The term great american novel comes directly from the title of an 1868 essay by american civil war novelist john william de forest the dream of the great american novel cambridge massachusetts and london the belknap press of harvard university press. We tend to think of the great american novel lawrence buell rightly suggests as the brainchild of another era it harks back to the 19th and early 20th centuries a time of anxious collective hand wringing about the apparent maddeningly slow emergence of a robust national literary voice. The dream of the great american novel reveals a genetic structure to american literature wheels that are constantly being reinvented as motifs and forms are borrowed appropriated refined sentimentalized de sentimentalized sacralized and satirizedbuells tour de force chapter on beloved in which all of american history seems to . Top notch for research purposes or personal reading the dream of the great american novel has everything to please a true blue book lover history perspective and lots and lots of rare or long forgotten titles for people who love the classics. The dream of the great american novel reveals a genetic structure to american literature wheels that are constantly being reinvented as motifs and forms are borrowed appropriated refined
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