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The Cambridge History of American Literature
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  • Page extent: 640 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 1.205 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521497312 | ISBN-10: 0521497310)

  • Published January 2003

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$232.00 (R)

Volume 6 in this series explores the emergence and flowering of modernism in the U.S. David Minter provides a cultural history of the American novel from World War I to the Great Depression, Rafia Zafar tells the story of the Harlem Renaissance and Werner Sollors examines canonical texts and original immigrant writing. These narratives cover the entire range of literary prose written in the first half of the twentieth century.


Acknowledgments; Introduction Sacvan Bercovitch and Jonathan Fortescue; I. A cultural history of the modern American novel David Minter: Prologue; Part I. A Dream City, Lyric Years, and a Great War: 1. The novel as ironic reflection; 2. Confidence and uncertainty in The Portrait of a Lady; 3. Lines of expansion; 4. Four contemporaries and closing of the west; 5. Chicago's 'Dream City'; 6. Frederick Jackson Turner in the dream city; 7. Henry Adams's Education and the grammar of progress; 8. Jack London's career and popular discourse; 9. Innocence in the 'Lyric Years': 1900–1916; 10. The Armory Show of 1913 and the decline of innocence; 11. The play of hope and despair; Part II. Fiction in a Time of Plenty: 12. When the war was over: the return of detachment; 13. The 'Jazz Age' and the 'Lost Generation' revisited; 14. The perils of plenty, or how the Twenties acquired a paranoid tilt; 15. Disenchantment, flight, and the rise of professionalism in an age of plenty; 16. Class, power, and violence in a new age; 17. The fear of feminization and the logic of modest ambitions; 18. Marginality and authority/race, gender and region; 19. War as metaphor: the example of Ernest Hemingway; Part III. The Fate of Writing During the Great Depression: 20. The discovery of poverty and the return of commitment; 21. The search for 'culture' as a form of commitment; 22. Three responses: the examples of Henry Miller, Djuna Barnes, and John Dos Passos; 23. Cowboys, detectives and other tough-guy antinomians: residual individualism and hedged commitments; 24. The search for shared purpose: struggles on the left; 25. Documentary literature and the disarming of dissent; 26. The southern renaissance: forms of reaction and innovation; 27. History and novels/novels and history: the example of William Faulkner; II. Fictions of the Harlem Renaissance Rafia Zafar: 1. A new Negro?; 2. Black Manhattan; 3. Avatars and Manifestos; 4. At home and homeless in Harlem; 5. New Negro, New Woman; 6. Thurman and Nugent; 7. Minor writers; 8. Hurston and Wright; 9. Black Modernism; III. Ethnic Modernism Werner Sollors: Introduction; 1. Gertrude Stein and 'Negro Sunshine'; 2. Ethnic lives and 'lifelets'; 3. Ethnic themes, modern themes; 4. Mary Antin: progressive optimism against odds; 5. Who is 'American'?; 6. American languages; 7. 'All the past we leave behind'? Ole E. Rølvaag and the immigrant trilogy; 8. Modernism, ethnic labeling; and the quest for wholeness: Jean Toomer's new American race; 9. Freud, Marx, hard-boiled; 10. Hemingway spoken here; 11. Henry Roth: ethnicity, modernity, and modernism; 12. The clock, the salesman and the beast; 13. Was modernism anti-totalitarian; 14. Facing the extreme; 15. Grand central terminal.

Prize Winner

Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2003


"This volume provides an excellent, informative, and readable account of the emergence and development of US modernism, with special attention to the political and social ends it served and the cultural developments it reflected. Essential." Choice

"The Cambridge History of American Literature [...] is, without doubt and without any serious rival, THE scholarly history for our generation." --Journal of American Studies


Sacvan Bercovitch, Jonathan Fortescue, David Minter, Rafia Zafar, Werner Sollors

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