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Selected American Literature

The purpose of this research is to examine the structure of a three-part anthology of selected American literature. The plan of the research will be to set forth the pattern of ideas driving the presentation of the volume as a whole and then to discuss what appears to be the basis for including the works that appear in each of the three parts of the anthology, divided, respectively, according to works of the late nineteenth, early twentieth, and middle to late twentieth-centuries.

To call Elliott, Kerber, Litz, and Martin's editorial project in American Literature massive is hardly an overstatement, for at 2,429 pages of poetry, narrative, and drama, the book, which is itself a second volume of a two-volume work, is an imposing collection of material by a range of writers both familiar and unexpected, compared to similar anthologies. Indeed, the editors make clear that an important objective of the collection is to make certain that American writing long acknowledged for its excellence remain strongly represented. As well, however, the editors are engaged in a project of what popular culture refers to as diversity or multiculturalism, through inclusion of material by writers not usually represented in general anthologies. As Elliott puts it: "newly valued texts . . . had been misunderstood, overlooked, or consciously rejected by the professors who were in positions to make such decisions, most of whom were themselves male and primarily interested in the English heritage of American literature" (Elliott xxviii). The fact that more woman and ethnic minority writers are represented in the book than is customary in similar books explains its large number of pages. Additionally, as Elliott cites "the difficult decision to exclude some texts by established authors that are not frequently taught" (xviii).

The fact that the project of cultural diversity is politically charged in the modern period appears to be connected to the fact that ...

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Selected American Literature. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 21:51, May 27, 2020, from