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Believing that the importance of American literary tradition to the life of our nation has been too long neglected, a distinguished man of letters expresses in this collection of essays and addresses the doctrine that a mature interpretation of our own intellectual and cultural history ought to be one of the important concerns of American scholarship. To this end and in clear and persuasive prose, Howard Jones discusses the need for literary history and the use of American literature as an instrument for cultural analysis; he gives a complete history of ideas in America and their influence; and he presents the responsibilities of contemporary American literature.