Summer Reading Sale

Recently Viewed clear list

The Powell's Playlist | June 18, 2014

Daniel H. Wilson: IMG The Powell’s Playlist: Daniel H. Wilson

Like many writers, I'm constantly haunting coffee shops with a laptop out and my headphones on. I listen to a lot of music while I write, and songs... Continue »

Qualifying orders ship free.
New Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Available for In-store Pickup
in 7 to 12 days
Qty Store Section
3 Remote Warehouse Anthologies- Essays
3 Remote Warehouse Anthologies- Essays

This title in other editions

In the American Grain (New Directions Paperbook)


In the American Grain (New Directions Paperbook) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Although admired by D. H. Lawrence, this modern classic went generally unnoticed during the years after its publication in 1925. Yet it is “a fundamental book, essential if one proposes to come to terms with American literature” (Times Literary Supplement). William Carlos Williams was not a historian, but he was fascinated by the texture of American history. Beginning with Columbus’s discovery of the Indies and moving on through Sir Walter Raleigh, Cotton Mather, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Ben Franklin, Aaron Burr, Edgar Allan Poe, and Abraham Lincoln, Williams found in the fabric of familiar episodes new shades of meaning and configurations of character. He brought a poetic imagination to the task of reconstructing a live tradition for Americans, and what results is one of the finest works of prose to have been penned by any writer of the twentieth century.

Book News Annotation:

In this reprint from 1925, Williams discusses aspects of American history from Christopher Columbus to Abraham Lincoln. He describes the Mayflower, the founding of Quebec, Cotton Mather, Eric the Red, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Edgar Allan Poe, Aaron Burr, and other icons, and uses a variety of voices and writing styles to depict America. In the introduction, novelist Rick Moody explains how the descriptions are interpretations of historical characters rather than straight history, and how the work falls somewhere between history and poetry, as exemplified in Williams' focus on Aaron Burr's lustfulness and Edgar Allan Poe's marriage to his young cousin. There is no index. Williams (1883-1963) was an author and poet. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (


Essays ranging in theme from Christopher Columbis to Abraham Lincoln about what it means to be an American.


A new edition of William Carlos Williams’ loving and groundbreaking book about American history, with a new introduction by Rick Moody.

About the Author

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) was born in Rutherford, New Jersey. He received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he met and befriended Ezra Pound and H.D. (Hilda Doolittle). At the same time as maintaining a popular medical practice, he became a prolific poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright. Experimenting with new techniques of meter and lineation, Williams sought to invent an entirely fresh--and singularly American--poetics, whose subject matter was centered on the everyday circumstances of life and the lives of common people. He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2009.Rick Moody is the award-winning author of Black Veil, Demonology, The Diviners, Garden State, The Ice Storm, Purple America, and Right Livelihoods.

Product Details

Williams, William Carlos
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Introduction by:
Moody, Rick
Moody, Rick
Moody, Rick
Afterword by:
Gregory, Horace
Gregory, Horace
Americas (North Central South West Indies)
Edition Description:
Second Edition
New Directions Paperbook
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8 x 5.2 x 0.7 in 0.63 lb

Other books you might like

  1. Hannah Senesh: Her Life and Diary,... Used Trade Paper $8.50

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » General
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Reference » Bibliography and Library Science

In the American Grain (New Directions Paperbook) New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.95 In Stock
Product details 272 pages New Directions Publishing Corporation - English 9780811218498 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Essays ranging in theme from Christopher Columbis to Abraham Lincoln about what it means to be an American.
"Synopsis" by , A new edition of William Carlos Williams’ loving and groundbreaking book about American history, with a new introduction by Rick Moody.
  • back to top
Follow us on...

Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at