Reading the American Novel 1920-2010 (Reading the Novel)

9780631230687: Reading the American Novel 1920-2010 (Reading the Novel)

This astute guide to the literary achievements of American novelists in the twentieth century places their work in its historical context and offers detailed analyses of landmark novels based on a clearly laid out set of tools for analyzing narrative form.

  • Includes a valuable overview of twentieth- and early twenty-first century American literary history
  • Provides analyses of numerous core texts including The Great Gatsby, Invisible Man, The Sound and the Fury, The Crying of Lot 49 and Freedom
  • Relates these individual novels to the broader artistic movements of modernism and postmodernism
  • Explains and applies key principles of rhetorical reading
  • Includes numerous cross-novel comparisons and contrasts 



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From the Back Cover:

Reading the American Novel, 1920-2010 is an instructive and insightful companion for students and scholars of American literature. It situates the American novel within the broader social, political, and artistic history of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and equips its readers with key tools of rhetorical analysis that will enhance their capacities to respond to the remarkable diversity of the novel throughout this period.  James Phelan’s survey keeps its eye on the historical trajectory of the genre, even as it considers each individual novel’s responses to specific aspects of its historical moment. In addition, Phelan engages in various productive cross-novel comparisons and contrasts with regard to such matters as the uses of unreliable narration, strategies for beginning and ending, and adaptations of the Bildungsroman.


About the Author:

James Phelan is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of English at Ohio State University, USA. His wide-ranging research in narrative theory includes influential studies of literary character, narrative progression, unreliable narration, and the ethics of reading as well as significant fresh interpretations of numerous twentieth-century American and British novels and short stories. The editor of Narrative, the journal International Society for the Study of Narrative, Prof Phelan is also a prolific author and editor whose credits include the prize-winning Living to Tell about It: A Rhetoric and Ethics of Character Narration (2005), the Blackwell Companion to Narrative Theory (2005) and the collaboratively written Narrative Theory: Core Concepts and Critical Debates (2012).

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