Reinventing the Feature Story: Mythic Cycles in American Literary Journalism
Although literary journalism is now widely accepted as an integral part of all American prose literature, there has been scant examination of its underlying themes, which have remained constant even as the literature itself has evolved. By looking at literary journalism as narrative - the artifact of myth - its cultural power and history are revealed. As a vehicle of myth, literary journalism's growth corresponds to the progression of myth through its primary, romantic and consummatory stages. Each stage of literary journalism is a tool for converting readers through sensational example to the moral values and social obligations of a particular myth stage. Each stage of myth creates the need for the subsequent stage in a continual literary cycle.
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American literary journalism American literature American myth American mythology Apprentice House audience Bly's captivity narratives cited by Slotkin consummatory artists consummatory myth consummatory mythmaker consummatory stage conventional conversion convert readers Cotton Mather critical Decadent and Depraved Dorson early American Edwards experience feature story fiction function genre George Herbert Mead Henry hero heroic quest Human Interest Story Ibid John Shelton Lawrence Jonathan Edwards Journalists Kentucky Derby Lawrence and Timberg literary journalism's Mailer McLaughlin metaphor myth as myth mythic consciousness mythic cycle mythic expression mythic visions mythological artifact mythology mythopoetic national mythology need for myth Nellie Bly newspapers Ole Miss original myths popular primary myth primary stage Puritan rags-to-riches myth realism remarkable providences reporters Richard Dorson romantic literary journalism romantic myth romantic mythmaker romantic stage self-conscious sense sermons social obligations established Southern stage of myth Terry Southern Thompson Tom Wolfe vehicle of myth Washington Post wilderness Wolfe World writers York