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 Jokemaker
Joined: 9/30/2009
Msg: 2
Anybody interested In American literaturePage 1 of 2    (1, 2)
Well, many people consider Mark Twain the definitive american author. I always found his writings stale, trite, and completely irrelevant to the world today. if you are not afraid to go completely mad, H.P. Lovecraft was a master of horror in ways Stephen King can only dream of. His works are simply brilliant in their structure, eloquency, and pacing.
 barbyanne2
Joined: 10/19/2009
Msg: 7
Anybody interested In American literature
Posted: 11/8/2009 6:36:34 PM
rad0618
best answer so farIMO

My mother was an Englishteacher, so I am well read by default.

Please do not overlook Willa Cather. Her pioneer literature best describes that segment of out national personality as well as Steinbeck does. But Steinbeck and Hemingway, and Ralph Ellison for true American character, and then also the european exiles were important, and Steinbeck excels here as well. Richard Wright is also among the finest, and George Sands. Sinclair Lewis is often recommended but not a personal favorite of mine. Marjorie Kinan Rawlings is a must as well as Jack London who I consider the finest. Jean Toomer and Harper Lee catch the American South in living color. Mark Twain is a good choice as he captures the lives of Huck & Tom. Becky always got on my nerves, but I adored Aunt Polly. For a bit of urban America, I have already mentioned Ellison, but also Kerouac, and he is an important American not to be overlooked. Also, Robert Frost, though a poet, his work is without equal.

I am sure there are many I've neglected to mention - don't wish to overwhelm our candidate.
 kpooks
Joined: 12/23/2008
Msg: 11
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Anybody interested In American literature
Posted: 11/12/2009 6:58:43 AM
Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, even modern-day penners like Michael Crichton, Tom Clancy, Stephen King and Phillip K.**** Get reading!!!
 WindRoper
Joined: 7/24/2007
Msg: 12
Anybody interested In American literature
Posted: 11/12/2009 1:52:14 PM
XXth centuruy would be preferred. I considered Nathanael West. I liked his short novels, but It's quite difficult to write about and maybe a bit boring. I prefer themes concerned with relations between people or the life of people during the war.

Hemmingway or Steinbeck. The latter's Grapes of Wrath is situated during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. The war couldn't resolve the Dust Bowl but I often hear those of the older generation equating more recent economic woes with the depression and insisting the answer to stimulating economies is war. I imagine their personal observations during that time period led them to such beliefs.
 HalftimeDad
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 13
Anybody interested In American literature
Posted: 11/13/2009 8:07:36 AM
If you're doing an MA thesis you need someone a little less obvious than Twain or Steinbeck.

I'd suggest Jim Thompson. Wrote at the same time as Kerouac; took the hardboiled genre of the 30's to a much darker place; the favourite writer of many more successful writers like Stephen King and Elmore Leonard. It's a little tough to find his stuff though.
 kornbluth
Joined: 12/25/2006
Msg: 14
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Anybody interested In American literature
Posted: 11/15/2009 4:50:39 AM

How about Dorothy Parker? A much underrated writer, her short stories are rich and subtle: why is she underrated...

Excellent choice. To this day she's still the monarch of the one-liner comeback.
 boho_bookworm
Joined: 12/6/2008
Msg: 15
Anybody interested In American literature
Posted: 11/17/2009 3:25:20 PM
I like the New England Transcendentalists. Look no further than Boston.

Also, same time period- Hawthorn and Poe. EAP is AMAZING.
 barbyanne2
Joined: 10/19/2009
Msg: 17
Anybody interested In American literature
Posted: 11/17/2009 7:51:52 PM
yes true halftimedad, but she is not American, the OP, is she? So I do agree, under the circumstances with Scott Fitzgerald added to the Hemingway & Steinbeck list to round out the trio of "Obviousness" for someone not American, particularly.

Add Eudora Welty, and Katherine Anne Porter to this "Ship of Fools."

And, for something more current, none finer than Anne Tyler.
 kornbluth
Joined: 12/25/2006
Msg: 18
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Anybody interested In American literature
Posted: 11/18/2009 4:22:56 AM

Robert Crumb

Interesting choice, Fish. So how about Harvey Pekar? He pioneered "slice of life" writing in the comic-book format. Nowadays if you look at the 741 shelves in the library, you'll that it's not all "comics" anymore. Librarians have added terms like "graphic novel," but that's not really adequate. As Pekar said, we're getting more "words with pictures." I believe this is a major break-thru. Until recently, printing text and images on the same page was expensive and a PITA. But now with digital, it's easy. Almost any subject is better with illustrations than without, so I think we'll see more of it.
 Poet_in_MI
Joined: 5/27/2009
Msg: 21
Anybody interested In American literature
Posted: 11/21/2009 9:11:45 PM
I loved reading all the great authors listed in the many posts. Kerouac is my spiritual brother no doubt.

I would throw Cormac McCarthy in the mix. He is contemporary, has a significant body of work, well respected and well read...
 boho_bookworm
Joined: 12/6/2008
Msg: 24
Anybody interested In American literature
Posted: 10/5/2011 11:37:33 AM
I also love****ns, particularly "A Christmas Carol" and "Great Expectations."
 junipermoon
Joined: 3/1/2006
Msg: 25
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Anybody interested In American literature
Posted: 10/8/2011 5:29:47 PM

I also love****ns, particularly "A Christmas Carol" and "Great Expectations."


d_ickens was british, not american.

too many people have written about twain, fitzgerald, poe, hawthorne and melville. for a thesis, you need something few have covered and from an angle and with a concept no one has covered. i'd suggest capote or bradbury or heller or wolfe. they all offer fascinating character studies, intriguing lexicons and challenging shifts in voice.

american lit has so much diversity. it's a rich field to wander through.
 ilovehistory
Joined: 8/12/2009
Msg: 26
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Anybody interested In American literature
Posted: 10/9/2011 1:37:49 AM
I'm taking a grad seminar on Twain right now. In my opinion, his most relevant work to modern readers is one of his least known: A novel called Puddin' Head Wilson. The novel's illustration of pre-civil-war era racial-categorization (the idea that someone is black if they have just one drop of black blood) is sadly true today. Note the constant repetition in the press that President Obama is "Black," despite his actually being exactly half white. Our language hasn't even got a word for a mixed race person who is part black and part white, because its assumed the person is "Black." (Mulatto, rarely used today, is actually a Spanish word, not an English one. The word Negro is also Spanish, though Americans don't pronounce it correctly.)
 torgo70
Joined: 6/14/2008
Msg: 27
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Anybody interested In American literature
Posted: 10/11/2011 6:59:32 AM
A name I haven't seen mentioned- John Irving.
 torgo70
Joined: 6/14/2008
Msg: 28
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Anybody interested In American literature
Posted: 10/11/2011 7:01:42 AM

if you are not afraid to go completely mad, H.P. Lovecraft was a master of horror in ways Stephen King can only dream of. His works are simply brilliant in their structure, eloquency, and pacing.


King would be the first person to agree with this as he's a huge Lovecraft fan and has said Lovecraft is a huge influence on many of his stories and books.
 boho_bookworm
Joined: 12/6/2008
Msg: 29
Anybody interested In American literature
Posted: 10/11/2011 1:33:08 PM

d_ickens was british, not american.


Oh silly me. duh moment. (but well, I do love him!)

well in that case I vote for the transcendentalists

I can't believe that pof cencored "d_ickens".
 junipermoon
Joined: 3/1/2006
Msg: 31
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Anybody interested In American literature
Posted: 10/13/2011 4:33:13 PM

I can't believe that pof cencored "d_ickens".


it also censors emily.
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