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Where is American Literature?

ISBN: 978-1-4051-9236-1
210 pages
May 2013, Wiley-Blackwell
Where is American Literature? (1405192364) cover image


Where is American Literature? offers a spirited and compelling argument for rethinking the way we view American literature in relation to the nation while powerfully demonstrating why it continues to matter in a global age.

  •  A refreshing and accessible investigation into the various locations - linguistic, geographical, virtual, ideological - where American writing is produced and consumed
  •  Takes a highly original approach by viewing US literature spatially rather than chronologically or thematically, retuning our understanding of the subject
  • The book offers a vital intervention in current debates over the impact of digital technologies on the production and reception of literature, ensuring that the field remains lively and dynamic
  • Invites readers to reconsider the subject by questioning current perspectives on, and approaches to, US literature, offering a range of fresh perspectives on familiar texts and topics
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: Discovering American Literature 1

PART I Places 33

In the Eye of the Beholder 35

On the Edge 63

PART II Environments 89

In the Cloud 91

In the House 114

PART III Communities 135

At the Club 137

Under Enemy Fire 157

Conclusion: Home As Found 182

Suggested Further Reading 190

Index 199

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Author Information

Caroline F. Levander is the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Initiatives, Carlson Professor in the Humanities, and Professor of English at Rice University. Levander is author of, amongst others, Voices of the Nation: Women and Public Speech in Nineteenth-Century American Culture and Literature (Cambridge University Press, 1998, paperback reprint 2009), and Cradle of Liberty: Race, the Child and National Belonging from Thomas Jefferson to W.E.B. Du Bois (Duke University Press, 2006).

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"Clearly written and cogently argued."  (Choice, 1 December 2013)

“The idea of viewing US literature spatially rather than chronologically or thematically is daringly innovative and utterly convincing.”
Richard Gray, University of Essex

“Where Is American Literature? is an engaging read that will stir debate and discussion. The depth of its challenge does not stop in asking us to reconsider the field: it also invites us to examine where we are when we take up the subject of American literature.  This reexamination of our motives and investments can change the professional and political positions that readers see themselves inhabiting.  Difficult work in some cases, to be sure. Lucky for us, then, that Levander has made this pursuit so energetic and enlivening.”
Russ Castronovo, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Written in a lively, conversational tone, this is that rare work of criticism that manages to be at once illuminating and pleasurable to read.  Where is American Literature? is bound to become a regular on course syllabi, but also a go-to book for curious readers seeking to educate themselves about the state of American literary studies today.”
Rachel Adams, Columbia University

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