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American Literature

American Literature Book List

Cover of 'The Wife of Martin Guerre'

The Wife of Martin Guerre
By Janet Lewis
· Introduction by Kevin Haworth
· Afterword by Larry McMurtry

The Wife of Martin Guerre—based on a notorious trial in sixteenth-century France—is “one of the most significant short novels in English” (Atlantic Monthly). Originally published in 1941, it still raises questions about identity, belonging, and about an individual’s capacity to act within an inflexible system.

Cover of 'The Trial of Sören Qvist'

The Trial of Sören Qvist
By Janet Lewis
· Introduction by Kevin Haworth

Originally published in 1947, The Trial of Sören Qvist has been praised by a number of critics for its intriguing plot and Janet Lewis’s powerful writing. And in the introduction to this new edition, Swallow Press executive editor and author Kevin Haworth calls attention to the contemporary feeling of the story—despite its having been written more than fifty years ago and set several hundred years in the past.

Cover of 'The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron'

The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron
By Janet Lewis
· Introduction by Kevin Haworth

This historical novel is the third and final book in American poet and fiction writer Janet Lewis’s Cases of Circumstantial Evidence series, based on legal case studies compiled in the nineteenth century. In The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron, Lewis returns to her beloved France, the setting of The Wife of Martin Guerre, her best-known novel and the first in the series.

A 2014 Kansas Notable Book
Cover of 'Dragging Wyatt Earp'

Dragging Wyatt Earp
A Personal History of Dodge City
By Robert Rebein

In Dragging Wyatt Earp essayist Robert Rebein explores what it means to grow up in, leave, and ultimately return to the iconic Western town of Dodge City, Kansas. In chapters ranging from memoir to reportage to revisionist history, Rebein contrasts his hometown’s Old West heritage with a New West reality that includes salvage yards, beefpacking plants, and bored teenagers cruising up and down Wyatt Earp Boulevard.

Cover of 'Literary Cincinnati'

Literary Cincinnati
The Missing Chapter
By Dale Patrick Brown

The history of Cincinnati runs much deeper than the stories of hogs that once roamed downtown streets. In addition to hosting the nation’s first professional baseball team, the Tall Stacks riverboat celebration, and the May Festival, there’s another side to the city—one that includes some of the most famous names and organizations in American letters.

Cover of 'Out of the Mountains'

Out of the Mountains
Appalachian Stories
By Meredith Sue Willis

Meredith Sue Willis’s Out of the Mountains is a collection of thirteen short stories set in contemporary Appalachia. Firmly grounded in place, the stories voyage out into the conflicting cultural identities that native Appalachians experience as they balance mainstream and mountain identities.

Cover of 'Thirsty'

Thirsty
A Novel
By Kristin Bair O’Keeffe

It is 1883, and all of Klara Bozic's girlish dreams have come crashing down as she arrives in Thirsty, a gritty steel town carved into the slopes above the Monongahela River just outside of Pittsburgh. She has made a heartbreaking discovery. Her new husband Drago is as abusive as the father she left behind in Croatia.

Cover of 'Updike in Cincinnati'

Updike in Cincinnati
A Literary Performance
Edited by James Schiff
· Photography by Jon Hughes

For two spring days in 2001, John Updike visited Cincinnati, Ohio, engaging and charming his audiences, reading from his fiction, fielding questions, sitting for an interview, participating in a panel discussion, and touring the Queen City. Successful writers typically spend a portion of their lives traveling the country to give readings and lectures.

Winner of the Ohioana Library’s 2008 Ohio Legacy Citation · 2014-2015 Choose to Read Ohio selection
Cover of 'Good Roots'

Good Roots
Writers Reflect on Growing Up in Ohio
Edited by Lisa Watts
· Foreword by R. L. Stine
· Afterword by Mark Winegardner

“A good place to be from.” That’s how some people might characterize the Buckeye State. The writings in Good Roots: Writers Reflect on Growing Up in Ohio, are testimony to the truth of that statement. By prominent writers such as P. J. O’Rourke, Susan Orlean, and Alix Kates Shulman, these contributions are alternately nostalgic, irreverent, and sincere, and offer us a personal sense of place. Their childhoods are as varied as their work.

Winner of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature/Ohio University Press Book Prize
Cover of 'The Midwestern Pastoral'

The Midwestern Pastoral
Place and Landscape in Literature of the American Heartland
By William Barillas

The midwestern pastoral is a literary tradition of place and rural experience that celebrates an attachment to land that is mystical as well as practical, based on historical and scientific knowledge as well as personal experience. It is exemplified in the poetry, fiction, and essays of writers who express an informed love of the nature and regional landscapes of the Midwest.

Cover of 'Zane Grey'

Zane Grey
Romancing the West
By Stephen J. May

One of the century’s most enduring American writers, Zane Grey left a legacy to our national consciousness that far outstrips the literary contribution of his often predictable plots and recurring themes. How did Grey capture the attention of millions of readers and promote the Western fantasy that continues to occupy many of the world’s leisure hours? This study assesses the Zane Grey phenomenon by examining Grey’s romantic novels in the context of his life and era.

Cover of 'Testaments'

Testaments
Two Novellas of Emigration and Exile
By Danuta Mostwin

Polish émigrés have written poignantly about the pain of exile in letters, diaries, and essays; others, more recently, have recreated Polish-American communities in works of fiction. But it is Danuta Mostwin’s fiction, until now unavailable in English translation, that bridges the divide between Poland and America, exile and emigration. Mostwin and her husband survived the ravages of World War II, traveled to Britain, and then emigrated to the United States.

Cover of 'A Poet’s Prose'

A Poet’s Prose
Selected Writings of Louise Bogan
By Louise Bogan
· Edited by Mary Kinzie

Although best known as a master of the formal lyric poem, Louise Bogan (1897–1970) also published fiction and what would now be called lyrical essays. A Poet’s Prose: Selected Writings of Louise Bogan showcases her devotion to compression, eloquence, and sharp truths. Louise Bogan was poetry reviewer for the New Yorker for thirty-eight years, and her criticism was remarkable for its range and effect.

Cover of 'The Confessions of Señora Francesca Navarro and Other Stories'

The Confessions of Señora Francesca Navarro and Other Stories
By Natalie L. M. Petesch

“Memory, of course, is sometimes like a bucking horse, sometimes a runaway one, and one must control the reins until finally it stops, snorting with exhausted relief,” writes Natalie L. M. Petesch in her haunting new collection, The Confessions of Señora Francesca Navarro and Other Stories. Petesch immerses readers in the lives of people caught up in the 1936–39 Spanish Civil War, which left more than five hundred thousand dead.

Winner of the 2003 Hollis Summers Poetry Prize.
Cover of 'The Quarry'

The Quarry
Poems
By Dan Lechay

Once or twice in a generation a poet comes along who captures the essential spirit of the American Midwest and gives name to the peculiar nature that persists there. Like James Wright, Robert Bly, Ted Kooser, and Jared Carter before him, Dan Lechay reshapes our imagination to include his distinct and profound vision of this undersung region.