Lectures on American literature

Lectures on American literature

Quinn, Justin (ed.)

subjects: literary criticism

e-book, 3. edition
published: october 2013
ISBN: 978-80-246-2347-4
e-book formats PDF
recommended price: 200 czk



The first edition of this book, published in 2002, aimed to complete the study material for our students of American literature. The third edition strives to emphasize this aspect while expanding and deepening the general overview as well as including other important movements and authors. The exposition of the 20th century underwent major changes: the scholars added new texts while supplementing the older ones to comply with the development of critical and academic approaches. The book is written to the point and in comprehensible language, corresponding with the ambition to present and explain the development of one of the most interesting world literatures to university students.


The authors of this lecture series are to be congratulated for their clear and lucid prose, and they have done an excellent job of mapping the last hundred years or so of American literature and literary culture for a student audience. The text gives us a sense of American plurality, a plurality that goes beyond race and gender politics and into the heterogeneous culture offered up by the vast American landscape. At the same time, these lectures give a clear sense of chronology and the historical/political/social development necessary to put literature into an understandable framework. This is particularly important toward the end of the century where we have less benefit of hindsight; I will confine the bulk of my comments to the latter half of the century, as I can find little fault with the coverage of the first half. Not only do these lectures place American literature in a social and historical framework, but they also piece literature into the quilt of popular culture (fashion, music, film, and even comic books). I believe that literature is just one of the many cultural productions offered up by the century, and that popular culture is particularly helpful to students when trying to place literature in its appropriate context, so I find the text's attitudes concerning the confluence of popular culture with literary culture admirable. This is true not only when talking of say, the Beats or Vietnam-era writers, but also when trying to understand modernism juxtaposed with the new twentieth-century pleasures of jazz or film.
Though this series of lectures is aimed at a university student audience, I was impressed by the consistently intellectual yet conversational tone of the book and.with. the simplicity of the text's explanations (as well as explications).

Z recenzního posudku: William Bradley Vice, Ph.D.