Alone in America: The Stories that Matter

3.36 avg rating
( 11 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780674066762: Alone in America: The Stories that Matter

Robert A. Ferguson investigates the nature of loneliness in American fiction, from its mythological beginnings in Rip Van Winkle to the postmodern terrors of 9/11. At issue is the dark side of a trumpeted American individualism. The theme is a vital one because a greater percentage of people live alone today than at any other time in U.S. history.

The many isolated characters in American fiction, Ferguson says, appeal to us through inward claims of identity when pitted against the social priorities of a consensual culture. They indicate how we might talk to ourselves when the same pressures come our way. In fiction, more visibly than in life, defining moments turn on the clarity of an inner conversation.

Alone in America tests the inner conversations that work and sometimes fail. It examines the typical elements and moments that force us toward a solitary state―failure, betrayal, change, defeat, breakdown, fear, difference, age, and loss―in their ascending power over us. It underlines the evolving answers that famous figures in literature have given in response. Figures like Mark Twain’s Huck Finn and Toni Morrison’s Sethe and Paul D., or Louisa May Alcott’s Jo March and Marilynne Robinson’s John Ames, carve out their own possibilities against ruthless situations that hold them in place. Instead of trusting to often superficial social remedies, or taking thin sustenance from the philosophy of self-reliance, Ferguson says we can learn from our fiction how to live alone.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Robert A. Ferguson is George Edward Woodberry Professor in Law, Literature, and Criticism at Columbia University.

Review:

Ferguson offers a sweeping panoramic account of his chosen fictions. Alone in America is well worth the price of admission. (Lawrence Buell, Harvard University)

Alone in America captures the tension between individualist ideal and the experience of loneliness that the opening presents so powerfully. Reading Ferguson's book sets up a contagious way of thinking afresh about American literature and culture, so that each reader will probably think of additional works in which this tension operates. (Werner Sollors, Harvard University)

Illuminating...Ferguson argues persuasively that loneliness has been a dominant theme in American literature virtually since Americans began writing. Concentrating on what he (by way of Emerson) refers to as 'the lords of life' (failure, betrayal, change, defeat, breakdown, fear, difference, age, and loss), he offers close readings of works from the early 19th century through the late 20th century, showing how these recurring issues, reflecting each era's zeitgeist, alienate characters from society and themselves. Rip Van Winkle awakens from his alcohol-induced slumber to find himself 20 years out of time. The heroines of Henry James's The Portrait of a Lady and Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God suffer estrangement within their poorly made marriages. Ferguson is particular edifying in his chapter on immigrant novels, which acutely show the loss of home that he finds at the center of all manifestations of loneliness in American literature. Age, gender, race, and illness are presented as agents of isolation in the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Mark Twain, Saul Bellow, Don DeLillo, and others. Ferguson invites the reader to look at classic fiction in a new light, and ponder the irony of so much loneliness in the literature of a country that champions self-reliance and the self-made man." (Publishers Weekly 2012-11-02)

Ferguson presents a scholarly study of how aloneness has been treated in American fiction over several centuries. He points out that being alone is experienced in different ways, drawing distinctions between feelings of loneliness, vulnerability, and solitude. (Stacy Russo Library Journal 2013-01-01)

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Robert A. Ferguson
Published by Harvard University Press (2013)
ISBN 10: 0674066766 ISBN 13: 9780674066762
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harvard University Press, 2013. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0674066766

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 24.61
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Robert A. Ferguson
Published by HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States (2013)
ISBN 10: 0674066766 ISBN 13: 9780674066762
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Robert A. Ferguson investigates the nature of loneliness in American fiction, from its mythological beginnings in Rip Van Winkle to the postmodern terrors of 9/11. At issue is the dark side of a trumpeted American individualism. The theme is a vital one because a greater percentage of people live alone today than at any other time in U.S. history. The many isolated characters in American fiction, Ferguson says, appeal to us through inward claims of identity when pitted against the social priorities of a consensual culture. They indicate how we might talk to ourselves when the same pressures come our way. In fiction, more visibly than in life, defining moments turn on the clarity of an inner conversation. Alone in America tests the inner conversations that work and sometimes fail. It examines the typical elements and moments that force us toward a solitary state--failure, betrayal, change, defeat, breakdown, fear, difference, age, and loss--in their ascending power over us. It underlines the evolving answers that famous figures in literature have given in response. Figures like Mark Twain s Huck Finn and Toni Morrison s Sethe and Paul D., or Louisa May Alcott s Jo March and Marilynne Robinson s John Ames, carve out their own possibilities against ruthless situations that hold them in place. Instead of trusting to often superficial social remedies, or taking thin sustenance from the philosophy of self-reliance, Ferguson says we can learn from our fiction how to live alone. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780674066762

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 30.31
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Ferguson, Robert A.
Published by Harvard Univ Press
ISBN 10: 0674066766 ISBN 13: 9780674066762
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harvard Univ Press. Book Condition: BRAND NEW. BRAND NEW Hardcover A Brand New Quality Book from a Full-Time Bookshop in business since 1992!. Bookseller Inventory # 2362540

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 30.94
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Robert A. Ferguson
Published by HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States (2013)
ISBN 10: 0674066766 ISBN 13: 9780674066762
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Robert A. Ferguson investigates the nature of loneliness in American fiction, from its mythological beginnings in Rip Van Winkle to the postmodern terrors of 9/11. At issue is the dark side of a trumpeted American individualism. The theme is a vital one because a greater percentage of people live alone today than at any other time in U.S. history. The many isolated characters in American fiction, Ferguson says, appeal to us through inward claims of identity when pitted against the social priorities of a consensual culture. They indicate how we might talk to ourselves when the same pressures come our way. In fiction, more visibly than in life, defining moments turn on the clarity of an inner conversation. Alone in America tests the inner conversations that work and sometimes fail. It examines the typical elements and moments that force us toward a solitary state--failure, betrayal, change, defeat, breakdown, fear, difference, age, and loss--in their ascending power over us. It underlines the evolving answers that famous figures in literature have given in response. Figures like Mark Twain s Huck Finn and Toni Morrison s Sethe and Paul D., or Louisa May Alcott s Jo March and Marilynne Robinson s John Ames, carve out their own possibilities against ruthless situations that hold them in place. Instead of trusting to often superficial social remedies, or taking thin sustenance from the philosophy of self-reliance, Ferguson says we can learn from our fiction how to live alone. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780674066762

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 31.02
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Ferguson, Robert A.
ISBN 10: 0674066766 ISBN 13: 9780674066762
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Paperbackshop-US
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2013. HRD. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # TH-9780674066762

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 28.46
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Robert A. Ferguson
Published by Harvard University Press (2013)
ISBN 10: 0674066766 ISBN 13: 9780674066762
New Quantity Available: 9
Seller:
Books2Anywhere
(Fairford, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harvard University Press, 2013. HRD. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from UK in 4 to 14 days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # WH-9780674066762

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 23.40
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 12.00
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Robert A. Ferguson
Published by Harvard 2013-01-15, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2013)
ISBN 10: 0674066766 ISBN 13: 9780674066762
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Blackwell's
(Oxford, OX, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harvard 2013-01-15, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2013. hardback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 9780674066762

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 30.83
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 8.00
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Robert A. Ferguson
Published by HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States (2013)
ISBN 10: 0674066766 ISBN 13: 9780674066762
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Robert A. Ferguson investigates the nature of loneliness in American fiction, from its mythological beginnings in Rip Van Winkle to the postmodern terrors of 9/11. At issue is the dark side of a trumpeted American individualism. The theme is a vital one because a greater percentage of people live alone today than at any other time in U.S. history. The many isolated characters in American fiction, Ferguson says, appeal to us through inward claims of identity when pitted against the social priorities of a consensual culture. They indicate how we might talk to ourselves when the same pressures come our way. In fiction, more visibly than in life, defining moments turn on the clarity of an inner conversation. Alone in America tests the inner conversations that work and sometimes fail. It examines the typical elements and moments that force us toward a solitary state--failure, betrayal, change, defeat, breakdown, fear, difference, age, and loss--in their ascending power over us. It underlines the evolving answers that famous figures in literature have given in response. Figures like Mark Twain s Huck Finn and Toni Morrison s Sethe and Paul D., or Louisa May Alcott s Jo March and Marilynne Robinson s John Ames, carve out their own possibilities against ruthless situations that hold them in place. Instead of trusting to often superficial social remedies, or taking thin sustenance from the philosophy of self-reliance, Ferguson says we can learn from our fiction how to live alone. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780674066762

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 39.02
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Robert A. Ferguson
Published by Harvard University Press
ISBN 10: 0674066766 ISBN 13: 9780674066762
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 9
Seller:
THE SAINT BOOKSTORE
(Southport, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harvard University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Bookseller Inventory # B9780674066762

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 33.74
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.25
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

FERGUSON
ISBN 10: 0674066766 ISBN 13: 9780674066762
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Herb Tandree Philosophy Books
(Stroud, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: NEW. 9780674066762 This listing is a new book, a title currently in-print which we order directly and immediately from the publisher. For all enquiries, please contact Herb Tandree Philosophy Books directly - customer service is our primary goal. Bookseller Inventory # HTANDREE0809964

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 32.54
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 10.66
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book