By Richard Gray
It is a titanic ebook, over 800 pages of textual content. i purchased it simply because even though i've got learn a good volume of yankee literature there are lots of gaps in my wisdom. specifically I had an curiosity in 20th century poetry and likewise i used to be curious to understand what a clean examine literature may inform me concerning the improvement of the united states as a rustic over the past 200 years.
I am no longer a tutorial and feature no longer studied literature in an instructional atmosphere considering the fact that I left university. grey it sort of feels to me adopts a story process. His interpreting is mammoth and while he ways an writer his basic goal appears, what did they must say.
One or subject matters: literature within the 19th century usually appears to be like concerning the wasteland, the embody of the desolate tract, exploring it.
In the 20 th century there is a convinced lack of that means, an event of alienation. The taming of the desolate tract, the come up of the towns and railroads leaves americans looking their souls for that means. specially the poets of the early century like Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens etc.
I'm convinced a few readers will think aggrieved that a few authors were skimped, yet quite i will not examine someone he is left out.
A significant success. Very unstuffy, and greater than readable.
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Additional info for A History of American Literature (Blackwell History of Literature)
Curse the time of my birth,’ he confessed, ‘I thought no head had been able to hold so much water as doth daily flow from mine eyes’. And the sheer bitterness of his sense of exile in the wilderness offers a useful corrective to the dominant European version of early settlement in the New World. Puritan narratives Dominant that version was, though, and in its English forms, along with the writings of John Smith, it was given most powerful expression in the work of William Bradford (1590–1657) and John Winthrop (1588–1649).
The congruence is certainly there. English settlers, and those promoting English settlement of America, undoubtedly shared with Columbus and others a dream of Eden. Or, if they were simply trying to sell the idea of colonization to businessmen or aristocratic investors, they at least claimed to believe in that dream. America, one writer quoted earlier on insisted, was a ‘Virgin Countrey’ sealed in its aboriginal state so as to remind humanity, and more particularly visitors from the Old World, what the earth was like when it was ‘vigorous and youthfull’, before it had fallen into decrepitude and dismay, ‘the Old Age of Creation’.
That habit encouraged a tendency towards allegory and symbol: something that was to lead Ralph Waldo Emerson, for example, to regard every material fact as the symbol of some spiritual truth – and writers like Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville to worry constantly about what significance, if any, might lurk beneath the surfaces of human behaviour. Of Plymouth Plantation might emphasize the sometimes mysterious workings of providence. That, however, does not lead it to an optimistic, millennial vision of the future.
A History of American Literature (Blackwell History of Literature) by Richard Gray