Wednesday, September 1, 2010

1960: Love and Death in the American Novel to The Sot Weed Factor

Purpose of this blog: Brief summaries of World, British and American literary classics for English majors.

Leslie Fiedler. American. 1960. Literary Criticism. Love and Death in the American Novel. Identifies central tradition of innocence, new beginnings in American fiction. Sexual dimension: American literature depicts prepubescent male camaraderie instead of mature heterosexual relationships. Women depicted as either goddesses or whores. American novel as triumph of the romantic over the classical. Gothic over the sentimental.

Charles Olson. American. 1960. Poetry. The Maximus Poems. Ubiquitous and immortal voyager who writes letters to coastal New England town of Gloucester.

John Updike. American. 1960. Novel. Rabbit, Run. Brilliant evocation of everyday life in America. Conveys longings and frustrations of family life, yearning for guiding spiritual values. Salesman leaves wife, children for life of freedom; returns, but leaves again.

John Barth. American. 1960. Novel. The Sot-Weed Factor. Pastiche of 18th-century literary conventions: convoluted plots, counter plots, coincidences, disguises, reversals.

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