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Vital Signs: Essays on American LIterature and Criticism

Tuttleton, James W.

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ISBN 10: 1566631009 / ISBN 13: 9781566631006
Published by Ivan R. Dee
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Title: Vital Signs: Essays on American LIterature ...

Publisher: Ivan R. Dee

Book Condition: Acceptable

About this title


James Tuttleton's literary writings in such magazines as the New Criterion, the American Scholar, and the Yale Review have earned him a reputation as one of our most trenchant critics. Here he collects twenty essays derived from his long engagement with the masterworks of the American imagination. Discussions of Hawthorne and Emerson, Howells and James, Fuller and Chopin, and Fitzgerald and Anderson, among others, are counterpointed with an analysis of the effect of contemporary critical theory on the American canon. Mr. Tuttleton scrutinizes a century and a half of great American writing from the viewpoint of literature as an art rather than as a datum of "cultural studies" He is severe with those styles of criticism that in his view drain literature of its moral and social significance, or that manipulate literature to serve an ideological agenda. The essays in Vital Signs arise from a conviction that great literature is more than mere discourse or a semiotic freeplay of figurations. In Mr. Tuttleton's view, a great poem or novel is an ontological reality, has a living presence, and is a system of "vital signs" that, from generation to generation, illuminates the world and offers alternatives that might be our own.

About the Author:

James W. Tuttleton, who died in November 1998, also wrote The Novel of Manners in America and edited volume one of The Works of Washington Irving for the Library of America. He was professor of English at New York University.

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