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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 Metempsychosis:Emerson, Whitman, and the New Poetry

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 Military Shoulder Arms, Volume 2

From the 1790s to the End of the Flintlock Period

George D. Moller

American Military Shoulder Arms, Volume II, contains more than three hundred photographs. As with the previous volume, Volume II is written primarily for students of arms, but also contains material of interest to historians, museum specialists, collectors, and dealers of antique arms.

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American Military Shoulder Arms, Volume 3

Flintlock Alterations and Muzzleloading Percussion Shoulder Arms, 1840-1865

George D. Moller

This third volume in Moller’s authoritative reference work describes muzzleloading percussion shoulder arms procured by the U.S. government for issue to federal and state armed forces in the period that includes the Civil War.

American Military Shoulder Arms, Volume I Cover

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American Military Shoulder Arms, Volume I

Colonial and Revolutionary War Arms

George D. Moller

American Military Shoulder Arms, Volume I: Colonial and Revolutionary War Arms focuses on the arms used from the early exploratory period throughout the colonial period and the American Revolution. Arranged chronologically, it contains definitive descriptions of the pre-flintlock and flintlock shoulder arms used in North America and detailed accounts of the development and progression of military regulation shoulder arms of the major colonial powers from the early eighteenth century through the Revolutionary War.

Lavishly illustrated with more than four hundred vivid photographs of muskets, rifles, carbines, and other arms, this book offers an intelligent analysis of the shoulder arms procured and used by the colonists, colonial and state governments, and the Continental Congress.

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American Narratives

Multiethnic Writing in the Age of Realism

Margaret Crumpton Winter

American Narratives takes readers back to the turn of the twentieth century to reintroduce four writers of varying ethnic backgrounds whose works were mostly ignored by critics of their day. With the skill of a literary detective, Molly Crumpton Winter recovers an early multicultural discourse on assimilation and national belonging that has been largely overlooked by literary scholars. At the heart of the book are close readings of works by four nearly forgotten artists from 1890 to 1915, the era often termed the age of realism: Mary Antin, a Jewish American immigrant from Russia; Zitkala-Ša, a Sioux woman originally from South Dakota; Sutton E. Griggs, an African American from the South; and Sui Sin Far, a biracial, Chinese American female writer who lived on the West Coast. Winter's treatment of Antin's The Promised Land serves as an occasion for a reexamination of the concept of assimilation in American literature, and the chapter on Zitkala-Ša is the most comprehensive analysis of her narratives to date. Winter argues persuasively that Griggs should have long been a more visible presence in American literary history, and the exploration of Sui Sin Far reveals her to be the embodiment of the varied and unpredictable ways that diversity of cultures came together in America. In American Narratives, Winter maintains that the writings of these four rediscovered authors, with their emphasis on issues of ethnicity, identity, and nationality, fit squarely in the American realist tradition. She also establishes a multiethnic dialogue among these writers, demonstrating ways in which cultural identity and national belonging are peristently contested in this literature.

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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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