A New Literary History Of America (Harvard Univ., $49.95) is an immense critical achievement. The more than 200 essays commissioned by the editors, Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors, capture the plurality of American historical and cultural experience in all its complexity, fluidity, and contradiction. The editors broadly and flexibly interpret “literary,” applying the term not only to texts and authors, but to cultural moments and ideas. A stadium-sized roster of essayists, including Jonathan Lethem, Arnold Rampersad, Kara Walker, and Camille Paglia, explore such disparate topics as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” the origins of the European concept of a “New World,” and an exploration of “hardboiled” as a state of mind. The book’s amazing diversity is unified by a single thread, which is simply, as Marcus and Sollors state, “speech, in many forms.” Thus, this anthology represents America as an intersection of voices and experiences speaking to each other, calling out, protesting, creating, and recreating anew. This is a vital book for any student (or product) of American culture.

A New Literary History of America (Harvard University Press Reference Library) Cover Image
By Greil Marcus (Editor), Werner Sollors (Editor)
$49.95
ISBN: 9780674035942
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Belknap Press - September 1st, 2009

A New Literary History of America (Harvard University Press Reference Library #16) Cover Image
By Greil Marcus (Editor), Werner Sollors (Editor)
$28.00
ISBN: 9780674064102
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Belknap Press - May 7th, 2012

Elaine Showalter, a prominent literary scholar who recently served as the chair of the Man Booker International Prize, throws all stuffiness to the winds with A Jury Of Her Peers (Knopf, $30), her exceptionally readable literary history of American women writers from the mid-1600s through the 20th century. Showalter is always opinionated (Gertrude Stein she describes as “unreadable, self-indulgent, and excrutiatingly boring”), and she encapsulates her assessments with such wit, passion, and erudition that reading her personal choices of the 250 female writers she wants in her literary hall of fame is a consistently fresh and lively experience. Some of these authors were overlooked in their time, and others are rediscoveries; this compendium offers readers a whole new library to explore.

A Jury of Her Peers: Celebrating American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781400034420
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - January 12th, 2010

Malcolm Gladwell, the master of the quirky mashup and incomparable author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, serves up a feast of his favorite New Yorker pieces in What The Dog Saw (Little Brown, $27.99). The eponymous essay is a profile of the charismatic dog trainer, Cesar Millan; in his signature counterintuitive approach, Gladwell is less interested in Millan than he is in what’s going on inside Millan’s dog’s head, and by the end of the piece, even cat people will be eager to know. Gladwell’s insatiable curiosity about other people’s motivations and desires leads to such diverse ruminations as who’s most likely to be hired, who’s most likely to make a killing in investments, and why there are so many kinds of mustard but only one ketchup.

What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780316075848
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - October 20th, 2009

What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316076203
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Back Bay Books - December 14th, 2010

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