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A Companion to American Literature and Culture

ISBN: 978-1-4443-2063-3
708 pages
February 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to American Literature and Culture (1444320637) cover image
This expansive Companion offers a set of fresh perspectives on the wealth of texts produced in and around what is now the United States.

* Highlights the diverse voices that constitute American literature, embracing oral traditions, slave narratives, regional writing, literature of the environment, and more

* Demonstrates that American literature was multicultural before Europeans arrived on the continent, and even more so thereafter

* Offers three distinct paradigms for thinking about American literature, focusing on: genealogies of American literary study; writers and issues; and contemporary theories and practices

* Enables students and researchers to generate richer, more varied and more comprehensive readings of American literature

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List of Contributors xi

Introduction 1
Paul Lauter

Part A Genealogies of American Literary Study 7

1 The Emergence of the Literatures of the United States 9
Emory Elliott

2 Politics, Sentiment, and Literature in Nineteenth-Century America 26
John Carlos Rowe

3 Making It New: Constructions of Modernism 40
Carla Kaplan

4 Academicizing “American Literature” 57
Elizabeth Renker

5 Cold War and Culture War 72
Christopher Newfield

6 Re-Historicizing Literature 96
T.V. Reed

7 Multiculturalism and Forging New Canons 110
Shelley Streeby

Part B Writers and Issues 123

8 Indigenous Oral Traditions of North America, Then and Now 125
Lisa Brooks (Abenaki)

9 The New Worlds and the Old: Transatlantic Politics of Conversion 143
Susan Castillo and Ivy Schweitzer

10 Unspeakable Fears: Politics and Style in the Enlightenment 160
Frank Shuffelton

11 Slave Narrative and Captivity Narrative: American Genres 179
Gordon M. Sayre

12 The Early Republic: Forms and Readers 192
Trish Loughran

13 “Indians” Constructed and Speaking 206
Scott Richard Lyons

14 Sentiment and Style 221
Tara Penry

15 Transcendental Politics 237
Paul Lauter

16 Melville, Whitman, and the Tribulations of Democracy 250
Betsy Erkkila

17 Emily Dickinson and Her Peers 284
Paula Bernat Bennett

18 Race and Literary Politics 316
Frances Smith Foster and Cassandra Jackson

19 American Regionalism 328
Susan K. Harris

20 Magazines and Fictions 339
Ellen Gruber Garvey

21 Realism and Victorian Protestantism in African American Literature 354
Phillip M. Richards

22 The Maturation of American Fictions 364
Gary Scharnhorst

23 Making It New: Constructions of Modernisms 377
Heinz Ickstadt

24 Wests, Westerns, Westerners 394
Martha Viehmann

25 The Early Modern Writers of the US South 410
John Lowe

26 Writers on the Left 427
Alan Wald

27 From Objectivism to the Haight 441
Charles Molesworth

28 New Aestheticisms: the Artfulness of Art 458
Stephen Burt

29 Drama in American Culture 478
Brenda Murphy

Part C Contemporary Theories and Practices 491

30 Constructions of “Ethnicity” and “Diasporas” 493
Aviva Taubenfeld

31 Narrating Terror and Trauma: Racial Formations and “Homeland Security” in Ethnic American Literature 508
Shirley Geok-lin Lim

32 Feminisms and Literatures 528
Deborah S. Rosenfelt

33 Blackness/Whiteness 563
James Smethurst

34 Borderlands: Ethnicity, Multiculturalism, and Hybridity 576
Ana Maria Manzanas and Jesús Benito Sánchez

35 Literature-and-Environment Studies and the Influence of the Environmental Justice Movement 593
Joni Adamson

36 Endowed by Their Creator: Queer American Literature 608
David Bergman

37 Contemporary Native American Fiction as Resistance Literature 622
Arnold Krupat and Michael A. Elliott

38 From Virgin Land to Ground Zero: Interrogating the Mythological Foundations of the Master Fiction
of the Homeland Security State 637
Donald Pease

Afterword 655
Paul Lauter

Index 657

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Paul Lauter is Allan K. and Gwendolyn Miles Smith Professor of Literature at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He has served as President of the American Studies Association (of the United States), and he is General Editor of the groundbreaking Heath Anthology of American Literature, now in its sixth edition.
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  • An expansive Companion, offering a set of fresh perspectives on the wealth of texts produced in and around what is now the United States.
  • Highlights the diverse voices that constitute American literature, embracing oral traditions, slave narratives, regional writing, literature of the environment, and more.
  • Demonstrates that American literature was multicultural before Europeans arrived on the continent, and even more so thereafter.
  • Offers three distinct paradigms for thinking about American literature, focusing on: genealogies of American literary study; writers and issues; and contemporary theories and practices.
  • Enables students and researchers to generate richer, more varied and more comprehensive readings of American literature.
See More
"I believe this book is well worth dipping into. It is, I suggest, a volume of solid scholarship that should have a significant impact in what is already a quite crowded publishing area. It is highly recommended, if only for the reason that—as Lauter explains—'the literatures of this America illuminate as nothing else has done the aspirations, the contradictions, the dangers and possibilities of this society'" (M/C Reviews, November 2010)
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