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A History of American Literature: 1950 to the Present

A History of American Literature: 1950 to the Present

Linda Wagner-Martin

ISBN: 978-1-118-32914-6

Nov 2012, Wiley-Blackwell

416 pages


  • The History of American Literature from 1950 to the Present offers a comprehensive analysis of the wide range of literary works that extends into the 21st century
  • Covers drama, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, science fiction, and detective novels
  • Features discussion of American works within the context of such 21st-century issues as globalization, medicine, gender, education, and other topics

Illustrations ix

Preface xi

1 Locating Contemporary Literature 1

American Poetry During the 1950s 13

A. Poems of the Mind and the Body 13

B. The Farthest Edge: The Beats and the Confessional School 19

American Theater During the 1950s 25

American Fiction During the 1950s 28

A. Fiction and the War 28

B. Class and Sexuality in the Novel 32

C. The Novel, Jewish and Southern 38

2 The Sixties and the Necessities of Change 47

Theater of the 1960s 53

African American Writing in the 1960s 58

1960s Fiction, Mainstream Markers 69

Feminism 74

3 Conventions and Eruptions 79

Poetry of the Anti-War and Feminist Years 81

Feminist Fictions 90

Postmodern Fictions 101

Science Fiction and Alternative Worlds 112

The New Journalism 123

Theater During the 1970s 129

4 New Ages and Old 139

Memoir: Another New Direction 142

Crime and Detective Fiction, American Style 150

Theater During the 1980s 168

5 The 1980s, Ethnicity and Change 175

Asian American Writing 178

Native American Writing 183

Mexican American Writing (i.e., Latino/Latina) 189

African American Writing 194

Poetry in the 1980s 203

Fiction in the 1980s 214

6 The 1990s and the Sexual 225

Sexual Preferences and Social/Legal Issues 227

Theater of the 1990s 235

The Poem at the Turn into the Twenty-First Century 242

Story at the Turn into the Twenty-First Century 250

Southern Literature at the Turn into the Twenty-First Century 260

7 The Twenty-First Century 277

The Story of 9/11 and Its Aftermath 286

Theater 2000–2010 307

Poetry 2000–2010 311

Memoir and Life-Writing 2000–2010 319

Fiction 2000–2010 326

References 353

Index 365

“This commendable handbook should stimulate renewed debate on the canon.  Summing Up:  Recommended.  Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.”  (Choice, 1 September 2013)