RoadFrames: The American Highway Narrative

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9780803279810: RoadFrames: The American Highway Narrative
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RoadFrames illuminates many of the grandiose myths and unsentimental realities that have shaped modern American life. Lackey examines—and debunks—the theme of rediscovering America, with drivers seeking to escape industrialized America and recover a mythic innocence and independence. He also traces the influence of Thoreau, Emerson, and Whitman in such automobile travelers as Steinbeck, Tom Wolfe, and Jack Kerouac. There is an insightful discussion of road books by African American writers who reverse the romantic assumptions of many white travelers, creating highway narratives in which escape and nostalgia are not possible. The book concludes with a discussion of seven novels, extending from Sinclair Lewis's Free Air to Stephen Wright's Going Native.

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About the Author:

Kris Lackey is a professor of English at the University of New Orleans.

Review:

"Unusually lively, astute, and persuasive."—Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)

"There are two impulses after reading Kris Lackey’s RoadFrames: The American Highway Narrative. One is to rush into a library. The other is to jump into a car. . . . The author manages to convey the deep appeal of endless asphalt while still debunking many of the myths of Americans’ romance with the road."—Chronicle of Higher Education (Chronicle of Higher Education)

"Lackey seeks to debunk the romantic idea of rediscovering America through the highway and the automobile. Of particular poignancy is a chapter on how African American narratives have shown that the highway often holds no romance for them."—Library Journal (Library Journal)

"In this short but densely packed work, Kris Lackey muses upon more than ninety years of American road writing...The end product is a book that is at once intellectually stimulating, freshly illuminating, and broadly accessible."—Journal of American Studies.

(Journal of American Studies)

"Lackey applies with relish a number of convincing ideas to a variety of novels and travel books. Beginning with America’s first intercoastal highway narrative, From Ocean to Ocean in a Winton, and concluding with the postmodern rush of Stephen Wright’s Going Native, he offers a sense of wide vistas. . . . This is a book designed to connect its readers to other books, while providing conclusive evidence that America’s literature may indeed be as expansive as its map."—Times Literary Supplement (Times Literary Supplement)

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Lackey, Kris
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