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This Companion examines the full range and vigor of the American novel. From the American exceptionalism of James Fenimore Cooper to the apocalyptic post-Americanism of Cormac McCarthy, these newly commissioned essays from leading scholars and critics chronicle the major aesthetic innovations that have shaped the American novel over the past two centuries. The essays evaluate the work, life, and legacy of influential American novelists including Melville, Twain, James, Wharton, Cather, Faulkner, Ellison, Pynchon, and Morrison, while situating them within the context of their literary predecessors and successors. The volume also highlights less familiar, though equally significant writers such as Theodore Dreiser and Djuna Barnes, providing a balanced and wide-ranging survey of use to students, teachers, and general readers of American literature.
From the moment that his debut book, Goodbye, Columbus (1959), won him the National Book Award, Philip Roth has been among the most influential and controversial writers of our age. Now the author of more than twenty novels, numerous stories, two memoirs, and two books of literary criticism, Roth has used his writing to continually reinvent himself and in doing so to remake the American literary landscape. This Companion provides the most comprehensive introduction to his works and thought in a collection of newly commissioned essays from distinguished scholars. Beginning with the urgency of Roth's early fiction and extending to the vitality of his most recent novels, these essays trace Roth's artistic engagement with questions about ethnic identity, postmodernism, Israel, the Holocaust, sexuality, and the human psyche itself. With its chronology and guide to further reading, this Companion will be essential for new and returning Roth readers, students and scholars.