Cover image for Competing voices : the American novel, 1865-1914
Competing voices : the American novel, 1865-1914
Donaldson, Susan Van D'Elden, 1951-
Publication Information:
New York : Twayne Publishers ; London : Prentice Hall International, [1998]

Physical Description:
xxviii, 218 pages ; 23 cm.
Format :


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PS377 .D66 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The volumes in this series examine significant literary foundations of the novel, by applying the most recent critical approaches: Marxism, feminism, structuralism, and others.

Each volume surveys a specific novel-writing tradition, and includes:

-- A chronology listing publication dates of major novels, birth and death dates of novelists, and dates of significant events

-- An introductory overview of the novels and their critical reception

-- A summary of the state of the criticism

-- Primary and secondary source bibliographies

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Donaldson (College of William & Mary) departs from studies in southern literature (e.g., Haunted Bodies: Gender and Southern Texts, which she edited with Anne Goodwyn Jones, CH, Sep'98) to provide an excellent exploration of the novel in the US. The author argues that no hegemonic poesis held sway during this formative period of US literary identity. Rather, "competing voices" in the public arena on sentimentalism and professionalism, marginality and centrality, versions of realism, images of race and women all contended for a role as the public voice of literature of that era. Since the study is part of "Twayne's Critical History of the Novel" series, it offers an excellent chronology that includes cultural events that shaped the writing of the time and an informative selected bibliography. The study ends with a chapter on Gertrude Stein and Stephen Crane. "Early wars between sentimentalism and professionalism," Donaldson concludes, "and quarrels over the meaning and content of realism [gave way] at century's end to uncertainty and doubt about the very nature of narrative itself." Donaldson's study frames these narrative questions clearly, and it will no doubt shape the future of discourse on US literature between 1865 and 1914. All undergraduate and graduate collections. E. J. Dupuy St. Joseph Seminary College