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

A New Literary History of America

America is a nation making itself up as it goes along—a story of discovery and invention unfolding in speeches and images, letters and poetry, unprecedented feats of scholarship and imagination. In these myriad, multiform, endlessly changing expressions of the American experience, the authors and editors of this volume find a new American history.

In more than two hundred original essays, A New Literary History of America brings together the nation’s many voices. From the first conception of a New World in the sixteenth century to the latest re-envisioning of that world in cartoons, television, science fiction, and hip hop, the book gives us a new, kaleidoscopic view of what “Made in America” means. Literature, music, film, art, history, science, philosophy, political rhetoric—cultural creations of every kind appear in relation to each other, and to the time and place that give them shape.

The meeting of minds is extraordinary as T.J. Clark writes on Jackson Pollock, Paul Muldoon on Carl Sandburg, Camille Paglia on Tennessee Williams, Sarah Vowell on Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Walter Mosley on hard-boiled detective fiction, Jonathan Lethem on Thomas Edison, Gerald Early on Tarzan, Bharati Mukherjee on The Scarlet Letter, Gish Jen on Catcher in the Rye, and Ishmael Reed on Huckleberry Finn. From Anne Bradstreet and John Winthrop to Philip Roth and Toni Morrison, from Alexander Graham Bell and Stephen Foster to Alcoholics Anonymous, Life, Chuck Berry, Alfred Hitchcock, and Ronald Reagan, this is America singing, celebrating itself, and becoming something altogether different, plural, singular, new.

Please visit www.newliteraryhistory.com for more information.

Also Available As

Jacket: A New Literary History of America

HARDCOVER | $51.50

ISBN 9780674035942

Short

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
Vera Rubin: A Life, by Jacqueline Mitton and Simon Mitton, with a Foreword by Jocelyn Bell Burnell, from Harvard University Press

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution, by Lindsay Chervinsky, from Harvard University Press

Why You Should Participate in an (Online) Book Club

Online book clubs can be a rewarding way to connect with readers, Lindsay Chervinsky discovered, when she was invited to join one to discuss her book, The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution. Since my book was published in April 2020, I’ve discovered that my work appeals to three main audiences. First, the general readers who are enthusiastic about history, attend virtual events, and tend to support local historic sites. Second, readers who are curious about our government institutions and the current political climate and are looking for answers about its origins. And third, history, social studies, and government teachers