This ambitious literary history traces the American novel from its emergence in the late eighteenth century to its diverse incarnations in the multi-ethnic, multi-media culture of the present day. In a set of original essays by renowned scholars from all over the world, the volume extends important critical debates and frames new ones. Offering new views of American classics, it also breaks new ground to show the role of popular genres - such as science fiction and mystery novels - in the creation of the literary tradition. One of the original features of this book is the dialogue between the essays, highlighting cross-currents between authors and their works as well as across historical periods. While offering a narrative of the development of the genre, the History reflects the multiple methodologies that have informed readings of the American novel and will change the way scholars and readers think about American literary history.
• A chronological set of essays charting the development of the novel form in the United States • Balances coverage of canonical authors - Melville, Wharton, Dreiser - with attention to genre fiction and lesser known works • Contributors are in dialogue with each other, allowing different points of view to be aired
General introduction; Part I. Inventing the American Novel: Introduction; 1. Transatlantic currents and the invention of the American novel; 2. Susanna Rowson, Hannah Webster Foster, and the seduction novel in the early US; 3. Charles Brockden Brown and the novels of the early Republic; 4. The novel in the antebellum book market; 5. American land, American landscape, American novels; 6. Cooper and the idea of the Indian; 7. The nineteenth-century historical novel; 8. Hawthorne and the aesthetics of American romance; 9. Melville and the novel of the sea; 10. Religion and the nineteenth-century American novel; 11. Manhood in the early American novel; 12. Sentimentalism; 13. Supernatural novels; 14. Imagining the South; 15. Stowe, race and the antebellum American novel; 16. The early African American novel; Part II. Realism, Protest, Accommodation: Introduction; 17. Realism and radicalism: the school of Howells; 18. James, pragmatism, and the realist ideal; 19. Theories of the American novel in the age of realism; 20. The novel in postbellum print culture; 21. Twain, class, and the Gilded Age; 22. Dreiser and the city; 23. Novels of civic protest; 24. Novels of American business, industry, and consumerism; 25. New Americans and the immigrant novel; 26. Cather and the regional imagination; 27. Wharton, marriage, and the new woman; 28. The postbellum racial novel; 29. The African American novel after Reconstruction; 30. Literary Darwinism and the rise of naturalism; 31. Imagining the frontier; 32. Imperialism, orientalism, and Empire; 33. The Hemispheric novel in the post-Revolutionary era; 34. The woman's novel beyond sentimentalism; 35. Dime novels and the rise of mass market genres; 36. Readers and reading groups; Part III. Modernism and Beyond: Introduction; 37. Hemingway, Stein, and American modernisms; 38. The Great Gatsby and the 1920s; 39. Philosophy and the American novel; 40. Steinbeck and the proletarian novel; 41. The novel, mass culture, mass media; 42. Wright, Hurston, and the direction of the African American novel; 43. Ellison and Baldwin: aesthetics, activism, and the social order; 44. Religion and the twentieth-century American novel; 45. Faulkner and the Southern novel; 46. Law and the American novel; 47. Twentieth-century publishing and the rise of the paperback; 48. The novel of crime, mystery, and suspense; 49. US novels and US wars; 50. Science fiction; 51. Female genre fiction in the twentieth century; 52. Children's novels; 53. The American novel and the rise of the suburbs; 54. The Jewish great American novel; 55. The Beats and the 1960s; 56. Literary feminisms; 57. Reimagining genders and sexualities; Part IV. Contemporary Formations: Introduction; 58. Postmodern novels; 59. The nonfiction novel; 60. Disability and the American novel; 61. Model minorities and the minority model – the neoliberal novel; 62. The American Borderlands novel; 63. The rise of the Asian American novel; 64. Toni Morrison and the post-Civil Rights African American novel; 65. Hemispheric American novels; 66. The worlding of the American novel; 67. The Native American tradition; 68. Eco-novels; 69. Graphic novels; 70. Twentieth- and twenty-first-century literary communities; 71. A history of the future of narrative; A selected bibliography; Index.
'… an innovative approach that is bound to prove as stimulating as the best of American fiction already does.' Contemporary Review