Eight American Authors: A Review of Research and Criticism

Eight American Authors: A Review of Research and Criticism

Eight American Authors: A Review of Research and Criticism

Eight American Authors: A Review of Research and Criticism

Excerpt

The plan for this volume was suggested by The English Romantic Poets: A Review of Research, edited byThomas M. Raysor , and published by the Modern Language Association in 1950. In the summer of 1951, Randall Stewart, then Chairman of the American Literature Group, after consulting with the late Stanley T. Williams, presented the plan to the Advisory Council, which approved it as an undertaking of the Group. After many vicissitudes and delays the project has been brought to a conclusion in approximately the form in which it was first conceived: not a detailed bibliography, but a series of bibliographical essays.

The book is addressed primarily to students of graduate and advanced undergraduate courses in American literature, but it should prove useful to others, including more advanced scholars. The essays are not designed to take the place of more formal bibliographies; hence only selected titles are mentioned, and only essential bibliographical facts are given. To conserve space, titles that occur frequently are abbreviated, and masculine Christian names, except those of persons who have only one, are reduced to initials.

The first question which the eight contributors had to answer was, What authors are to be included? That did not prove difficult. Professor Stewart and his advisers had originally proposed the eight authors on whom the essays of the volume are written, having, no doubt, carefully weighed the relative merits of such other important American writers as Edwards and Franklin in the eighteenth century, Longfellow, Lowell, Howells, and Emily Dickinson in the nineteenth, and perhaps some of the older twentieth-century writers. After I became editor, only the names of Howells and Dickinson were presented as candidates for in-

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