What America Read: Taste, Class, and the Novel, 1920-1960

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook


Despite the vigorous study of modern American fiction, today's readers are only familiar with a partial shelf of a vast library. This book describes the distorted, canonized history of the twentieth-century American novel as a record of modern classics insufficiently appreciated in their day but recuperated by scholars in order to shape the grand tradition of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner. It argues that in presenting literary history this way, scholars have forgotten a rich treasury of realist novels that recount the story of the American middle-class's confrontation with modernity. Reading these novels now offers an extraordinary opportunity to witness debates about what kind of nation America would become and what place its newly dominant middle class would have—and, the book suggests, should also lead us to wonder how our own contemporary novels will be remembered.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationChapel Hill
PublisherUniversity of North Carolina Press
Number of pages464
ISBN (Electronic)9780807887752
ISBN (Print)9780807832271
StatePublished - 2009


  • American fiction
  • American novel
  • realist novels
  • middle class
  • contemporary novels
  • Hemingway
  • Fitzgerald
  • Faulkner


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