Out of many, one — e pluribus unum — is the motto of the American nation, and it sums up neatly the paradox that Stephanie Foote so deftly identifies in Regional Fictions. Regionalism, the genre that ostensibly challenges or offers an alternative to nationalism, in fact characterizes and perhaps even defines the American sense of nationhood.In particular, Foote argues that the colorful local characters, dialects, and accents that marked regionalist novels and short stories of the late nineteenth century were key to the genre’s conversion of seemingly dangerous political differences — such as those posed by disaffected midwestern farmers or recalcitrant foreign nationals — into appealing cultural differences. She asserts that many of the most treasured beliefs about the value of local identities still held in the United States today are traceable to the discourses of this regional fiction, and she illustrates her contentions with insightful examinations of the work of Sarah Orne Jewett, Hamlin Garland, Gertrude Atherton, Geroge Washington Cable, Jacob Riis, and others. Broadening the definitions of regional writing and its imaginative territory, Regional Fictions moves beyond literary criticism to comment on the ideology of national, local, ethnic, and racial identity.
This leading, two-volume anthology represents America’s literary heritage from the colonial times of William Bradford and Anne Bradstreet to the contemporary era of Saul Bellow and Alice Walker. Volume II begins with Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson and moves through Toni Morrison. It reflects a continued emphasis on cultural plurality, and multiple selections by authors that enables readers to compare and contrast different works. Numerous editions in their entirety include Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage; William’s The Glass Menagerie; Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun; and Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Also featured are shorter works—such as “How to Tell a Story,” by Mark Twain; Poems by Rita Dove; short stories by Sandra Cisneros, Louise Erdrich, and Toni Morrison. For modern scholars of America’s literary history, and readers who simply love to read—especially the classics.