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From Puritanism to Postmodernism: A History of American Literature Paperback – December 1, 1992

ISBN-13: 978-0140144352 ISBN-10: 0140144358 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (December 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140144358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140144352
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

From Ruland (English and American Literature/Washington State Univ.) and critic-novelist Bradbury (The Modern World: Ten Great Writers; Unsent Letters--both 1988, etc.)--a sound, balanced account of how American writers created works that reflected ``a new nation with new experience, a new science and a new politics on a new continent.'' Neither idiosyncratic nor iconoclastic, this introductory history is, though, sometimes excessively respectful toward the academically au courant. Ruland and Bradbury, an American and Englishman, respectively, nervously tip their hats to multiculturalism, and will leave their audience of general readers scratching their heads over why more attention is paid to the structuralists and deconstructionists than to luminaries like John Cheever, Thomas Wolfe, Edmund Wilson, H.L. Mencken, and Tennessee Williams. American theater (with the exception of Eugene O'Neill) is inexcusably slighted, while popular genres such as detective and science fiction are more understandably ignored. When it comes to the early development of American literature, however, the authors are on surer ground and perform ably. In tracing the transition from the allegorical mode of the Puritans to the symbolist mode of the American Literary Renaissance, they explore how ``America became a testing place of language and narrative...part of a lasting endeavor to discover the intended nature and purpose of the New World.'' By examining authors in their historical as well as aesthetic context, they make a number of connections not commonly discussed (e.g., how Mark Twain and his contemporaries missed out on the combat experience in the Civil War). Despite its unwillingness to lance some academic sacred cows, then, this is a comprehensive, often vibrant history of how American writers declared independence from older European forms before making their own unique contributions to world literature. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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It's a book I've returned to and plan on returning to in the future.
VictorE
I expected the same from this book and was dreading reading it when it was assigned for an American Literature class.
Pamela C. Ellis
They know their business and oh, how wonderful, they are able writers.
Meredith Folsom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Meredith Folsom on April 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy reading but not dull witted, quite an enjoyable and informative book. Malcolm Bradbury (Sir Malcolm) was (died in 2000) a British professor of American Studies and Richard Ruland is a professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis. They know their business and oh, how wonderful, they are able writers. Bradbury was even a Booker Prize Best Novel nominee (1983)for Rates of Exchange.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By VictorE on September 21, 2010
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An exceptional book for a concise, in a nutshell history of American Literature. I was assigned this book for a graduate class, which was surprising considering that it inexpensive. It's a book I've returned to and plan on returning to in the future.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pamela C. Ellis on September 24, 2013
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I was so tired of boring text-book style reads in which I was being lectured from the pages and lacked any kind of involvement or attachment to the sibject matter. I expected the same from this book and was dreading reading it when it was assigned for an American Literature class. I was sorely disapointed but in a good way! The authors have found a way to balance information with approachableness and for once I didn't feel lectured, but rather engaged in the subject matter. It was so good I read beyond what was required for the class and finished it. If you are taking an American Lit class, I recommend it even if your professor doesn't and if you are interested in writing I would recommend it also as it is enlightening and a good read!
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If I taught American History in college I would require this book! I have been teaching American Lit for high school students for the past 7 years and I believe that this is a fantastic addition to my library. It adds a fullness and historical insight into the events of the periods, and best of all, it has suggested works that I am now using in my class.

Awesome Book!
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By Sean on March 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is my go-to book for all things pertaining to the history of American Literature. It's comprehensive, yet concise. It's intelligently written, yet not stilted. Genius!
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From Puritanism to Postmodernism: A History of American Literature
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