Cover: To Wake the Nations: Race in the Making of American Literature, from Harvard University PressCover: To Wake the Nations in PAPERBACK

To Wake the Nations

Race in the Making of American Literature

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Product Details


$50.00 • £40.95 • €45.00

ISBN 9780674893313

Publication Date: 07/15/1998


720 pages

6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches

4 musical examples

Belknap Press


Sundquist’s book…helps reframe for a new time the questions, moral as well as aesthetic, we need to ask about what constitutes American literature and about what is to be valued in American culture.—Paul Lauter, Boston Globe

A major contribution to [the] continuing reconfiguration of the body of American writing.—A. L. Nielsen, Washington Post

Nothing less than a full-scale revision of U.S. literary history… To Wake the Nations is an indispensable tool for broadening received conceptions of this nation’s literary history, making them both more comprehensive and, in the most profound sense, more true.—Phillip Brian Harper, Newsday

To Wake the Nations brilliantly weaves [Sundquist’s] analysis of African American ‘sorrow songs’ with textual material.—David Yaffe, Bookforum

A major work of American literary criticism. Comparable in importance to Henry Nash Smith’s Virgin Land and Leo Marx’s The Machine in the Garden.Choice

To Wake the Nations will stand as the most comprehensive and conscientious study of its subject that has yet appeared.—William L. Andrews, American Literature

Thus instead of literary history that invokes the same, shopworn links between old world and new, readers of To Wake the Nations will discover a not-so-subtle change in the frame of reference from Europe to Africa… This radical reconstruction of American literary history results in a dazzling if somewhat humbling experience for readers schooled in the European tradition. Sundquist’s conscientious scholarship and immense learning set a high standard for future scholars that will not soon be matched.—Jonathan Veitch, Clio

Almost certainly the finest book yet written on race and American literature… [To Wake the Nations] amounts to a startlingly penetrating commentary on American culture, a commentary that should have a powerful impact on areas far beyond the texts investigated here.—Arnold Rampersad, Princeton University

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