From a Modernist/Postmodernist perspective, this title addresses questions of literary and cultural nationalism. The authors reveal that since the seventeenth century, American writing has reflected the political and historical climate of its time and helped define America's cultural and social parameters. Above all, they argue that American literature has always been essentially 'modern', illustrating this with a broad range of texts: from Poe and Melville to Fitzgerald and Proud, to Wallace and Stevens, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Thomas Pynchon.
From Library Journal In this breezy but densely packed new study of American literature from the founding fathers through 1990, the authors touch on all the major and many of the minor works in the context of both their contemporary literary traditions and modern iconoclastic views. Although more space is devoted to the modern and postmodern scene, this is an excellent and readable survey of nearly 300 years of American writing and literary criticism in a flowing style that shows no signs of the tremendous concentration of information. Sure to become a classic; for general and special literature collections. - Shelley Cox, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale