American Fictions 1940-1980: A Comprehensive History and

American Fictions 1940-1980: A Comprehensive History and

5 thoughts on “American Fictions 1940-1980: A Comprehensive History and Critical Evaluation

  1. Nathan "N.R." Gaddis Nathan "N.R." Gaddis says:

    I’ve very much been enjoying my recent ReviewingSlump But I wanna duck in here and drop a few uick thoughtsKarl’s title is adeuate descriptor American sic USAian Fiction mostly novels ; several short storyings 1940 1980 a very productive era ; according to Karl’s thesis the era when Modernism finally arrived in the USofA with the prior generation bragging only of Faulkner and Dos Passos Comprehensive this guy has read everything if ‘everything’ is understood as than you can imagine a single person having read aside maybe from Bloom History this is a story of the stories ; why a metafiction reader like me likes to read the histories and the criticisms of what I most like to read Critical Evaluation nothing gets a free pass all has its flaws ; the downside of which is that it is much easier to focus on those short comings than to sense how great a given work really is easy to dis on Pynchon for the juvenile materials he insists on including etc etc So yeah that last part about the critical evaluation is pretty thorough ; there is not much Karl says that gets one’s juices really ramped up and leading one to add to that mustread shelf But if you look you’ll find themKarl is on the right side of the windowpane He wants to see the window glass Pynchon Gaddis McElroy Barth esp LETTERS etc and not just what’s in the garden Bellow Updike Roth Mailer la la la la But he writes about both streams the popular ones and the ones interested in what a novel can do So you see why I find him so sympatheticDespite his omnivorous reading and he is a great simply phenomenal reader ; reading another greatreader is reason enough to read this volume also you’ll just want to have it on hand as a reference some writers get left out No Marguerite Young No D Keith Mano Gore Vidal gets only two footnote’d discussions and maybe here’s why view spoiler”The wittiest critic is Gore Vidal who refers to such fiction as ‘American Plastic’ including Barth Barthelme Gass Pynchon all of whom he considers to be deep ‘into R and D Research and Development as opposed to the old fashioned R and R Rest and Recuperation’ Vidal’s instincts may all be to the good but he is so intent on eliminating the kind of fiction which threatens his own that he condemns before understanding His essay on Italo Calvino shows how he can enter into a great talent alien to his own; so that his assaults on the modern and new would seem to be focused mainly on American models plus ça change 363n hide spoiler

  2. Jonathan Jonathan says:

    It may be that the book he is most keen on here is Gaddis' The Recognitions which he also introduces for the Penguin edition And he is positive on McElroy eg Lookout Cartridgeposits that the works of John Barth Thomas Pynchon John Hawkes and other ‘experimental’ writers constitute our authentic ‘literature’A book like John Barth’s Letters ‘does what literature is supposed to do which is to probe new modes of perception

  3. Shashank Singh Shashank Singh says:

    I disagree with over half of the assessments Frederick Karl makes on authors and novels I disagree with his main thesis I think history since its publication does not support his thesis and he subseuently minimized it in the seuel to this book Still I loved reading this book Why? Because Frederick Karl clearly loves American literature has read a lot thought about it a lot is intelligent tries to be a sympathetic reader to diverse authors and has come to learned opinions and conclusions which he has clearly expressed here Clarity Passion Loveappreciation and intelligence are admirable ualities He spends most of his time 80% delving into what about certain works are great and worthy of all our attention He is clear about when works fail and why but he doesn’t give those the same attention For example his view of Updike is mixed but he spends the most time looking into the rabbit books and short stories 70% which he considers an artistic success and then makes clear why most of the other work doesn’t rise to the same level What’s not to likewell a lot of the actual positions taken lol So it goes He values a lot of the experimental works that are often referred to as postmodern literature which he sees as a further expansion of modernism and the possibilities of the novel in the works of Pynchon Gaddis Barth William Burroughs and Joseph McElroy I enjoy these authors but I don’t find convincing the thesis that these authors are the most interesting or central to the development of the American tradition over the 40 year period covered in this book I think Pynchon and Burroughs probably had the most lasting influence but even here it was marginal then Frederick Karl thinks Luckily he also covers a wide range of other writers including many realists some obscure authors and many mainstream writers like Toni Morrison James Baldwin Philip Roth Bellow and many Occasionally he’ll champion an author I feel is neglected like Joyce Carol Oates which brings joy to my heart but as often his readings can be narrow and casually dismissive given his overvaluation of experimental fiction imo It's rare I find an author I can often disagree with on a topic I care about and still really enjoy and learn from them This is one of those rare authors and this book is a great example of such a book confounding passionate maddening and substantial

  4. Tobias Tobias says:

    I don't feel ualified to speak for this entire volume for it is a volume but I have read several hundreds of double columned pages examining just about everything though mostly novels published in America from 1940 to 1980 I am not even kidding if it was published in those 40 years Karl has read it and written about it The essays on Gaddis Pynchon Barth and Barthelme are masterpieces in their own right Written in clear lucid and engaging prose he is simply an extraordinarily skilled reader and I'll return to this and to the companion volume examining the years 1980 2000 for years to come

  5. Tony Perry Tony Perry says:

    I've been using this book as a guide for the last 25 years A literary mentor of sorts indispensable

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American Fictions 1940-1980: A Comprehensive History and Critical Evaluation ✶ [BOOKS] ✪ American Fictions 1940-1980: A Comprehensive History and Critical Evaluation By Frederick R. Karl ❀ – Amazing Kindle, American Fictions 1940 1980: A Comprehensive History and Critical Evaluation Author Frederick R. Karl This is the best favorite book isbn 9780060149390 format Hardcover and others 637 Amazing Kindle, American Fictions : 1940-1980: A eBook ✓ A Comprehensive History and Critical Evaluation Author Frederick R Karl This is the best favorite book isbn format Hardcover and others pages and has a text language like English.

  • Hardcover
  • 637 pages
  • American Fictions 1940-1980: A Comprehensive History and Critical Evaluation
  • Frederick R. Karl
  • English
  • 27 August 2015
  • 9780060149390

About the Author: Frederick R. Karl

Along with his biographies Frederick 1940-1980: A eBook ✓ Karl wrote several volumes of literary criticism among them American Fictions He also was general editor and volume co editor of the Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad five volumes of which have appeared He taught at City College of New York Columbia and NYU American Fictions MOBI :å Karl died in .