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Literature > American Literature

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American Iconographic Cover

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American Iconographic

National Geographic, Global Culture, and the Visual Imagination

Tracing the National Geographic's rise to prominence during the first half of the 20th c., Stephanie Hawkins argues that far from being merely a handbook of Western imperialism or a venue for exotic display, the magazine created a forum for the negotiation of changing attitudes toward national identity, cultural diversity, and global interconnectedness. Its readers responded in complex ways to the magazine's iconic public image and were not at all the passive spectators they have been assumed to be.

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The American Isherwood

James J. Berg

Novelist, memoirist, diarist, and gay pioneer Christopher Isherwood left a wealth of writings. Known for his crisp style and his camera-like precision with detail, Isherwood gained fame for his Berlin Stories, which served as source material for the hit stage musical and Academy Award–winning film Cabaret. More recently, his experiences and career in the United States have received increased attention. His novel A Single Man was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film; his long relationship with the artist Don Bachardy, with whom he shared an openly gay lifestyle, was the subject of an award-winning documentary, Chris & Don: A Love Story; and his memoir, Christopher and His Kind, was adapted for the BBC.

Isherwood’s colorful journeys took him from post–World War I England to Weimar Germany to European exile to Golden Age Hollywood to Los Angeles in the full flower of gay liberation. After the publication of his diaries, which run to more than one million words and span nearly a half century, it is possible to fully assess his influence. This collection of essays considers Isherwood’s diaries, his vast personal archive, and his published works and offers a multifaceted appreciation of a writer who spent more than half of his life in southern California. James J. Berg and Chris Freeman have brought together the most informative scholarship of the twenty-first century to illuminate the craft of one of the singular figures of the twentieth century. Isherwood, the American, emerges from the shadow of his English reputation to stake his claim as a significant force in late twentieth-century American culture whose legacy continues in the twenty-first century.

Contributors: Joshua Adair, Murray State U; Jamie Carr, Niagara U; Robert L. Caserio, Pennsylvania State U; Niladri Chatterjee, U of Kalyani, India; Lisa Colletta, American U of Rome; Lois Cucullu, U of Minnesota; Mario Faraone; Peter Edgerly Firchow; Rebecca Gordon Stewart; William R. Handley, U of Southern California; Jaime Harker, U of Mississippi; Sara S. Hodson, Huntington Library; Carola M. Kaplan, California State U, Pomona; Benjamin Kohlmann, U of Freiburg, Germany; Victor Marsh, U of Queensland; Tina Mascara; Stephen McCauley; Paul M. McNeil, Columbia U; Guido Santi, College of the Canyons, California; Kyle Stevens, Brandeis U.

American Jeremiad Cover

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American Jeremiad

Sacvan Bercovitch

"This is a dazzling performance. It supplies conceptual links between phenomena where historians have often sensed a connection without being able to describe it adequately. . . [Bercovitch] has written intellectual history at the highest level."—Edmund S. Morgan, New York Review of Books

The American Jeremiad Cover

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The American Jeremiad

Sacvan Bercovitch

When Sacvan Bercovitch’s The American Jeremiad first appeared in 1978, it was hailed as a landmark study of dissent and cultural formation in America, from the Puritans’ writings through the major literary works of the antebellum era. For this long-awaited anniversary edition, Bercovitch has written a deeply thoughtful and challenging new preface that reflects on his classic study of the role of the political sermon, or jeremiad, in America from a contemporary perspective, while assessing developments in the field of American studies and the culture at large.

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American Literary History

Vol. 12 (2000) through current issue

Through essays, position papers, and commentaries, along with reviews, interviews, and previously unpublished diaries, letters, and stories, American Literary History surveys the contested field of US culture four times a year. No other scholarly publication offers such a wide-ranging and provocative discussion of critical challenges. American Literary History has become the premier forum for a rich and varied criticism shaping the ways we have come to think about America and setting the agenda of American cultural studies.

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American Literary Minimalism

Although a handful of books and articles have been written about American literary Minimalism during the last forty years, the mode remains misunderstood. When in a 2011 interview in The Paris Review author Ann Beattie was asked how she felt about being “classed as a minimalist,” she began her answer: “none of us have ever known what that means.” Her response brings into focus the lack of agreement or clarity about the sources and definitions of literary Minimalism. Robert C. Clark’s American Literary Minimalism fills this significant gap.
 
Clark demonstrates that, despite assertions by many scholars to the contrary, the movement originated in the aesthetic programs of the Imagists and literary Impressionists active at the turn of the twentieth century. The genre reflects the philosophy that “form is thought,” and that style alone dictates whether a poem, story, or novel falls within the parameters of the tradition. The characteristics of Minimalist fiction are efficiency, frequent use of allusion, and implication through omission.
 
Organizing his analysis both chronologically and according to lines of influence, Clark offers a definition of the mode, describes its early stages, and then explores six works that reflect its core characteristics: Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time; Raymond Carver’s Cathedral; Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City; Susan Minot’s Monkeys; Sandra Cisneros’s Caramelo; and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. In his conclusion, Clark discusses the ongoing evolution of the category.

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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.

American Literature and Culture in an Age of Cold War Cover

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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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