Tag Archives: American Literature

The Relevant Novel

So-called Great American Novels examine the American identity, refusing to merely entertain. Yet notably few top bestsellers’ lists. They are a small sliver of an already pressed industry fighting with TV, the Internet, movies, and our smartphones for attention and relevancy. How can the next great novel be relevant in modern America when it’s competing […]

Genres…and More

So many choices, where to begin? For years, newspapers have been dividing bestsellers into Fiction and Non-fiction. Yet if one digs deeper into these two genres, a stream of sub-genres emerges. FICTION: Fantasy explores alternate worlds, timelines, and universes, often taking individuals from reality into an entirely imagined realm. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings may […]

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Giving Back to Our Favorite Writers

American literature and I have had a rocky relationship, and I hope you’ll bear with me as I tell you about it. I’ll admit, I am more likely to turn to British or Russian fiction when I have the time to read for pleasure. The first Steinbeck I ever read, Of Mice and Men, I […]

Five Great Film Adaptations of American Literature

5. No Country for Old Men (2007, dir. Joel and Ethan Coen) Cormac McCarthy’s novels are notoriously difficult to adapt for the screen (an adaptation of Blood Meridian has been circling around the Hollywood rumor mill for years, and the project has fallen through at least twice) but if anyone were to create the quintessential […]

The King in Yellow by R. W. Chambers

Books on the Small Screen

Every so often, literature appears outside of literature. The Shakespearean “sleep of death” catalyzes the major events of the film, What Dreams May Come. Homer Simpson daydreams about spending his unemployment by a Waldenesque pond (and journaling about how much he misses TV). A few recent television shows feature particularly thoughtful references to American literature. […]

Writers on the Road

Throughout history, Americans have  been known for their desire to discover and explore new places and enjoy new experiences. Never is this aspect of American identity more apparent than in its writers. From travelogues to diaries, American writers have taken pen to paper to record their thoughts and experiences as they traveled through the vast […]

Pages from a Dr. Seuss book

New Works by Classic American Authors Lead to Excitement and Disappointment

Nearly a year before Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman was released in July 2015, the book world was abuzz with anticipation and speculation. To Kill a Mockingbird was 55 years old, and most people thought the elderly invalid author was a ‘one-hit wonder.’ The ongoing soap opera about the journey to publication of the […]

A History of Recognition: Part I

The American Writers Museum is the newest institution recognizing talent and trends in American literature. But there are other ways the U.S. has commemorated and debated its authors and books. Let’s dip into the history of America’s recognition of its unique literature, beginning with a look at the informal – and hard-to-pin – canon of […]

Facade of the Alcott House in Boston

Boston: The Birthplace of American Literature

Emerson. Thoreau. Longfellow. Hawthorne. James. Alcott. These names bring to mind classic American literature and poetry, long a staple of high school curriculum and dusty library bookshelves. If you haven’t heard of Walden, Little Women, Paul Revere’s Ride, or The Scarlet Letter, you might have missed a few English classes. These authors are considered to […]