, she appears here as a gun-wielding heroine, imperialist symbol, assimilationist icon, entrepreneur, socialist, anarchist, thief, vamp, and eugenicist. Together, these readings redefine our understanding of the New Woman and her cultural impact.

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American Night

The Literary Left in the Era of the Cold War

Alan M. Wald

American Night, the final volume of an unprecedented trilogy, brings Alan Wald's multigenerational history of Communist writers to a poignant climax. Using new research to explore the intimate lives of novelists, poets, and critics during the Cold War, Wa

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American Orient

Imagining the East from the Colonial Era through the Twentieth Century

David Weir

Surveying the American fascination with the Far East since the mid-eighteenth century, this book explains why the Orient had a fundamentally different meaning in the United States than in Europe or Great Britain. David Weir argues that unlike their European counterparts, Americans did not treat the East simply as a site of imperialist adventure; on the contrary, colonial subjugation was an experience that early Americans shared with the peoples of China and India. In eighteenth-century America, the East was, paradoxically, a means of reinforcing the enlightenment values of the West: Franklin, Jefferson, and other American writers found in Confucius a complement to their own political and philosophical beliefs. In the nineteenth century, with the shift from an agrarian to an industrial economy, the Hindu Orient emerged as a mystical alternative to American reality. During this period, Emerson, Thoreau, and other Transcendentalists viewed the “Oriental” not as an exotic other but as an image of what Americans could be, if stripped of all the commercialism and materialism that set them apart from their ideal. A similar sense of Oriental otherness informed the aesthetic discoveries of the early twentieth century, as Pound, Eliot, and other poets found in Chinese and Japanese literature an artistic purity and intensity absent from Western tradition. For all of these figures the Orient became a complex fantasy that allowed them to overcome something objectionable, either in themselves or in the culture of which they were a part, in order to attain some freer, more genuine form of philosophical, religious, or artistic expression.

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