Studies in American Fiction

This journal provides articles, notes and reviews on prose fiction of the United States since the colonial period.

Articles from Vol. 21, No. 2, Autumn

Gatsby as Gangster
In an article entitled "The Passing of the Gangster," published in the March 1925 issue of American Mercury, Herbert Asbury confidently offered the remarkable assertion: "there are now no more gangs in New York and no gangsters in the sense that the...
Melodramatist of the Middle Border: Hamlin Garland's Early Work Reconsidered
In 1909, after two decades that saw the publication of over twenty-four books and seventy-eight short stories, Hamlin Garland announced to a surprised reporter for the New York Times, "I have decided to write nothing but plays--for some time to come,...
On the Side of the Mother: 'Yonnondio' and 'Call It Sleep.'
Culture has taught us to consume the mother's body--natural and spiritual--without being indebted. --Luce Irigiray The relation between the mother's body and language, between maternity and theory, has been a vexing subject for feminist readers....
"Our Transatlantic Cousins": The Battle over American Analytic Novels in the 'Athenaeum.'
In 1887 a reviewer in the London Athenaeum(1) noted with disapproval that the anonymous English author of Miss Bayle's Romance had "studied our Transatlantic cousins carefully."(2) This comment, which simultaneously acknowledged the popularity of American...
Professional Ethics and Professional Erotics in Elizabeth Stuart Phelps' 'Doctor Zay.'
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1844-1911) was best known in her lifetime for Christian Utopian novels: The Gates Ajar (1868), Beyond the Gates (1883), and The Gates Between (1887). She is best known today for her secular masterpiece, The Story of Avis (1877),...
Rhapsodist in the Wilderness: Brown's Romantic Quest in 'Edgar Huntly.' (Charles Brockden Brown)
More than a century before Charles Brockden Brown conceived a novel based on "incidents of Indian hostility, and the perils of the western wilderness,"(1) Mary Rowlandson had survived her three month captivity with "savages" warring against settlers...
The Psychology of Desire: Veblen's "Pecuniary Emulation" and "Invidious Comparison" in 'Sister Carrie' and 'An American Tragedy.' (Thorstein Veblen)
Without contrast there is no life. --Theodore Dreiser, A Hoosier Holiday The relations between commodities and characters depicted in Dreiser's novels have long intrigued readers. Most critics find the characters fragile selves which they long...
'What Maisie Knew' and the Improper Third Person
James' preface to What Maisie Knew is oddly defensive in tone. James is clearly uneasy about the novel's subject, the dilemma of a young girl surrounded by the adulterous intrigues of her parents and step-parents, and he devotes some attention to anticipating...