A Companion to American Literary Studies

Robert Levine, Co-Editor with Caroline F. Levander
Wiley-Blackwell, 2011

A Companion to American Literary Studies addresses the most provocative questions, subjects, and issues animating the field. Essays provide readers with the knowledge and conceptual tools for understanding American literary studies as it is practiced today, and chart new directions for the future of the subject.

  • Offers up-to-date accounts of major new critical approaches to American literary studies
  • Presents state-of-the-art essays on a full range of topics central to the field
  • Essays explore critical and institutional genealogies of the field, increasingly diverse conceptions of American literary study, and unprecedented material changes such as the digital revolution
  • A unique anthology in the field, and an essential resource for libraries, faculty, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates






Introduction 1
Caroline F. Levander and Robert S. Levine

Part I. Forms 13

1 Poetry, Prose, and the Politics of Literary Form 15
Russ Castronovo

2 The Critical Work of American Literature 29
Joel Pfister

3 Women’s Worlds in the Nineteenth-Century US Novel 46
Shirley Samuels

4 The Secularization Narrative and Nineteenth-Century American Literature 61
Elizabeth Fenton

5 Literatures of Technology, Technologies of Literature 77
Paul Gilmore

6 Excluded Middles: Social Inequality in American Literature 93
Gavin Jones

7 Narrative Medicine, Biocultures, and the Visualization of Health and Disease 108
Kirsten Ostherr

8 Performance Anxieties: The A-Literary Companions of American Literary Studies 125
Catherine Gunther Kodat

9 Drama, Theatre, and Performance before O’Neill 141
Jeffrey H. Richards

10 Disliking It: American Poetry and American Literary Studies 158
Mary Loeffelholz

11 After the New Americanists: The Progress of Romance and the Romance of Progress in American Literary Studies 173
Jennifer L. Fleissner

12 Mass Media and Literary Culture at the Turn of the Twentieth Century 191
Nancy Bentley

Part II. Spaces 209

13 Cabeza de Vaca, Lope de Oviedo, and Americas Exceptionalism 211
Anna Brickhouse

14 Worlding America: The Hemispheric Text-Network 228
Susan Gillman and Kirsten Silva Gruesz

15 Worlds of Color, Gender, Sexuality, and Labor in Early American Literary History 248
Michelle Stephens

16 Transatlantic Returns 264
Elisa Tamarkin

17 American Literature in Transnational Perspective: The Case of Mark Twain 279
Shelley Fisher Fishkin

18 Southern Literary Studies 294
John T. Matthews

19 New Regionalisms: US-Caribbean Literary Relations 310
Sean X. Goudie

20 American Literature as Ecosystem: The Examples of Euclides da Cunha and Cormac McCarthy 325
George B. Handley

21 Settler States of Feeling: National Belonging and the Erasure of Native American Presence 342
Mark Rifkin

22 Tribal Nations and the Other Territories of American Indian Literary History 356
James H. Cox

23 Globalization 373
Paul Giles

Part III. Practices 387

24 Democratic Cultures and the First Century of US Literature 389
Dana D. Nelson

25 American Literature and Law 406
Brook Thomas

26 Sexuality and American Literary Studies 422
Christopher Looby

27 Exquisite Fragility: Human Being in the Aftermath of War 437
Priscilla Wald

28 The Posthuman Turn: Rewriting Species in Recent American Literature 454
Ursula K. Heise

29 Narrative and Intellectual Disability 469
Michael Bérubé

30 Reading for Asian American Literature 483
Colleen Lye

31 Untangling Genealogy’s Tangled Skeins: Alexander Crummell, James McCune Smith, and Nineteenth-Century Black Literary Traditions 500
Carla L. Peterson

32 Speculative Realism and the Postrace Aesthetic in Contemporary American Fiction 517
Ramón Saldívar

33 The New Life of the New Forms: American Literary Studies and the Digital Humanities 532
Matt Cohen