HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS REFERENCE LIBRARY
Cover: A New Literary History of America, from Harvard University PressCover: A New Literary History of America in HARDCOVER

A New Literary History of America

  • Introduction [Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors]
  • 1507: The name “America” appears on a map [Toby Lester]
  • 1521, August 13: Mexico in America [Kirsten Silva Gruesz]
  • 1536, July 24: Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca [Ilan Stavans]
  • 1585: “Counterfeited according to the truth” [Michael Gaudio]
  • 1607: Fear and love in the Virginia colony [Adam Goodheart]
  • 1630: A city upon a hill [Elizabeth Winthrop]
  • 1643: A nearer neighbor to the Indians [Ted Widmer]
  • 1666, July 10: Anne Bradstreet [Wai Chee Dimock]
  • 1670: The American jeremiad [Emory Elliott]
  • 1670: The stamp of God’s image [Jason D. LaFountain]
  • 1673: The Jesuit relations [Laurent Dubois]
  • 1683: Francis Daniel Pastorius [Alfred L. Brophy]
  • 1692: The Salem witchcraft trials [Susan Castillo]
  • 1693–1694, March 4: Edward Taylor [Werner Sollors]
  • 1700: Samuel Sewall, The Selling of Joseph [David Blight]
  • 1722: Benjamin Franklin, The Silence Dogood Letters [Joyce E. Chaplin]
  • 1740: The Great Awakening [Joanne van der Woude]
  • Late 1740s; 1814, September 13–14: Two national anthems [John Picker]
  • 1765, December 23: Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur [Leo Damrosch]
  • 1773, September: Phillis Wheatley [Rafia Zafar]
  • 1776: The Declaration of Independence [Frank Kelleter]
  • 1784, June: Charles Willson Peale [Michael Leja]
  • 1787: James Madison, Notes of the Debates in the Federal Convention [Mitchell Meltzer]
  • 1787–1790: John Adams, Discourses on Davila [John Diggins]
  • 1791: Philip Freneau and The National Gazette [Jeffrey L. Pasley]
  • 1796: Washington’s farewell address [François Furstenberg]
  • 1798: Mary Rowlandson and the Alien and Sedition Acts [Nancy Armstrong]
  • 1798: American gothic [Marc Amfreville]
  • 1801, March 4: Jefferson’s first inaugural address [Jan Ellen Lewis]
  • 1804, January: The matter of Haiti [Kaiama Glover]
  • 1809: Cupola of the world [Judith Richardson]
  • 1819, February: The Missouri crisis [John Stauffer]
  • 1820, November 27: Landscape with birds [Christoph Irmscher]
  • 1821: Sequoyah, the Cherokee syllabary [Lisa Brooks]
  • 1821, June 30: Junius Brutus Booth [Coppélia Kahn]
  • 1822: Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, the Ojibwe firefly, and Longfellow’s Hiawatha [David Treuer]
  • 1825, November: Thomas Cole and the Hudson River school [Alan Wallach]
  • 1826, July 4: Songs of the republic [Steve Erickson]
  • 1826: Cooper’s Leatherstocking tales [Richard Hutson]
  • 1826; 1927: Transnational poetry [Stephen Burt]
  • 1827: Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon [Terryl L. Givens]
  • 1828: David Walker, Appeal, in Four Articles [Tommie Shelby]
  • 1830, May 21: Jump Jim Crow [W.T. Lhamon, Jr.]
  • 1831, March 5: The Cherokee Nation decision [Philip Deloria]
  • 1832, July 10: President Jackson’s bank veto [Dan Feller]
  • 1835, January: Democracy in America [Ted Widmer]
  • 1835: William Gilmore Simms, The Yemassee [Jeffrey Johnson]
  • 1835: The Sacred Harp [Sean Wilentz]
  • 1836, February 23–March 6: The Alamo and Texas border writing [Norma E. Cantú]
  • 1836, February 28: Richard Henry Dana, Jr. [Kirsten Silva Gruesz]
  • 1837, August 15: Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar” [James Conant]
  • 1838, July 15: “The Divinity School Address” [Herwig Friedl]
  • 1838, September 3: The slave narrative [Caille Millner]
  • 1841: “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” [Robert Clark]
  • 1846, June: James Russell Lowell’s Biglow Papers [Shelley Streeby]
  • 1846, late July: Henry David Thoreau [Jonathan Arac]
  • 1850: The Scarlet Letter [Bharati Mukherjee]
  • 1850, July 19: Margaret Fuller and the Transcendentalist Movement [Lawrence Buell]
  • 1850, August 5: Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville [Clark Blaise]
  • 1851: Moby-Dick [Greil Marcus]
  • 1851: Uncle Tom’s Cabin [Beverly Lowry]
  • 1852: Hawthorne’s Blithedale Romance and utopian communities [Winfried Fluck]
  • 1852, July 5: Frederick Douglass, “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?” [Liam Kennedy]
  • 1854: Maria Cummins and sentimental fiction [Cindy Weinstein]
  • 1855: Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass [Angus Fletcher]
  • 1858: The Lincoln–Douglas debates [Michael T. Gilmore]
  • 1859: The science of the Indian [Scott Richard Lyons]
  • 1861: Emily Dickinson [Susan Stewart]
  • 1862, December 13: The journeys of Little Women [Shirley Samuels]
  • 1865, March 4: Lincoln’s second inaugural address [Ted Widmer]
  • 1865: “Conditions of repose” [Robin Kelsey]
  • 1869, March 4: Carl Schurz [Michael Boyden]
  • 1872, November 5: All men and women are created equal [Laura Wexler]
  • 1875: The Winchester Rifle [Merritt Roe Smith]
  • 1876, January 6: Melville in the dark [Kenneth W. Warren]
  • 1876, March 10: The art of telephony [Avital Ronell]
  • 1878: “How to Make Our Ideas Clear” [Christopher Hookway]
  • 1879: John Muir and nature writing [Scott Slovic]
  • 1881, January 24: Henry James, Portrait of a Lady [Alide Cagidemetrio]
  • 1884: Mark Twain’s hairball [Ishmael Reed]
  • 1884, July: The Linotype machine [Lisa Gitelman]
  • 1884, November: The Southwest imagined [Leah Dilworth]
  • 1885: The problem of error [James Conant]
  • 1885, July: Limits to violence [James Dawes]
  • 1885, October: Writing New Orleans [Andrei Codrescu]
  • 1888: The introduction of motion pictures [Jonathan Lethem]
  • 1889, August 28: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court [Yael Schacher]
  • 1893: Chief Simon Pokagon and Native American literature [David Treuer]
  • 1895: Ida B. Wells, A Red Record [Jacqueline Goldsby]
  • 1896: Paul Laurence Dunbar, Lyrics of Lowly Life [Judith Jackson Fossett]
  • 1896, September 6: Queen Lili‘uokalani [Rob Wilson]
  • 1897, Memorial Day: The Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Monument [Richard Powers]
  • 1898, June 22: Literature and imperialism [Amy Kaplan]
  • 1899; 1924: McTeague and Greed [Gilberto Perez]
  • 1900: Henry Adams [T.J. Jackson Lears]
  • 1900: The Wizard of Oz [Gerald Early]
  • 1900; 1905: Sister Carrie and The House of Mirth [Farah Jasmine Griffin]
  • 1901: Charles W. Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition [John Edgar Wideman]
  • 1901; 1903: The problem of the color line [Arnold Rampersad]
  • 1903, May 5: “The real American has not yet arrived” [Aviva Taubenfeld]
  • 1903: The invention of the blues [Luc Sante]
  • 1903: One sees what one sees [Daniel Albright]
  • 1904, August 30: Henry James in America [Ross Posnock]
  • 1905, October 15: Little Nemo in Slumberland [Kerry Roeder]
  • 1906, April 9: The Azusa Street revival [RJ Smith]
  • 1906, April 18, 5:14 a.m.: The San Francisco Earthquake [Kathleen Moran]
  • 1911: “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” [Philip Furia]
  • 1912, April 15: Lifeboats cut adrift [Alan Ackerman]
  • 1912: The lure of impossible things [Heather Love]
  • 1912: Tarzan begins his reign [Gerald Early]
  • 1913: A modernist moment [Bonnie Costello]
  • 1915: D.W. Griffith, The Birth of a Nation [Richard Schickel]
  • 1915: Robert Frost [Christian Wiman]
  • 1917: The philosopher and the millionaire [Richard J. Bernstein]
  • 1920, August 10: Mamie Smith’s “Crazy Blues” [Daphne A. Brooks]
  • 1921: Jean Toomer [Elizabeth Alexander]
  • 1922: T.S. Eliot and D.H. Lawrence [Anita Patterson]
  • 1923, October: Chaplinesque [David Thomson]
  • 1924: F.O. Matthiessen meets Russell Cheney [Robert Polito]
  • 1924, May 26: The Johnson–Reed Act and ethnic literature [Yael Schacher]
  • 1925: The Great Gatsby [Lan Tran]
  • 1925, June: Sinclair Lewis [Jeffrey Ferguson]
  • 1925, July: The Scopes trial [Michael Kazin]
  • 1925, August 16: Dorothy Parker [Catherine Keyser]
  • 1926: Fire!! [Carla Kaplan]
  • 1926: Hardboiled [Walter Mosley]
  • 1926: The Book-of-the-Month Club [Joan Shelley Rubin]
  • 1927: Carl Sandburg and The American Songbag [Paul Muldoon]
  • 1927, May 16: “Free to develop their faculties” [Jeffrey Rosen]
  • 1928, April 8, Easter Sunday: Dilsey Gibson goes to church [Werner Sollors]
  • 1928, Summer: John Dos Passos [Phoebe Kosman]
  • 1928, November 18: The mouse that whistled [Karal Ann Marling]
  • 1930: “You’re swell!” [Robert Gottlieb]
  • 1930, March: The Silent Enemy [Micah Treuer]
  • 1930, October: Grant Wood’s American Gothic [Sarah Vowell]
  • 1931, March 19: Nevada legalizes gambling [David Thomson]
  • 1932: Edmund Wilson, The American Jitters [Anthony Grafton]
  • 1932: Arthur Miller [Andrea Most]
  • 1932, April or May: The River Rouge plant and industrial beauty [John M. Staudenmaier, S.J.]
  • 1932, Christmas: Ned Cobb [Robert Cantwell]
  • 1933: Baby Face is censored [Stephanie Zacharek]
  • 1933, March: FDR’s first Fireside Chat [Paula Rabinowitz]
  • 1934, September: Robert Penn Warren [Howell Raines]
  • 1935: The Popular Front [Angela Miller]
  • 1935: The skyscraper [Sarah Whiting]
  • 1935, June 10: Alcoholics Anonymous [Michael Tolkin]
  • 1935, October 10: Porgy and Bess [John Rockwell]
  • 1936: Gone with the Wind and Absalom, Absalom! [Carolyn Porter]
  • 1936, July 5: Two days in Harlem [Adam Bradley]
  • 1936, November 23: Life begins [Michael Lesy]
  • 1938: Superman [Douglas Wolk]
  • 1938, May: Jelly Roll Morton speaks [Marybeth Hamilton]
  • 1939: Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit” [Robert O’Meally]
  • 1939; 1981: Up from invisibility [Josef Jařab]
  • 1940: “No way like the American way” [Erika Doss]
  • 1940–1944: Preston Sturges [Douglas McGrath]
  • 1941: An insolent style [Carrie Tirado Bramen]
  • 1941: Citizen Kane [Joseph McBride]
  • 1941: The word “multicultural” [Werner Sollors]
  • 1943: Hemingway’s paradise, Hemingway’s prose [Keith Taylor]
  • 1944: The second Bill of Rights [Cass R. Sunstein]
  • 1945, February: Bebop [Ingrid Monson]
  • 1945, April 11: Thomas Pynchon and modern war [Glenda Carpio]
  • 1945, August 6, 10:45 a.m.: The atom bomb [Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi]
  • 1946, December 5: Integrating the military [Gerald Early]
  • 1947, December 3: Tennessee Williams [Camille Paglia]
  • 1948: Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics [David A. Mindell]
  • 1948: Saul Bellow [Ruth Wisse]
  • 1949–1950: “The Birth of the Cool” [Ted Gioia]
  • 1950, November 28: “Damned busy painting” [T.J. Clark]
  • 1951: A poet among painters [Mark Ford]
  • 1951: The Catcher in the Rye [Gish Jen]
  • 1951: James Jones, From Here to Eternity [Lindsay Waters]
  • 1951: A soft voice [M. Lynn Weiss]
  • 1952, April 12: Elia Kazan and the blacklist in Hollywood [Michael Ventura]
  • 1952, June 10: C.L.R. James [Donald E. Pease]
  • 1953, January 1: The song in country music [Dave Hickey]
  • 1954: Wallace Stevens, Collected Poems [Helen Vendler]
  • 1955, August 11: “The self-respect of my people” [Monica L. Miller]
  • 1955, September 21: A.J. Liebling and the Marciano–Moore fight [Carlo Rotella]
  • 1955, October 7: A generation in miniature [Richard Cándida Smith]
  • 1955, December: Nabokov’s Lolita [Stephen Schiff]
  • 1956, April 16: “Roll Over Beethoven” [James Miller]
  • 1957: Dr. Seuss [Philip Nel]
  • 1959: “Nobody’s perfect” [William J. Mann]
  • 1960: Psycho [William Beard]
  • 1960, January: More than a game [Michael MacCambridge]
  • 1961, January 20: JFK’s inaugural address and Catch-22 [Charles Taylor]
  • 1961, July 2: The author as advertisement [David Thomson]
  • 1962: Bob Dylan writes “Song to Woody” [Joshua Clover]
  • 1962: “White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art” [Howard Hampton]
  • 1963, April: “Letter from Birmingham Jail” [George Hutchinson]
  • 1964: Robert Lowell, “For the Union Dead” [Peter Sacks]
  • 1964, October 27: “The last stand on Earth” [Gary Kamiya]
  • 1965, September 11: The Council on Interracial Books for Children [Dianne Johnson]
  • 1965, October: The Autobiography of Malcolm X [David Bradley]
  • 1968: Norman Mailer [Mary Gaitskill]
  • 1968, March: The illusory babels of language [Hal Foster]
  • 1968, August 28: The plight of conservative literature [Michael Kimmage]
  • 1969: Elizabeth Bishop, Complete Poems [Laura Quinney]
  • 1969, January 11: The first Asian Americans [Hua Hsu]
  • 1969, November 12: The eye of Vietnam [Thi Phuong-Lan Bui]
  • 1970: Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker [Cheryl A. Wall]
  • 1970; 1972: Linda Lovelace [Ann Marlowe]
  • 1973: Loisaida literature [Frances R. Aparicio]
  • 1973: Adrienne Rich, Diving into the Wreck [Maureen N. McLane]
  • 1975: Gayl Jones [Robert O’Meally]
  • 1981, March 31: Toni Morrison [Farah Jasmine Griffin]
  • 1982: Edmund White, A Boy’s Own Story [Sarah Shun-lien Bynum]
  • 1982: Wild Style [Hua Hsu]
  • 1982: Maya Lin’s wall [Anne M. Wagner]
  • 1982, November 8: Harriet Wilson [Saidiya V. Hartman]
  • 1985, April 24: Henry Roth [Mario Materassi]
  • 1987: Maxine Hong Kingston, Tripmaster Monkey [Seo-Young Chu]
  • 1995: Philip Roth [Hana Wirth-Nesher]
  • 2001: Twenty-first-century free verse [Stephen Burt]
  • 2003: Richard Powers, The Time of Our Singing [Greil Marcus]
  • 2005, August 29: Hurricane Katrina [Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors]
  • 2008, November 4: Barack Obama [Kara Walker]
  • Contributors
  • Index

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Awards & Accolades

  • An Amazon.com Editors’ Pick Best Book of 2009
  • A Boston Phoenix Gift Book of 2009
  • An East Bay Express Best Book of 2009
  • An Entertainment Weekly Best Nonfiction Book of 2009
  • An NPR Best Gift Book of 2009
  • A Salon Best Nonfiction Book of 2009
  • A Seminary Co-op Top 20 Book of 2009
  • A Time Out New York Gift Book of 2009
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