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The American novel and its tradition.

"Since the earliest days," writes Richard Chase in this classic study, "the American novel, in its most original and characteristic form, has worked out its destiny and defined itself by incorporating an element of romance." In his detailed study of works by Charles Brockden Brown, James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Henry James, Frank Norris, George Washington Cable, William Dean Howells, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Faulkner, Chase identifies and traces this tradition through two centuries of American literature. The best novelists, he argues, have found uses for romance beyond the escapism, fantasy, and sentimentality often associated with it. Through romance, these writers mirror the extremes of American culture -- the Puritan melodrama of good and evil, or the pastoral idyll inspired by the American wilderness. The American "romance-novel," as Chase calls it, also exhibits fundamental differences from English fiction. His readings show how works by American writers depart from the ordinary novelistic requirements of verisimilitude, development, and continuity; their works are freer, more daring than those produced by their English counterparts. In particular, they seek out the underside of consciousness: "The intense desire to drive everything through to the last turn of the screw or twist of the knife," Chase states, "often results in romantic nihilism, a poetry of force and darkness." Such distinctions -- between the "novel" as it is commonly understood and the "romance" as Chase defines it, between the nature of English and American consciousness -- are important keys to understanding American fiction and to gaining a clear picture of both its characteristic greatness and its characteristic shortcomings.

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  • ""Since the earliest days," writes Richard Chase in this classic study, "the American novel, in its most original and characteristic form, has worked out its destiny and defined itself by incorporating an element of romance." In his detailed study of works by Charles Brockden Brown, James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Henry James, Frank Norris, George Washington Cable, William Dean Howells, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Faulkner, Chase identifies and traces this tradition through two centuries of American literature. The best novelists, he argues, have found uses for romance beyond the escapism, fantasy, and sentimentality often associated with it. Through romance, these writers mirror the extremes of American culture -- the Puritan melodrama of good and evil, or the pastoral idyll inspired by the American wilderness. The American "romance-novel," as Chase calls it, also exhibits fundamental differences from English fiction. His readings show how works by American writers depart from the ordinary novelistic requirements of verisimilitude, development, and continuity; their works are freer, more daring than those produced by their English counterparts. In particular, they seek out the underside of consciousness: "The intense desire to drive everything through to the last turn of the screw or twist of the knife," Chase states, "often results in romantic nihilism, a poetry of force and darkness." Such distinctions -- between the "novel" as it is commonly understood and the "romance" as Chase defines it, between the nature of English and American consciousness -- are important keys to understanding American fiction and to gaining a clear picture of both its characteristic greatness and its characteristic shortcomings."@en

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  • "Criticism, interpretation, etc."@en
  • "Criticism, interpretation, etc."

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  • "The American novel and its tradition."@en
  • "The American novel and its tradition"
  • "The American novel and its tradition"@en
  • "The American novel and its tradition /"
  • "The American novel and its tradition /"@en
  • "The american novel and its tradition /"

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