This is the fullest and richest account of the American Renaissance available in any literary history. The narratives in this volume made for a four-fold perspective on literature: social, cultural, intellectual and aesthetic. Michael D. Bell describes the social conditions of the literary vocation that shaped the growth of a professional literature in the United States. Eric Sundquist draws upon broad cultural patterns: his account of the writings of exploration, slavery, and the frontier is an interweaving of disparate voices, outlooks and traditions. Barbara L. Packer's sources come largely from intellectual history: the theological and philosophical controversies that prepared the way for transcendentalism. Jonathan Arac's categories are formalist: he sees the development of antebellum fiction as a dialectic of prose genres, the emergence of a literary mode out of the clash of national, local and personal forms. Together, these four narratives constitute a basic reassessment of American prose-writing between 1820 and 1865. It is an achievement that will remain authoritative for our time and that will set new directions for coming decades in American literary scholarship.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Number of pages||944|
|Publication status||Published - 1994|