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American Literature

American Literature Book List

Cover of 'The  Sturdy Oak'

The Sturdy Oak
A Composite Novel of American Politics
Edited by Elizabeth Jordan
· Introduction by Ida H. Washington

In the spring of 1916, as the workers for woman suffrage were laying plans for another attack on the bastions of male supremacy, the idea for The Sturdy Oak was born. Based on the rules of an old parlor game, wherein one person begins a narrative, another continues it, and another follows, this collaborative effort by the leading writers of the day, such as Fannie Hurst, Dorothy Canfield, and Kathleen Norris, is a satiric look at the gender roles of the time.

Cover of 'Arrows of Longing'

Arrows of Longing
The Correspondence between Anaïs Nin and Felix Pollak, 1952–1976
By Gregory H. Mason

In the winter of 1951-52, Anaïs Nin was a writer in despair. More than a dozen publishing houses had rejected her new novel, A Spy in the House of Love, and Nin became desperate for literary acceptance. Encouragement came from an unexpected source. Felix Pollak, an Austrian emigré and Rare Book Librarian at Northwestern University, had been entrusted with the task of acquiring some of Nin's manuscripts for the library.

Cover of 'Haunted by Waters'

Haunted by Waters
Fly Fishing in North American Literature
By Mark Browning

Four essential questions: Why does one fish? How should one properly fish? What relations are created in fishing? And what effects does fishing have on the future? Haunted by Waters is a self-examination by the author as he constructs his own narrative and tries to answer these questions for himself. But it is also a thorough examination of the answers he uncovers in the course of reading what's been written on the subject.

Cover of 'The  Destructive Element'

The Destructive Element
New and Selected Poems
By Turner Cassity

Turner Cassity is like a highly accomplished traditional composer—Camille Saint-Saëns, say, or Richard Strauss—who does not doubt that the music is the score and the score is the music. That is, poetry is verse and verse is poetry. Given that confidence, he is prepared to take on any subject. In the forty years he has been publishing, Mr. Cassity has never once written about nothing.

Cover of 'America’s Sketchbook'

America’s Sketchbook
The Cultural Life of a Nineteenth-Century Literary Genre
By Kristie Hamilton

America’s Sketchbook recaptures the drama of nineteenth-century American cultural life, placing at its center a genre—the literary sketch—more available than the novel, less governable by the critical establishment, and shot through with the tensions and types of local and national culture-making.

Cover of 'And Still Birds Sing'

And Still Birds Sing
New and Collected Poems
By Lucien Stryk

Written over a career that spans five decades, And Still Birds Sing is the masterwork of a major voice in American poetry.

Cover of 'Hired Pens'

Hired Pens
Professional Writers in America's Golden Age of Print
By Ronald Weber

Just as mass-market magazines and cheap books have played important roles in the creation of an American identity, those skilled craftsmen (and women) whose careers are the subjects of Ronald Weber's narrative profoundly influenced the outlook and strategies of the high-culture writers who are generally the focus of literary studies.

Cover of 'The  Bent Twig'

The Bent Twig
A Novel
By Dorothy Canfield
· Introduction by Ida H. Washington

Unlike other young women of her generation, who were “bred up from childhood to sit behind tea-tables and say the right things to tea-drinkers,” Sylvia Marshall—the “twig” of this novel—was reared to think for herself and to trust her own instincts and experience. This, coupled with her passionate temperament, makes Sylvia a compelling figure as she resists efforts to mold her with every rebellious fiber of her independent nature.

Cover of 'The  Poems of J. V. Cunningham'

The Poems of J. V. Cunningham
Edited by Timothy Steele

The lifework in verse of one of the century's finest and liveliest American poets, this collection of the poems of J. V. Cunningham (1911-85) documents the poet's development from his early days as an experimental modernist during the Depression to his emergence as the master of the classical “plain style”—distinguished by its wit, feeling, and subtlety.

Cover of 'Resisting Regionalism'

Resisting Regionalism
Gender And Naturalism In American Fiction, 1885-1915
By Donna Campbell

When James Lane Allen defined the “Feminine Principle” and the “Masculine Principle” in American fiction for the Atlantic Monthly in 1897, he in effect described local color fiction and naturalism, two branches of realism often regarded as bearing little relationship to each other.

Cover of 'Wound and the Bow'

Wound and the Bow
Seven Studies in Literature
By Edmund Wilson

The Wound and the Bow collects seven wonderful essays on the delicate theme of the relation between art and suffering by the legendary literary and social critic, Edmund Wilson (1885–1972). This welcome re-issue—one of several for this title—testifies to the value publishers put on it and to a reluctance among them ever to let it stay out of print for very long.

Cover of 'Recollections of Anaïs Nin'

Recollections of Anaïs Nin
By Her Contemporaries
Edited by Benjamin Franklin V

Recollections of Anaïs Nin presents Nin through the eyes of twenty-six people who knew her. She is the unconventional, distant aunt; the thoughtful friend; the owner of a strangely disarming voice; the author eager for attention yet hypersensitive to criticism; the generous advisor to a literary magazine; the adulteress; the beautiful septuagenarian; the recommender of books—the contributors elaborate on thses and many other perceptions of Nin.

Cover of 'The Immigrant Train'

The Immigrant Train
And Other Stories
By Natalie L. M. Petesch

In this short story collection, acclaimed author Natalie Petesch reaffirms for us our enduring debt to millions of immigrants who helped build America.

Cover of 'The  Complete American Fantasies'

The Complete American Fantasies
By James Schevill

“Fantasies to me, as I wrote in an earlier 1983 edition of American Fantasies, are the active, visionary links between reality and imagination as my characters pursue their destinies. Although we pretend to be a pragmatic, materialistic country, our fantasies, once suppressed by tradition, peer increasingly through the media into our private and public behavior.

Cover of 'Cities of the Interior'

Cities of the Interior
By Anaïs Nin

Ladders to Fire, Children of the Albatross, The Four-Chambered Heart, A Spy in the House of Love, Seduction of the Minotaur. Haunting and hypnotic, these five novels by Anaïs Nin began in 1946 to appear in quiet succession. Though published separately over the next fifteen years, the five were conceived as a continuous experience—a continuous novel like Proust's, real and flowing as a river.