Studies in Classic American Literature [...] is at once a work of cultural criticism, a study and critique of American myths, a meditation on the relationship between the Old World and the New, a new theory of the self, a theory of textuality (and a fearless demonstration of a radical, self-styled form of psycho-social criticism), a theory of art, a history of America, a critique of the Enlightenment and one of the greatest covert autobiographies in world literature (all the writers in the book represent either versions of Lawrence's self or versions of himself he felt he had to liberate). And, of course, it is a bravura interpretation of "classic" American texts, one of the most innovative and penetrating critical performances of modern times. -from Jon Thompson's Introduction.
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Lawrence asserted that 'the proper function of a critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it'. In these highly individual, penetrating essays he has exposed 'the American whole soul' within some of that continent's major works of literature. In seeking to establish the status of writings by such authors as Poe, Melville, Fenimore Cooper and Whitman, Lawrence himself has created a classic work. Studies in Classic American Literature is valuable not only for the light it sheds on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American consciousness, telling 'the truth of the day', but also as a prime example of Lawrence's learning, passion and integrity of judgement.Review:
'… excellently produced …' The Use of English
'… a brilliant and necessary book because it opens up familiar texts, reminding us that the best literary criticism is always in the end both evaluative and engaged.' The Times Literary Supplement
'… an excellently edited book, with a detailed, informative and scholarly introduction, and very helpful annotations. I think the greatest merit of this edition is that it also includes the English Review articles, together with their different versions, published or unpublished.' English Studies
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Book Description Penguin Books, 1977. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0140033009
Book Description Penguin Books, 1977. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110140033009