Sunday, November 29, 2009

A New Literary History of America...

Looking for the perfect gift for some who reads, but seems to have read everything? Or even that person who loves to read but has yet to figure what they like? Who am I kidding, anyone should want this book...

A New Literary History of America is Harvard University Press' new Anthology of what America "is". Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors have created a new American history book, a history of the minds and voices of the American people in more than two hundred essays.

A New Literary History of America begins with an essay about 1507 when "America" first appears on a map. Thus begins the history of America from the Salem witch trials 1n 1692 to the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Marc Amfreville's essay, 1978 - American Gothic begins with a quote from Paul Auster's Ghosts to introduce a facinating essay on Charles Brockden Brown, one of the very first American authors.

1821, June 30 - Junius Brutus Booth is another captivating essay that shows how the father of John Wilkes Booth had brought romantic acting, and largely Shakespeare, to the American stage. It is through these sort of essays- Greil Marcus on Moby-Dick, Angus Fletcher on Whitman and Leaves of Grass, Luc Sante on the invention of the Blues- that a very literary America is melded with the historical America- The invention of the Winchester Rifle, The San Francisco Earthquake, The skyscraper, etc - that gives us a truely historical America, rich with culture and industry.

There is so much to this collection of essays, with over 1,045 pages from the beginning to November 4, 2008 when Barack Obama is elected president. This is a very important collection, that will be cherished by generations to come.

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