Cover image for The complete idiot's guide to American literature.
The complete idiot's guide to American literature.
Rozakis, Laurie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Alpha ; Hemel Hempstead : Prentice Hall, 1999.
Physical Description:
432 pages ; 24 cm
Added Title:
American literature.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS88 .R69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS88 .R69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PS88 .R69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS88 .R69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS88 .R69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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A guide to American literature including a selection of the great American novels and poetry. The book features the contributions of Native, African, Jewish, Irish, Latin and other Americans, and comes with a glossary, timeline, who's who, reading lists, critical bibliographies and more.

Author Notes

Laurie E. Rozakis, Ph.D., is a member of the Modern Language Association, the American Association of University Women, the National Educational Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, and Women in Literature, Dr. Rozakis lives and teaches in Farmingdale, New York.

Table of Contents

Part 1 A New Land, a New Literature (1607-1840)p. 1
1 America the Beautiful--and Talentedp. 3
What's So American About American Literature?p. 4
Write Awayp. 6
Words to the Wisep. 8
2 In the Beginning: America's First Writers (1607-1750)p. 13
Saints and Strangersp. 14
William Bradford (1590-1657)p. 16
Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672)p. 17
Edward Taylor (1645-1729)p. 19
Cotton Mather (1663-1728)p. 20
John Smith (1580-1631)p. 22
3 Don't Tread on Me: The Revolutionary Period (1750-1800)p. 25
The Dream Teamp. 26
J. Hector St. Jean de Crevecoeur (1735-1813)p. 27
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)p. 28
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)p. 31
Thomas Paine (1737-1809)p. 36
The (Cultural) State of the Unionp. 37
4 The Big Daddy of American Literature: Washington Irving (1789-1851)p. 39
Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bridep. 40
A Declaration of Independencep. 41
The Big Kahunap. 43
Pumpkin Headp. 44
The Big Sleepp. 45
Going to the Devilp. 47
5 Father of the American Novel: James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)p. 49
Green Acres Is the Place for Mep. 50
Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Betterp. 52
Bumpp and Grindp. 53
My Hero: The Last of the Mohicansp. 54
So Why Not Just Watch the Movie?p. 56
Sn of a Bestseller: The Deerslayerp. 56
So What's It All About?p. 58
The Broken Twig Seriesp. 58
6 Life on the Ledge: Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)p. 61
A Rocky Startp. 62
Great Balls of Firep. 64
For the Birds: The Ravenp. 65
The Philosophy of Compositionp. 67
Annabel Leep. 68
The Cask of Amontilladop. 70
Gilt Trip: The Gold Bugp. 71
Dick Litp. 72
Part 2 The New England Renaissance (1840-1855)p. 75
7 The Sage of Concord: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)p. 77
Transcendentalismp. 78
Where's Waldo?p. 80
Naturep. 80
The American Scholarp. 81
Divinity School Addressp. 82
The Fame Gamep. 83
Master of His Domainp. 85
8 Nature Boy: Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)p. 87
Oh Henry!p. 88
A Travel Guide for the Mind: Waldenp. 89
On the Duty of Civil Disobediencep. 91
9 Nate the Great: Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)p. 95
Begin at the Very Beginningp. 96
Gimme an Ap. 98
You Play, You Payp. 102
Romancing the Novelp. 103
Short, but Not Sweet: Hawthorne's Storiesp. 103
10 Just Don't Call Me Hermie: Herman Melville (1819-1891)p. 107
Man Overboardp. 108
A Whale of a Tale: Moby Dickp. 110
Swimming with the Fishesp. 113
Life Before Xerox: Bartleby the Scrivenerp. 113
Part 3 The War Between the States (1855-1865)p. 117
11 The Little Woman Who Started This Great Big War: Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896)p. 119
The Beecher Preachersp. 120
The Price of Famep. 122
Uncle Tom's Cabin: Life Among the Lowlyp. 123
The Medium Is the Messagep. 125
The Mighty Mitep. 126
12 Rebel with a Cause: Frederick Douglass (1817-1895)p. 129
Bound and Determinedp. 129
The Man with the Iron Heartp. 132
Let Freedom Ringp. 133
True Gritp. 134
Working Without a Netp. 135
13 That Barbaric Yawp: Walt Whitman (1819-1892)p. 137
Letting It All Hang Outp. 138
Soul Manp. 139
I Sing the Body Electricp. 140
Black-Widow Blues: A Noiseless Patient Spiderp. 142
When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'dp. 143
Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Rockingp. 145
Advertisements for Myselfp. 146
14 The Big Mama of American Literature: Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)p. 149
Without Feathersp. 150
Write Awayp. 151
Not Waving, But Drowningp. 154
Remembrance of Flings Past?p. 154
A Snake in the Grassp. 156
A Date with Destinyp. 158
Speaking of Deathp. 159
Part 4 Realism and the Frontier (1865-1915)p. 161
15 Samuel Clemens: A.K.A. Mark Twain (1835-1910)p. 163
Fun and Gamesp. 164
Ever the Twain Shall Meetp. 165
"The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County"p. 167
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finnp. 171
Mark My Wordsp. 176
Mr. Clemens and Mark Twainp. 177
16 Life Is Short and Then You Die: Stephen Crane (1871-1900)p. 179
Even Stephenp. 180
The March of Timep. 181
Only the Good Die Young: Maggie: A Girl of the Streetsp. 183
The Red Badge of Couragep. 185
So What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?p. 187
The Open Boatp. 188
Rub-a-Dub-Dub: Four Men in a Tubp. 191
17 Three on a Match: The Naturalists Jack London, Frank Norris, and Theodore Dreiser (1890-1925)p. 193
The Law of the Claw: Naturalismp. 194
Jack London (1876-1916)p. 197
The Call of the Wilep. 198
To Build a Firep. 200
Frank Norris (1870-1902)p. 201
McTeague, a Story of San Franciscop. 202
No Teddy Bear: Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945)p. 203
An American Tragedyp. 204
18 Color My World: The Local Coloristsp. 207
In Living Colorp. 208
Bret Harte (1836-1902)p. 208
Mary Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930)p. 210
Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)p. 211
Down in the Bayou: Kate Chopin (1851-1904)p. 212
The Awakeningp. 213
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)p. 214
Prairie Tales: Willa Cather (1873-1947)p. 216
19 Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous: Edith Wharton and Henry Jamesp. 219
High Society: Edith Wharton (1862-1937)p. 219
Birds in Gilded Cagesp. 221
Ethan Fromep. 222
Henry James (1843-1916)p. 224
Culture Vulturep. 225
Bet You Can't Read Just Onep. 227
Edie and Hankp. 228
Part 5 Modern Literature (1915-1945)p. 229
20 Macho, Macho Man: Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)p. 231
Hunt and Peckp. 232
The War to End All Warsp. 233
Home Not-So-Sweet Homep. 234
A Shooting Starp. 236
Death in the Afternoonp. 239
Less Is Morep. 239
Hemingway's Codep. 240
The Sun Also Risesp. 241
The One That Got Away: The Old Man and the Seap. 243
The Fickle Finger of Famep. 245
21 Party Hearty: F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)p. 247
Great Scott!p. 248
The Beautiful and the Damnedp. 250
Paradise Lostp. 251
Snatching Victory from the Jaws of Defeatp. 252
The Jazz Age: "The Greatest, Gaudiest Spree in History"p. 253
The Great Gatsbyp. 255
A Great Novelp. 259
22 Mint Juleps, Moonlight, and Madness: William Faulkner (1897-1962)p. 261
Southern Comfortp. 262
My World, and Welcome to Itp. 263
Pushing the Envelope: Faulkner's Stylep. 265
Shrink Lit: Faulkner's Top Tenp. 265
The Sound and the Furyp. 266
23 Three Big Deals: Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and John Steinbeckp. 271
Pound Cakep. 272
Make It New!p. 273
Pound of Fleshp. 275
T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)p. 276
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrockp. 277
The Waste-Landp. 279
Big Man on Campusp. 281
John Steinbeck (1902-1968)p. 282
The Grapes of Wrathp. 284
24 A Pack of Poets (1900-1960)p. 289
Robert Frost (1874-1963)p. 289
Frosty the Poetp. 290
Sound of Sensep. 291
e(dward). e(stlin). cummings (1894-1962)p. 293
Somewhere I have never travelled, gladly beyondp. 294
Here's to You, Mr. Robinson: Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)p. 296
The Chicago Poets: Carl Sandburg, Edgar Lee Masters, and Vachel Lindsayp. 297
25 The Harlem Renaissance (1915-1929)p. 303
The Place to Bep. 304
Richard Wright (1908-1960)p. 305
Native Sonp. 308
Langston Hughes (1902-1967)p. 310
Countee Cullen (1903-1946)p. 311
Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)p. 311
Jean Toomer (1894-1967)p. 312
Claude McKay (1890-1948)p. 313
Additional Voicesp. 313
26 Cult Figures (1945-Present)p. 315
The Beat Goes Onp. 316
William S. Burroughs (1914-1997)p. 317
Jack Kerouac (1922-1969)p. 318
Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)p. 319
More Than I Needed to Knowp. 321
Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)p. 322
Anne Sexton (1920-1974)p. 323
Robert Lowell (1917-1977)p. 324
J.D. Salinger (b. 1919)p. 325
The Catcher in the Ryep. 326
27 Horror and Humor (1930-1960)p. 329
Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964)p. 330
Make Me Laugh, Make Me Cryp. 332
James Thurber (1894-1961)p. 332
Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)p. 335
Legends of Laughterp. 336
Part 6 Contemporary Literature (1946-Present)p. 339
28 Jewish-American Literaturep. 341
Gentleman's Agreementp. 342
Saul Bellow (b. 1915)p. 343
Erica Jong (b. 1942)p. 344
Norman Mailer (b. 1923)p. 345
Bernard Malamud (1914-1986)p. 347
Philip Roth (b. 1933)p. 347
Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-1991)p. 348
Elie Wiesel (b. 1928)p. 350
29 Contemporary African-American Literaturep. 353
I Have A Dreamp. 354
Ralph Ellison (1914-1994)p. 355
Gwendolyn Brooks (b. 1917)p. 357
James Baldwin (1924-1987)p. 358
Maya Angelou (b. 1928)p. 359
Toni Morrison (b. 1931)p. 360
Alice Walker (b. 1944)p. 361
Jamaica Kincaid (b. 1949)p. 362
30 Modern Canadian Literaturep. 365
O Canada!p. 366
Stephen Leacock (1869-1944)p. 368
Between the Warsp. 368
Alfred Purdy (b. 1918)p. 369
Pierre Berton (b. 1920)p. 370
Mavis Gallant (b. 1922)p. 371
Margaret Laurence (1926-1987)p. 371
Mordecai Richler (b. 1931)p. 372
Alice Munro (b. 1931)p. 373
Margaret Atwood (b. 1939)p. 373
Michael Ondaatje (b. 1943)p. 374
31 Native-American, Latino-American, and Asian-American Literaturep. 377
Modern Native-American Writersp. 378
Today's Latino-American Writersp. 382
Contemporary Asian-American Writersp. 385
32 New Frontiersp. 389
John Cheever (1912-1982)p. 390
John Updike (b. 1932)p. 390
Truman Capote (1924-1984)p. 392
Mary Gordon (b. 1948)p. 395
Stephen King (b. 1947)p. 396
Joyce Carol Oates (b. 1938)p. 398
A The Authors and Their Most Famous Worksp. 401
B Additional Readingp. 417
C Timelinep. 445
Indexp. 459