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From Puritanism to Postmodernism: A History of American Literatureby Richard Ruland
Synopses & Reviews
From Modernist/Postmodernist perspective, leading critics Richard Ruland (American) and Malcolm Bradbury (British) address questions of literary and cultural nationalism. They demonstrate that since the seventeenth century, American writing has reflected the political and historical climate of its time and helped define America's cultural and social parameters. Above all, they argue that American literature has always been essentially "modern," illustrating this with a broad range of texts: from Poe and Melville to Fitzgerald and Pound, to Wallace Stevens, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Thomas Pynchon.
From Puritanism to Postmodernism pays homage to the luxuriance of American writing by tracing the creation of a national literature that retained its deep roots in European culture while striving to achieve cultural independence.
This literary history considers the complexity of American literature in social, historical and ideological context, at the same time recognizing that American literature has been a Western literature, related to the thought and art movements that have crossed Europe and America.
About the Author
Malcolm Bradbury is a novelist, critic, television dramatist and Emeritus Professor of American Studies at the University of East Anglia. He is author of the novels Eating People is Wrong (1959); Stepping Westward (1965); The History Man (1975); which won the Royal Society of Literature Heinemann Prize and was adapted as a famous television series; Rates of Exchange (1983) which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Cuts: A Very Short Novel (1987), also televised; and Doctor Criminale (1992). His critical works include The Modern American Novel (1984; revised edition, 1992); No, Not Bloomsbury (essays, 1987); The Modern world: Ten Great Writers (1988); From Puritanism to Post-modernism: A History of American Literature (with Richard Ruland, 1991) He is the author of a collection of seven stories and nine parodies, entitled Who Do You Think You Are? (1976), and of several works of humour and satire, including Why Come to Slaka? (1986), Unsent Letters (1988; revised edition, 1995) and Mensonge (1987). Many of his books are published by Penguin. In addition, he has written many television plays and the television 'novel' The Gravy Train and The Gravy Train Goes East. He has adapted several television series, including Tom Sharpe's Porterhouse Blue, Kinglsey Amis's The Green Man and Stella Gibbon's' Cold Comfort Farm, now a feature film.
Malcolm Bradbury lives in Norwich, travels good deal, and in 1991 he was awarded the CBE.
Table of Contents
Part I. The Literature of British America
1. The Puritan Legacy
2. Awakening and Enlightenment
Part II. From Colonial Outpost to Cultural Province
3. Revolution and (In)Dependence
4. American Naissance
5. Yea-saying and Nay-saying
Part III. Native and Cosmopolitan Crosscurrents: From Local Color to Realism and Naturalism
6. Secession and Loyalty
7. Muckrakers and Early Moderns
Part IV. Modernism in the American Grain
8. Outland Darts and Homemade Worlds
9. The Second Flowering
10. Radical Reassessments
11. Strange Realities, Adequate Fictions
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