Download The Cambridge History of American Literature, volume 7: by Sacvan Bercovitch PDF

By Sacvan Bercovitch

Quantity 7 examines a large diversity of yank literature of the prior part century, revealing advanced kin to adjustments in society. Christopher Bigsby discusses American dramatists from Tennessee Williams to August Wilson. Morris Dickstein describes the of uprising in fiction from 1940 to 1970. John Burt discusses the writers of the yank South. Wendy Steiner examines postmodern fictions for the reason that 1970. ultimately, Cyrus Patell highlights the voices of local American, Asian American, Chicano, homosexual and lesbian writers.

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Extra resources for The Cambridge History of American Literature, volume 7: Prose Writing 1940-1990

Sample text

They were the ones who sang, carried musical instruments, painted, wrote poetry, or simply bent language into shapes that gave a certain elegance and rhythm to experience, redeeming it from mere functionalism - which is to say that what they primarily denied was the real, or rather, what they set out to do was redefine the real in such a way as to include their needs, hopes, and inventions. They fought to legitimize the body as they did the poetic imagination. In a conformist decade, in which America was defined in such a way as to exclude the dissenting voice, they generated meaning out of refusal.

That logic is pursued in Camino Real in which the characters are literal fictions, characters from literary texts, as later, in Outcry, in which the performing self is the only self he can envisage. " Meanwhile, the flame and the blade await those who think to beat the game of life with a temporary alliance of lost souls. " They are the end of something, the remnants of a world that has exhausted its possibility. Sexuality still glows, but its power to light up the world is fading. A new kind of power is loose, at its most vital, if primitive, in Stanley Kowalski, but more usually corrupt and corrupting.

Nothing appears in a Williams play as a mere detail of social living. Every prop, every piece of scenery, is less concerned to serve plot than theme, and what is true of the set is true also of character. Increasingly, these emerge as archetypes, elements of a morality play in which contending forces confront one another: the pleasure principle and the reality principle (in Streetcar), the pure at heart and the deeply corrupt (Orpheus Descending), the spiritual and the physical (Summer and Smoke), those who represent life as opposed to those who represent death (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly Last Summer).

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