A Writer's America:Landscape in Literature

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9780394571423: A Writer's America:Landscape in Literature
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The distinguished literary critic and historian identifies and examines the influences of American landscapes, pastoral and urban, on American writers ranging from Jefferson to Bellow

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From Publishers Weekly:

Splicing a text by distinguished critic Kazin with scores of paintings, photographs and literary excerpts might seem the ideal way to illuminate American writers' changing relationship with nature and landscape. This eye-catching book is ingeniously conceived, well-produced and often sagacious, but the end results are mixed. Kazin frequently slips into the sort of facile prose one associates with TV documentaries ("Robinson Jeffers in Carmel saw life entirely as coastal landscape"). He forces into his panoramic narrative many writers (Joan Didion, Flannery O'Connor, Stephen Crane, etc.) who have seemingly little connection to his theme. Despite these flaws, his treatment of Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Steinbeck and others is solid. Paintings by Edward Hicks, Karl Bodmer, Frederic Remington, Winslow Homer and Childe Hassam lend new resonances to the literary works discussed, and the whole enterprise is set in a historical framework, from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello to the rise of megalopolis.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Sometimes revered, sometimes reviled, Kazin offers another of his personal views of literary and cultural history. This time his focus is America as place and as metaphor. Dotting these pages are the writings of Emerson, Thoreau, James, Frost, and Hemingway, plus many others both famous and obscure. There is no doubt that the America of our literary heritage is not simply a plot of land, and Kazin does synthesize, albeit in occasionally rambling and over-reaching passages, the varying visions of our country. As with An American Procession ( LJ 5/1/84), Kazin can be criticized for his selections and omissions, but academic and large public libraries should have this well-illustrated volume. John Budd, Graduate Lib. Sch., Univ. of Arizona, Tucson
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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