Author(s): Greil Marcus
America is a nation making itself up as it goes along - a story of discovery and invention unfolding in speeches and images, letters and poetry, unprecedented feats of scholarship and imagination. In these myriad, multiform, endlessly changing expressions of the American experience, the authors and editors of this volume find a new American history. In more than two hundred original essays, "A New Literary History of America" brings together the nation's many voices. From the first conception of a New World in the sixteenth century to the latest re-envisioning of that world in cartoons, television, science fiction, and hip hop, the book gives us a new, kaleidoscopic view of what "Made in America" means. Literature, music, film, art, history, science, philosophy, political rhetoric - cultural creations of every kind appear in relation to each other, and to the time and place that give them shape. The meeting of minds is extraordinary as T.J.
Clark writes on Jackson Pollock, Paul Muldoon on Carl Sandburg, Camille Paglia on Tennessee Williams, Sarah Vowell on Grant Wood's American Gothic, Walter Mosley on hard-boiled detective fiction, Jonathan Lethem on Thomas Edison, Gerald Early on Tarzan, Bharati Mukherjee on The Scarlet Letter, Gish Jen on Catcher in the Rye, and Ishmael Reed on Huckleberry Finn. From Anne Bradstreet and John Winthrop to Philip Roth and Toni Morrison, from Alexander Graham Bell and Stephen Foster to Alcoholics Anonymous, Life, Chuck Berry, Alfred Hitchcock, and Ronald Reagan, this is America singing, celebrating itself, and becoming something altogether different, plural, singular, and new.
In snapshots of a few thousand words each, the entries in A New Literary History put on display the exploring, tinkering and risk-taking that have contributed to the invention of America...A New Literary History of America gives us what amounts to a fractal geometry of American culture. You can focus on any one spot and get a sense of the whole or pull back and watch the larger patterns appear. What you see isn't the past so much as the present. -- Wes Davis Wall Street Journal 20090926 A New Literary History of America is not your typical Harvard University Press anthology...[It] roams far beyond any standard definition of literature. Aside from compositions that contain the written word, its subjects include war memorials, jazz, museums, comic strips, film, radio, musicals, skyscrapers, cybernetics and photography. -- Patricia Cohen New York Times 20090922 This magnificent volume is a vast, inquisitive, richly surprising and consistently enlightening wallow in our national history and culture...Neither reference nor criticism, neither history nor treatise, but a genre-defying, transcendent fusion of them all. It sounds impossible, but the result seems both inevitable and necessary and profoundly welcome, too...This book is not so much a history of our literature as it is a literary version of our history, told through the culture we've created to recount our past and conjure our future...In the age of Wikipedia, a reference book like this needs more than just the facts; it needs to tell us what the facts mean, and A New Literary History does just that. -- Laura Miller Salon 20090922 Ambitious, thought-provoking, and comprehensive, A New Literary History of America edited by Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors, features more than 200 essays on poems, letters, novels, memoirs, speeches, movies, and theater, by writers ranging from Bharati Mukherjee to John Edgar Wideman, reinterpreting the American experience form the 1500s forward. Elle 20091001 The huge, welcoming, exciting, just-published volume A New Literary History of America is a book with which to spend entire days and the rest of your life...Where else are you going to read Camille Paglia on Tennessee Williams, Mary Gaitskill on Norman Mailer, and Walter Mosley on the hardboiled detective novel? Don't you want to do that right now?...Talk about an all-American value: You could read this 1,000-plus-page book forever and never use up its revelations and its pleasures. -- Ken Tucker Entertainment Weekly online 20090923 [This] represents a rethinking of the awkward genre of literary history, which can fall disappointingly between the cracks of straight criticism and narrative history, devolving into a dull recitation of author bios and conventional literary wisdom. With the help of an editorial board, Marcus and Sollors settled on 216 artworks (film and painting as well as texts), authors, movements, and cultural artifacts that help answer the question, "What is America?" Emerson, Melville, Dickinson, and Faulkner are in there, to be sure, but so are the Winchester rifle, "Steamboat Willie," Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven," Alcoholics Anonymous, and Linda Lovelace (the star of the pornographic film "Deep Throat," who later said she'd been raped during its filming)...It will be a welcome change if a "literary history," for once, stirs up a little dust. -- Christopher Shea Boston Globe Brainiac blog 20090826 [An] essential, eclectic doorstop anthology. New York Magazine 20090913 The full national-literary character of the United States is on display in this mighty history and reference work for our time. Written by a distinguished team, under the sure-handed editorship of musicologist and historian Marcus and Sollors...this volume begins with America's first appearance on a map and concludes with the election of President Obama. Among the more than 200 contributors are Bharati Mukherjee (on The Scarlet Letter), Camille Paglia (on Tennessee Williams) and Ishmael Reed (on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)...This is an astounding achievement in multiculturalism and American studies, which in the age of Google and the Internet lights the way toward serious interpretive reference publishing. (Starred Review) Publishers Weekly Of course it's hefty; it's a "broadly cultural history" of America with a literary bent, an avid and provocative collaboration that tracks the American story not only through works of American literature, classic and forgotten, but also via music, art, pop culture, speeches, letters, religious tracts, photographs, and Supreme Court decisions. Versatile social critic and historian Marcus, Harvard University professor of English and African American studies Sollors, and their illustrious board of editors assembled more than 200 commissioned essays, which meander chronologically from 1507 and the first appearance on a map of the name "America" to Barack Obama's election. In between is a dazzling array of inquiries into Gone with the Wind and Invisible Man, The Wizard of Oz and the blues, hard-boiled detective stories and Mickey Mouse, "Howl" and Miles Davis, nature writing and Zora Neale Hurston. With such contributors as Elizabeth Alexander, Mary Gaitskill, Bharati Mukherjee, Richard Powers, Ishmael Reed, David Thomson, David Treuer, and John Edgar Wideman, this is an adventurous, jazzily choral, and kaleidoscopic book of interpretations, illuminations, and revitalized history. -- Donna Seaman Booklist 20090901 Marcus and Sollors trace through literature the dynamism of American society and culture spanning 500 years, from the first time the name America appears on a map (1507) to the election of Barack Obama as president...No single volume can fully capture the range of a nation's literary history, but this book succeeds in highlighting new ideas and providing a starting point for further investigation. Above all, it is a pleasure to read. -- Mark Alan Williams Library Journal 20090815 Reading this gorgeous compendium on the written word in America should be required for gaining or maintaining U.S. citizenship. And even at more than 1,000 pages, it's a fun way to learn what we're all about...The list of contributors is a rich, varied array of our best contemporary writers and cultural mavens...The editors were aiming for "a reexamination of the American experience as seen through a literary glass." Marcus and Sollors have succeeded: This book is a literary history in every sense of the phrase. -- Ron Antonucci Cleveland Plain Dealer 20090928 Hundreds of essayists write short, but think expansively on just about everything that makes us who we are--from Elvis to Obama. Entertainment Weekly 20091009 It's natural to have high expectations of a book with the lofty title A New Literary History of America. What isn't natural is for the book to not just live up to, but far exceed those expectations...Edgar Allen Poe's invention of the detective story hobnobs with the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Hank Williams' country music is only a few pages from Zora Neale Hurston. It's as glorious a melting pot as America itself...If you've found yourself envying Britain her Shakespeare, Dickens, and Austen, this book will bring you back to America and make you fall in love with her confidence, her innovation, her sheer pluck, all over again... A treasure for American history AND literature lovers. -- Michelle Kerns Boston Examiner 20090925 You could get a hernia lifting A New Literary History of America, a 1,095-page tome edited by Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors. But you could also get a thorough, original, and occasionally startling education. Some 200 essays on our literary past by writers as disparate as critic/provocateur Camille Paglia (on the sexually electric Broadway opening of A Streetcar Named Desire) and sportswriter Michael MacCambridge (on football fiction) make for a book as richly varied as the nation itself. Fortune 20091012 The book is not your usual bookish chronicle made up of fearless men churning out classics for the edification of the nation...[It's an] eclectic, opinionated vision of the story of American letters. -- Bill Marx Arts Fuse 20091007 A wildly informative, hugely entertaining and sometimes even revelatory book. -- Jeff Simon Buffalo News 20090927 Tailor-made for fruitful and fun browsing...This is a reference book for anyone with a curiosity about the sweep and scope of not just American literature but the culture itself in art, film, sermon and song. -- Robert Pincus San Diego Union-Tribune 20090927 The feel of the whole is epic...By the time I had made my way through about a third of this book I began to feel an emotion that comes but rarely to a reviewer: pride. Not pride in America's politics or policies necessarily, but pride in our speech...In my opinion perhaps the single most impressive achievement in the book is the editors' and writers' ability to pinpoint linkages between one kind of fact and another...All the major writers, whether in poetry or prose, draw thoughtful essays. -- Larry McMurtry New York Review of Books 20091105 The editors of this rich exercise in cultural history have taken up Pound's challenge [to "make it new"], producing an eloquent patchwork volume that gathers up more than 200 essays, chronologically arranged by subject, into a beguiling symphony that expresses the bewildering, often intimidating varieties of what we presume to call the American experience...This splendiferous tribute to the best that so many of us have thought and said and made embraces classic and watershed literary works and their authors, political acts and events and issues, statements of purpose and conscience, achievements in both the fine arts (music, painting, sculpture, et al) and the raucous venues of popular culture (yes, Virginia, we do get a crash course in the autobiographical writings of 1970s porn queen Linda Lovelace), and major figures ranging from the makers of the Constitution of the United States to contemporary film and television personalities and the giants and giantesses of pop, jazz and rock music...Defiantly unconventional...Surely one of the best books published in this country in a very long time. -- Bruce Allen Washington Times 20091018 The mammoth New Literary History of America [is] an extraordinary anthology of literary culture brought to you by a seat-of-the-pants polyglot of a country. -- Chris Vognar Dallas Morning News 20091115 This new-breed reference book--featuring freshly penned and eccentrically focused essays by a heterogeneous who's who of academics, journalists and authors--ventures to remap the expanse of American history through five centuries of literary and cultural landmarks...Although it shares with its history-book forebears unimpeachable intellect and seriousness of intent, this is not the Oxford Companion to American Literature. For one thing, it's a lot more fun. -- John McAlley npr.org 20091124 This hefty yet invigorating anthology of 225 new essays about American culture and history is perfect for the hard-to-please smarty-pants. Time Out New York 20091118 A New Literary History of America is about what's Made in America, and America, made. It's about what the writers who are its subjects have made of America, and, equally, what the contributors, writing about these writers, make of America, too. There's a certain amount of trading on literary celebrity, to be sure. But the claims on our attention, and it is a serious claim, lies within the republic of these writers' imaginations. -- Jill Lepore Times Literary Supplement 20091127 In the monumental, absorbing A New Literary History of America, editors Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors have assembled a fascinating collection of writings on a range of subject matters: everything from maps, diaries and Supreme Court decisions to religious tracts, public debates, comic strips and rock and roll...In 1,000-odd pages, Marcus and Sollors have compiled a remarkable history of America. Their expanded definition of literary encompasses "not only what is written but also what is voiced, what is expressed, what is invented, in whatever form." Most of all, A New Literary History of America is a reminder of just how vibrant and diverse United States history--and culture--really is. -- Lacey Galbraith BookPage 20091203 This brick of a book is a browser's delight. Ranging over many high points and exploring interesting crannies of the American experience from 1507 to 2008, A New Literary History offers those interested in culture, history, and politics much to savor and more than a little with which to match wits. Among those entries bringing fresh insight to seemingly exhausted subjects are Ted Widmer on Roger Williams and Abraham Lincoln, Greil Marcus on Moby-Dick, Anita Patterson on T.S. Eliot and D.H. Lawrence, Camille Paglia on Tennessee Williams, and Charles Taylor juxtaposing with great verve JFK's inaugural with Catch-22. There are virtuoso explanations: Anthony Grafton on Edmund Wilson's The American Earthquake, Dave Hickey on Hank Williams's transformation of the American song in country music, and Monica Miller on the transcendental meaning of Zora Neale Thurston's denunciation of Brown v. The Board of Education. Mary Gaitskill on Norman Mailer is a stylistic tour de force...This ambitious anthology succeeds beyond reasonable expectations in satisfying what Lionel Trilling...said was "the moral obligation to be intelligent." -- Peter Kadzis Boston Phoenix 20091208 [The editors] tell an equally fascinating and moving history of the country, as we have never heard it before--and a story like which, say the editors, would not be possible in any other country...Instead of blending into the background of different shades of gray of a historical order, each of the events here radiates with seemingly contemporary luminosity. -- Jorg Hantzschel Suddeutsche Zeitung A DIY college course unto itself. -- Anneli Rufus East Bay Express 20091125 An impressive achievement. -- Jim Kiest San Antonio Express-News 20091213 [An] original new history of literature...A New Literary History of America recounts the history of the mind of a continent, and each single subject is approached with stylistic verve and thus knighted as literature by its authors, many of whom are themselves writers...Even though an idiosyncratic sprint across half a millennium of cultural history cannot avoid certain abbreviations, this amusing-to-read anthology teaches us that what appears to get more and more lost in this age of Wikipedia: well-researched, reflective, subjective and stylistically brilliant approaches that transform facts and figures into knowledge that can be passed on. -- Andrea Kohler Neue Zurcher Zeitung 20091110 This may be called a literary history but it is more broadly a cultural history, a history of language in its many forms--novels, essays, plays, public speeches and private letters, sermons and on and on...The choices made by the editors are smart, and the writers of the essays engage ideas with great passion. -- Elizabeth Taylor Chicago Tribune 20091222 [This] may be the most unique attempt yet to tell the story of the United States...It's a feast for anyone who cares about history and national identity, not to mention a showcase for virtuoso writing. avclub.com 20091130 Brings together a series of disconnected, personal (and often very opinionated) essays that not only offer new angles on the big names of U.S. literature but also consider Alcoholics Anonymous, the Book-of-the-Month Club, Citizen Kane, Dr. Seuss, skyscrapers, and Superman. -- Matthew Reisz Times Higher Education 20091231 It's hard to imagine anyone right up to full professor failing to get excitement from this charged grid of event and interpretation...Hats off, though, to the editors above all, for constructing a volume where each element reinforces every other, often by contradicting it, so that the whole vast book is more exciting than even its most impressive part. -- Adam Mars-Jones The Observer 20100131 Who would want to go into this particular new year, with all its uncertainties, without a copy of A New Literary History of America? Many hands delight and inform, and "literary history" is time stuffed full of "cultural creations" like this perfect bedside book. The selections are short, written with both precision and passion, and not infrequently deliver insights. -- Tom D'Evelyn Providence Journal 20091220 One way to reinvigorate our opinions about the nation's literary life is to encounter new ways to think about it. A New Literary History of America edited by Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors does just that with a wide-ranging collection of essays. -- Bob Hoover Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 20091228 It's weirdly inclusive (Is the Winchester Rifle really part of literary history?), but the big book has so many lively entries, on everything from hard-boiled fiction to New Journalism, that you can overlook its faults and enjoy its sweep. -- Robert L. Pincus San Diego Union-Tribune 20091227 Never fails to engross and edify. -- Rodney Clapp Christian Century 20100112 A New Literary History of America...avoids the temptation to rein in its subject too neatly or ease the strangeness out of American history. Not only does it stretch, appropriately, to America's earliest pre-history--the first essay, by Toby Lester, examines the first appearance of "America" on a map--this enormous anthology stretches the definition of literary...A New Literary History of America challenges not only its own structure, but also our traditional view of history's structure in order to emphasize the transmission, conscious or collectively unconscious, of ideas...But the pleasure of the volume, of course, is the massive collection of voices it brings together, subjects and authors both. -- Robert Loss popmatters.com 20100203 A collection of great minds writing on other great minds, art and literature, social movements, feats of scholarship and everything in between. San Francisco Chronicle 20100314 This book came out only last year and has already proved itself indispensable. If I'm writing about anything that has to do with American literature, I look it up here first. The format is a little unwieldy--the book is organized chronologically around idiosyncratically chosen dates--but its capsule essays build into a surprising, inventive narrative of American culture: Ishamel Reed on "Mark Twain's hairball", Luc Sante on the blues, David Thomson on Chaplin, Ruth Wisse on Saul Bellow, Gish Jen on Catcher in the Rye, Mary Gaitskill on Norman Mailer...I could quibble with the omissions, or I could just shut up and be grateful that this book exists in any form. -- Ruth Franklin National Book Critics Circle Board of Directors blog 20101126 In the monumental, absorbing A New Literary History of America, editors Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors have assembled a fascinating collection of writings on a range of subject matters: everything from maps, diaries and Supreme Court decisions to religious tracts, public debates, comic strips and rock and roll...In 1,000-odd pages, Marcus and Sollors have compiled a remarkable history of America...Most of all, A New Literary History of America is a reminder of just how vibrant and diverse United States history--and culture--really is. -- Lacey Galbraith Book Page 20110401
Greil Marcus is the author of The Doors, Mystery Train, and other books. Werner Sollors is Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Professor of English Literature and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.
Timeline Introduction Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors 1507 The name "America" appears on a map Toby Lester 1521, August 13 Mexico in America Kirsten Silva Gruesz 1536, July 24 Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca Ilan Stavans 1585 "Counterfeited according to the truth" Michael Gaudio 1607 Fear and love in the Virginia colony Adam Goodheart 1630 A city upon a hill Elizabeth Winthrop 1643 A nearer neighbor to the Indians Ted Widmer 1666, July 10 Anne Bradstreet Wai Chee Dimock 1670 The American jeremiad Emory Elliott 1670 The stamp of God's image Jason D. LaFountain 1673 The Jesuit relations Laurent Dubois 1683 Francis Daniel Pastorius Alfred L. Brophy 1692 The Salem witchcraft trials Susan Castillo 1693--94, March 4 Edward Taylor Werner Sollors 1700 Samuel Sewall, The Selling of Joseph David Blight 1722 Benjamin Franklin, The Silence Dogood Letters Joyce E. Chaplin 1740 The Great Awakening Joanne van der Woude 1740s, September 13-14 1814, Yankee Doodle goes to town; Francis Scott Key writes The Star-Spangled Banner 1765, December 23 Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur Leo Damrosch 1773, September Phillis Wheatley Rafia Zafar 1776 The Declaration of Independence Frank Kelleter 1784, June Charles Willson Peale Michael Leja 1787 James Madison, Notes of the Debates in the Federal Convention Mitchell Meltzer 1787--1790 John Adams, Discourses on Davila John Diggins 1791 Philip Freneau and The National Gazette Jefrey L. Pasley 1796 Washington's farewell address Francois Furstenberg 1798 Mary Rowlandson and the Alien and Sedition Acts Nancy Armstrong 1798 American gothic Marc Amfreville 1801, March 4 Jefferson's first inaugural address Jan Ellen Lewis 1804, January The matter of Haiti Kaiama Glover 1809 Cupola of the world Judith Richardson 1819 The Missouri crisis John Stauffer 1820, November 27 Landscape with birds Christoph Irmscher 1821 Sequoyah, the Cherokee syllabary Lisa Brooks 1821, June 30 Junius Brutus Booth Coppelia Kahn 1822 Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, the Ojibwe firefly, and Longfellow's Hiawatha David Treuer 1825, November Thomas Cole and the Hudson River Alan Wallach 1826, July 4 Songs of the republic Steve Erickson 1826 Cooper's Leatherstocking tales Richard Hutson 1826; 1927 Transnational poetry Stephen Burt 1827 Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon Terryl L. Givens 1828 David Walker, Appeal, in Four Articles Tommie Shelby 1830, May 21 Jump Jim Crow W. T. Lhamon, Jr. 1831, March 5 The Cherokee Nation decision Philip Deloria 1832, July 10 President Jackson's bank veto Dan Feller 1835, January Democracy in America Ted Widmer 1835 William Gilmore Simms, The Yemasseee Jefrey Johnson 1835 The Sacred Harp Sean Wilentz 1836, February 23--March 6 The Alamo and Texas border writing Norma E. Cantu 1836, February 28 Richard Henry Dana, Jr. Kirsten Silva Gruesz 1837, August 31 Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The American Scholar" James Conant 1838, July 15 "The Divinity School Address" Herwig Friedl 1838, September 3 The slave narrative Caille Millner 1841 "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" Robert Clark 1846, June James Russell Lowell's Biglow Papers Shelley Streeby 1846, late July Henry David Thoreau Jonathan Arac 1850 The Scarlet Letter Bharati Mukherje 1850, July 19 Margaret Fuller and the Transcendentalist Movement Lawrence Buell 1850, August 5 Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville Clark Blaise 1851, Moby-Dick 1851 Uncle Tom's Cabin Beverly Lowry 1852 Hawthorne's Blithedale Romance and utopian communities Winfried Fluck 1852, July 5 Frederick Douglass, "What to the slave is the Fourth of July?" Liam Kennedy 1854, March Maria Cummins and sentimental fiction Cindy Weinstein 1855 Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass Angus Fletcher 1858 The Lincoln-Douglas debates Michael T. Gilmore 1859 The science of the Indian Scott Richard Lyons 1861 Emily Dickinson Susan Stewart 1862, December 13 The journeys of Little Women Shirley Samuels 1865, March 4 Lincoln's second inaugural address Ted Widmer 1865 "Conditions of repose" Robin Kelsey 1869, March 4 Carl Schurz Michael Boyden 1872, November 5 All men and women are created equal Laura Wexler 1875 The Winchester Rifle Merritt Roe Smith 1876, January 6 Melville in the dark Kenneth W. Warren 1876, March 10 The art of telephony Avital Ronell 1878 "How to Make Our Ideas Clear" Christopher Hookway 1879 John Muir and nature writing Scott Slovic 1881, January 24 Henry James, Portrait of a Lady Alide Cagidemetrio 1884 Mark Twain's hairball Ishmael Red 1884, July The Linotype machine Lisa Gitelman 1884, November The Southwest imagined Leah Dilworth 1885 The problem of error James Conant 1885, July Limits to violence James Dawes 1885, October Writing New Orleans Andrei Codrescu 1888, The introduction of motion pictures 1889, August 28 A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court Yael Schacher 1893 Chief Simon Pokagon and Native American literature David Treuer 1895 Ida B. Wells, A Red Record Jacqueline Goldsby 1896 Paul Laurence Dunbar, Lyrics of Lowly Life Judith Jackson Fossett 1896, September 6 Queen Lili'uokalani Rob Wilson 1897, Memorial Day The Robert Gould Shaw and 54th Regiment Monument Richard Powers 1898, June 22 Literature and imperialism Amy Kaplan 1899; 1924 McTeague and Greed Gilberto Perez 1900 Henry Adams T. J. Jackson Lears 1900 The Wizard of Oz Gerald Early 1900; 1905 Sister Carrie and The House of Mirth Farah Jasmine Grifin 1901 Charles W. Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition John Edgar Wideman 1901-1903, The problem of the color line 1903, May 5 "The real American has not yet arrived" Aviva Taubenfeld 1903 The invention of the blues Luc Sante 1903 One sees what one sees Daniel Albright 1904, August 30 Henry James in America Ross Posnock 1905, October 15 Little Nemo in Slumberland Katherine Roeder 1906, April 9 The Azusa Street revival R. J. Smith 1906, April 18 , 5:14 a.m. The San Francisco Earthquake Kathleen Moran 1911 "Alexander's Ragtime Band" Philip Furia 1912, April 15 Lifeboats cut adrift Alan Ackerman 1912 The lure of impossible things Heather Love 1912 Tarzan begins his reign Gerald Early 1913 A modernist moment Bonnie Costello 1915 D. W. Griffith, The Birth of a Nation Richard Schickel 1915 Robert Frost Christian Wiman 1917 The philosopher and the millionaire Richard J. Bernstein 1920, August 10 Mamie Smith's "Crazy Blues" Daphne A. Brooks 1921 Jean Toomer Elizabeth Alexander 1922 T. S. Eliot and D. H. Lawrence Anita Patterson October 1923, Chaplinesque 1924 F. O. Matthiessen meets Russell Cheney Robert Polito 1924, May 26 The Johnson-Reed Act and ethnic literature Yael Schacher 1925 The Great Gatsby Lan Tran 1925, June Sinclair Lewis Jefrey Ferguson 1925, July The Scopes trial Michael Kazin 1925, August 16 Dorothy Parker Catherine Keyser 1926 Fire!! Carla Kaplan 1926 Hardboiled Walter Mosley 1926 The Book-of-the-Month Club Joan Shelley Rubin 1927 Carl Sandburg and The American Songbag Paul Muldoon 1927, May 16 "Free to develop their faculties" Jefrey Rosen 1928, April 8, Easter Sunday Dilsey Gibson goes to church Werner Sollors 1928, Summer John Dos Passos Phoebe Kosman 1928, November 18 The mouse that whistled Karal Ann Marling 1930 "You're swell!" Robert Gottlieb 1930, March The Silent Enemy Micah Treuer October 1930, Grant Wood's American Gothic" 1931, March 19 Nevada legalizes gambling David Thomson 1932 Edmund Wilson, The American Jitters Anthony Grafton 1932 Arthur Miller Andrea Most 1932, April or May The River Rouge plant and industrial beauty John M. Staudenmaier, S.J. 1932, Christmas Ned Cobb Robert Cantwell 1933 Baby Face is censored Stephanie Zacharek 1933, March FDR's first Fireside Chat Paula Rabinowitz 1934, September Robert Penn Warren Howell Raines 1935 The Popular Front Angela Miller 1935 The skyscraper Sarah Whiting 1935, June 10 Alcoholics Anonymous Michael Tolkin 1935, October 10 Porgy and Bess John Rockwell 1936, Gone with the Wind and Absalom, Absalom! 1936, July 5 Two days in Harlem Adam Bradley 1936, November 23 Life begins Michael Lesy 1938 Superman Douglas Wolk 1938, May Jelly Roll Morton speaks Marybeth Hamilton 1939 Billie Holiday, "Strange Fruit" Robert O'Meally 1939; 1981 Up from invisibility Josef Jarab 1940 "No way like the American way" Erika Doss 1940--1944 Preston Sturges Douglas McGrath 1941 An insolent style Carrie Tirado Bramen 1941 Citizen Kane Joseph McBride 1941 The word "multicultural" Werner Sollors 1943 Hemingway's paradise, Hemingway's prose Keith Taylor 1944 The second Bill of Rights Cass R. Sunstein 1945, February Bebop Ingrid Monson 1945, April 11 Thomas Pynchon and modern war Glenda Carpio 1945, August 6, 10:45 a.m. The atom bomb Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi 1946, December 5 Integrating the military Gerald Early December 3 1947, Tennessee Williams 1948 Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics David A. Mindell 1948 Saul Bellow Ruth Wise 1949--1950 "Birth of the Cool" Ted Gioia 1950, November 28 "Damned busy painting" T. J. Clark 1951 A poet among painters Mark Ford 1951, The Catcher in the Rye 1951 James Jones, From Here to Eternity Lindsay Waters 1951 A soft voice M. Lynn Weis 1952, April 12 Elia Kazan and the blacklist in Hollywood Michael Ventura 1952, June 10 C. L. R. James Donald E. Pease 1953, January 1 The song in country music Dave Hickey 1954 Wallace Stevens, Collected Poems Helen Vendler 1955, August 11 "The self-respect of my people" Monica Miller 1955, September 21 A. J. Liebling and the Marciano-Moore fight Carlo Rotella 1955, October 7 A generation in miniature Richard Candida Smith 1955, December Nabokov's Lolita Stephen Schif 1956, April 16 "Roll Over Beethoven" James Miller 1957 Dr. Seuss Philip Nel 1959 "Nobody's perfect" William J. Mann 1960 Psycho William Beard 1960, January More than a game Michael MacCambridge 1961, January 20 JFK's inaugural address and Catch-22 Charles Taylor 1961, July 2 The author as advertisement David Thomson 1962 Bob Dylan writes "Song to Woody" Joshua Clover 1962 "White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art" Howard Hampton 1963, April "Letter from Birmingham Jail" George Hutchinson 1964 Robert Lowell, "For the Union Dead" Peter Sacks October 27 1964, The last stand on Earth 1965, September 11 The Council on Interracial Books for Children Dianne Johnson 1965, October The Autobiography of Malcolm X David Bradley 1968 Norman Mailer Mary Gaitskill 1968, March The illusory babels of language Hal Foster 1968, August 28 The plight of conservative literature Michael Kimage 1969 Elizabeth Bishop, Complete Poems Laura Quinney 1969, January 11 The first Asian Americans Hua Hsu 1969, November 12 The eye of Vietnam Thi Phuong-Lan Bui 1970 Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker Cheryl A. Wall 1970, 1972, Linda Lovelace" 1972 Loisaida literature Frances R. Aparicio 1973 Adrienne Rich, Diving into the Wreck Maureen N. McLane 1975 Gayl Jones Robert O'Meally 1981, March 31 Toni Morrison Farah Jasmine Grifin 1982 Edmund White, A Boy's Own Story Sarah Shun-lien Bynum 1982 Wild Style Hua Hsu 1982 Maya Lin's wall Anne Wagner 1982, November 8 Harriet Wilson Saidiya V. Hartman 1985, April 24 Henry Roth Mario Materassi 1987 Maxine Hong Kingston, Tripmaster Monkey Seo-Young Chu 1995 Philip Roth Hana Wirth-Nesher 2001 Twenty-first-century free verse Stephen Burt 2003 Richard Powers, The Time of Our Singing Greil Marcus 2005, August 29, Hurricane Katrina 2008, November 4 Barack Obama Kara Walker