A New Literary History of America
In more than two hundred ...more
To begin with, this book comes nowhere close to living up to its grandiose title. Instead of a "literary history," we get a collection of ...more
Some numbers: 1044 pages. 223 essays. Five pages for every essay. 201 essayists. Three essayists (the editors, Marcus and Sollors, plus David Thomson) with three or more essays. Twelve editorial board members, recruiting, a number of whom write twice. Fourteen contributors without University affiliation, only one of these on the Editorial Board. Five of the so-called "Seven Arts" (Painting, Literature, Theater, Sculpture, Architecture, Dance, Music) represented among the 223 with an essay. One...more
The back cover should give you a clue about this. It mentions essays like:
- The name 'America' appears for the first time
- The president delivers a six-minute speech
- D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation is released
- Bob Dylan writes "Song to Woody"
- Barack Obama is elected
The thing you might notice is that none of these essays are about books. And so goes kindof a surprising number of essays in the ...more
Dave Hickey and Ishmael Reed's essays, on Hank Williams and Huck Finn respectively, are brilliant. There's a tremendous amount of amazing material here- a few mediocrities, to be sure, and some clunkers, maybe, but the overall effect is stimulating, accessible, creative, and often counter-intuitive, which is precisely how I like 'em...and a book about American literary (more like cultural) history deserves no less...
Some of the essays flew over my head. Some were very thought provoking.
The interpretation of Literary is very broad. I learned these things from this cultural history. History happens all the time. It happens on all scales to all people. We cull our stories to fit in a particular grouping. Lots of stories are about guys and written about buys and ...more
I found fresh articles that introduced me to literature I had not know and means to further explore those entries.
The entries are written by candid, eagerly informed, and gratuitously didactic academics who probably love to read this kind of stuff.
For my taste, A New Literary History of America is disconnected, faddish, and acutely sensitive to nuances of language and context that lots of readers (like me) dont care about too much.
Andy Warhol isnt listed as a consulting editor, but I think he would have taken the job if hed been available.
Read more of my ...more
La storia della letteratura degli Stati Uniti attraverso i suoi piú e meno noti scrittori, i discorsi dei presidenti, le dichiarazioni di indipendenza, la nascita del Blues e quella del Jazz per finire con ...more