Romance of the Road: The Literature of the American Highway

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Popular Press, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 170 pages
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In journeys of self-discovery, quests to define our national identity, opportunities to escape from the daily routine, and expressions of social protest - the American road narrative has been a significant and popular literary genre for four decades. Romance of the Road captures America's love affair with roads, cars, travel, speed, and the lure of open spaces. With roots reaching back to quest romance and pilgrimage, the literature of the American highway explores our diverse and often conflicted cultural values. This comprehensive study of an important American art form examines how road narratives create dialogues between travelers, authors, and readers about who we are, what we value, and where we hope to be going.
 

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Contents

Pmfime
1
A Chronology of Genre Memory
17
Disharmony and Protest
33
Search for a National Identity
51
Journeys of SelfDiscovery
69
Escape Experimentation and Parody
89
The American Highway and Cultural Diversity
107
Reentry and the Road Mythos
127
Epflogue
141
Index
167
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About the author (1996)

Ronald Primeau is professor of English and director of the Master of Arts in Humanities Program at Central Michigan University.

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