A History of American Literature

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This major new history of American literature from pre-Columbian times to the present is written in an informed but accessible style by one of the leading authorities in the field. While paying attention to the full range of fiction, poetry, drama and non-fiction that has been incorporated into the mainstream literary canon, it also looks at other forms, including oral literature, folktales, spirituals, the blues, the western, the detective story, the thriller, and science fiction. All this writing is placed in the context of American social and cultural history both before and after the formation of the United States.

Taking account of the radical changes that have occurred in our understanding of American literature over the past 30 years, this book concentrates above all on the plural character of culture in the United States, the conflicting forces at work in its history, and the continuing acts of imagination that constitute the making of this nation.

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A history of American literature

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In this scholarly but accessible history of American literature, subject specialist Gray (Univ. of Essex) covers the entire range of periods and genres, beginning with Native American oral traditions ... Read full review

About the author (2004)

Richard Gray is Professor of American Literature at the University of Essex. Generally regarded as the leading European scholar in American literature, he is the first specialist in American literature to be elected a Fellow of the British Academy. His recent publications include Writing the South: Ideas of an American Region (1997), The Life of William Faulkner: A Critical Biography (Blackwell Publishing, 1994) and Southern Aberrations: Writers of the American South and the Problems of Regionalism (2000). With Owen Robinson, he has also edited A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American South (Blackwell Publishing, 2004).

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