"The American Dream" has become a widespread term to describe the American Way of Life 3 in general, but it is by far not that easy." The American Dream" always has something individual. That is, why till today no one succeeded in giving a universally acceptable definition of the term.
Another reason is the permanent change of the "American Dream", which always made it a highly discussed topic within the American Society. So, not only American authors like T.C Boyle 4 in his novel "The Tortilla Curtain" 5 are dealing with the topic of "The American Dream", but also Hollywood used and still uses it in a lot of movies, for example in "Pretty Woman" 6 .
A lot of American historians say "The American Dream" even has its beginnings in the Declaration of Independence and the first European Settlers because the basic idea is that every man and every woman shall, regardless of their birth, achieve what there are able to do. Everybody shall be treated and seen equally and be recognized by others for what they are and have reached, refering to their position.
To make "The American Dream" come true all Americans have to work together. "The American Dream" is supposed to be for each American, despite all social groups. According to Adams too many Americans have built mistrust towards "The American Dream" because they did not reach what they had hoped for and also had expected.
For a lot of people "The American Dream" is connected to becoming wealthy and the ability to achieve everything if one only works hard enough for it (From rags to riches). For others it is much more and is beyond materialism. For them it is the dream of living a simple, happy and fulfilling life and the most important features being faith and equality. "The American Dream" also is about liberty and America being the country of unlimited opportunities.
Another aspect is that America is Gods' chosen country ("City on the shining hill" meaning the new Jerusalem) 7 and all Americans have to bring "The American Dream" to the rest of the world, such as Democracy and American values. Also the idea that immigrants of different nationalities, different ethnic backgrounds and different religious beliefs can be fused into a new nation without abandoning their diverse cultures. The idea of America being a melting pot where everybody can live peacefully together. "The American Dream" has a lot to do with America being a country of immigration, and these immigrants all hoped to live a better life in the new world.
That is where from my point of view lies the paradox because all Americans are descendants of immigrants and nevertheless there are people like Delany and Kyra, protagonists in T. C Boyle's before mentioned novel "The Tortilla Curtain", who in the end even hate the illegal immigrants. Boyle makes this paradox really obvious with the Mexican guy living in Arroyo Blanco who made it and is accepted. This is one reason why nowadays a lot of people say "The American Dream" has become a nightmare. 8
Concluded one could say "the American Dream" is the belief of the US-American Society that each individual can, through hard working and strength of mind, achieve everything.
However, it is also highly controversial, because did Martin Luther King realize his "American Dream"? Or Cándido and América did they even get the opportunity to achieve everything, regarding their abilities?
The American is a novel by Henry James. originally published as a serial in The Atlantic Monthly in 1876–1877 and then as a book in 1877. The novel is an uneasy combination of social comedy and melodrama concerning the adventures and misadventures of Christopher Newman, an essentially good-hearted but rather gauche American businessman on his first tour of Europe. Newman is looking for a world different from the simple, harsh realities of 19th century American business. He encounters both the beauty and the ugliness of Europe, and learns not to take either for granted. The core of the novel concerns Newman's courtship of a young widow from an aristocratic Parisian family.Contents Plot summary
The novel opens in the Louvre. where Christopher Newman, a rich, (early) retired businessman and Civil War veteran, meets the pretty but amateurish copyist Noemie Nioche at "work" in the museum. He also meets Tom Tristram, an oafish old friend from America, who takes him to meet his wife Lizzie.
Lizzie Tristram, a perceptive if somewhat bitter woman, introduces Newman to Claire de Cintre, a rather ethereal French noblewoman. Newman falls in love with Claire and they agree to marry. Claire's mother, Madame de Bellegarde, and her older brother, Urbain de Bellegarde, are of two minds about Newman. They like his money but can't abide his democratic and commercial nature. Claire's younger brother, the appealing and energetic Valentin de Bellegarde, becomes good friends with Newman and favors his marriage to Claire.
Claire's mother and older brother finally forbid her marriage to Newman, despite his best attempts to appease them. Meanwhile, Valentin has met and fallen for the worthless Noemie Nioche and is mortally wounded in a duel over the girl. As he lies dying, Valentin tells Newman a grim family secret: his mother and older brother murdered his father.
After her marriage is forbidden Claire enters a Carmelite convent, much to Newman's despair. Newman obtains written evidence of the murder committed by Madame de Bellegarde and Urbain, and determines to use it as revenge against them. But Newman's own good nature frustrates his plan, as he finally decides that revenge would be useless. In the novel's closing scene he burns the incriminating document. And yet, even in that ending, Newman's good nature is torn in two -- the novel's ending could hardly be considered "closed."Major themes
The plot summary alone should alert the reader to the split in the book. The first half of the novel - Newman's courtship of Claire and his efforts to ingratiate himself with her family - is a witty and perceptive treatment of the clash between Newman's brash and assertive American nature and the haughty, traditionalist views of the French aristocracy. This portion of the novel delights most readers with its humor and grace.
Unfortunately, the second half of the book descends into dubious and sometimes laughable melodrama, with the duel, the convent, and the deep dark family secret. James still writes with vigor and a sure eye for detail, especially in Valentin's death scene. But many readers have found it impossible to take all the plot material seriously.
Newman's renunciation of his chance for revenge is well prepared by James' treatment of his open and appealing nature, though some may consider his refusal stilted and unconvincing. The renunciation theme would echo throughout much of James' fiction, with characters giving up material advantages because of moral scruples.
The American was popular as one of the first international novels contrasting the rising and forceful New World and the cultured but sinful Old World. James originally conceived the novel as a reply to Alexandre Dumas, fils ' play L'Étrangère. which presented Americans as crude and disreputable. While Newman is occasionally too forward or cocksure, his honesty and optimism offer a much more favorable view of America's potential.Literary significance & criticism
When James came to revise the book in 1907 for inclusion in the New York Edition of his fiction, he realized how fanciful much of the plot was. He made enormous revisions in the book to try to make all the goings-on more believable, but he was still forced to confess in his preface that The American remained more of a traditional romance rather than a realistic novel.
Most critics have regretted the New York Edition revisions as unfortunate marrings of the novel's original exuberance and charm. The earlier version of the book has normally been used in modern editions. Critics generally concede that the second half of the novel suffers from improbability, but still find the book a vivid and attractive example of James' early style. More recently, some pundits have taken Newman to task as an obnoxious and even imperialistic westerner. But James' hero still finds many supporters, among critics and readers in general.
The American generally flows well and is easily accessible to today's reader, more so than some of James's later novels. Newman's friendship with Valentin de Bellegarde is particularly well-drawn, and the descriptions of upper-class Parisian life are vivid. The modern reader may be somewhat taken aback, however, that in a lengthy novel primarily about courtship and marriage, James totally ignores the theme of sexual attraction. Newman seems to see Claire de Cintre only in terms of her elegance and suitability as a consort for a rich and accomplished man like himself. As for Claire, we learn nothing about what transpired between her and her first (much older) husband, nor is anything significant revealed about her feelings for Newman. Only the mercenary Mademoiselle Nioche is presented as a sexual being, and this only in the most oblique and negative terms. Even by Victorian standards, James's reticence on sexual matters is striking.Film, TV or theatrical adaptations
Always yearning for success in the theater. James converted The American to a play in the early 1890s. This dramatic version altered the original novel severely, and even ended happily to please theater-goers. The play was produced in London and other English cities, and enjoyed moderate success.
The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) produced a television version of The American in 2001, directed by Paul Unwin and starring Matthew Modine as Christopher Newman and Diana Rigg as Madame de Bellegarde.References
Many minor revisions were made in The Europeans between its serial publication and its English and American book editions, but the American edition is in fact closer to the manuscript in punctuation, spelling, and wording, and is unmarred, as it were, by English conventions of typography and usage.
Presented in this volume of Henry James's works are early texts of his first five novel s--Watch and Ward (1871), Roderick Hudson (1875), The American (1877), The Europeans (1878), and Confidence (1880).
http://www.loa.org/volume.jsp?RequestID=56§ion=notes ">Library of America note on the various texts of ''The American'' - Henry James: Novels 1871–1880. Note on the Texts (The Library of America)
This encyclopedia is the most comprehensive and updated source of reference in tourism research and practice. It covers both traditional and emerging concepts and terms and is fully international in its scope. More than 700 contributions of 766 internationally renowned experts from 113 countries provide a definitive access to the knowledge in the field of tourism, hospitality, recreation and related fields. All actors in this field will find reliable and up to date definitions and explanations of the key terms of tourism in this reference work. Tourism is the largest industry worldwide and is the main source of income for many countries. With both, this practical impact of tourism and a rapidly developing academic field, with a growing number of university courses and degrees in tourism, and a flourishing research, this encyclopedia is the epicenter of this emerging and developing discipline.
Jafar Jafari is Founding Editor, Annals of Tourism Research: A Social Sciences Journal; Chief Editor, Tourism Social Science (book) Series; Co-Chief Editor, Bridging Tourism Theory and Practice book series; Chief Editor, Encyclopedia of Tourism; Co-Founding Editor, Information Technology & Tourism; Co-Founder, TRINET: Tourism Research Information Network; and Founding President, International Academy for the Study of Tourism. A cultural anthropologist (PhD, University of Minnesota, USA) and a hotel administration graduate (BS and MS, Cornell University, USA), with an honorary doctorate from the Universitat de les Illes Balears (Spain) and the recipient of the 2005 United Nations World Tourism Organization Ulysses Award, he is Visiting Professor of the Universitat do Algarve (Portugal) and Sun Yat-sen University (China), international Program Director of the Universitat de les Illes Balears (Spain), and faculty member of the University of Wisconsin-Stout Department of Hospitality and Tourism (USA). Honggen Xiao is Associate Professor in the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He has had undergraduate (Fujian Normal University, China) and postgraduate (Soochow University, China) trainings in linguistics and literature, and has also earned his Master’s and PhD degrees in Recreation and Leisure Studies (University of Waterloo, Canada). His prior work encompasses associate professorship and directorship of The Department of Tourism at Huaqiao University, China, and visiting professorship in The College of Tourism at Rikkyo University, Japan. He advises doctoral studies, and has teaching and research interest in knowledge development, tourism and culture, leisure and society, and China tourism. He is also Subject Index Editor of Annals of Tourism Research.
Tall Bearded iris have stalks with a height of 70 cm (27 1/2 inches) and above, with branching and many buds. Each stalk, in itself, makes a stately arrangement in the garden or in a vase. In addition to a wide variety of colors and patterns, the TBs display other qualities (such as ruffling and lacing) more frequently than do the other classes. The highest award is the Wister Medal.
Select a letter range to browse TB's by variety name:Tall bearded Irises are in the 5 alphabetical webs following below.
An advanced search checking the box “Search all public webs” will search all the TB webs. Or you can go to a particular web and search there, Or, the best way to find something is to browse a letter range above.
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The Quiet American (1955 ) is a novel (ISBN 0-09-947839-0) written by British author Graham Greene. It has been adapted into films twice, in 1958 and in 2002. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. This article is about the writer. For other uses, see Country (disambiguation). For other uses, see England (disambiguation). The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. A war novel is a novel in which the primary action takes place in a field of armed combat, or in a domestic setting (or home front) where the characters are preoccupied with the preparations for, or recovery from, war. A publisher is a person or entity which engages in the act of publishing. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ISBN-13 represented as EAN-13 bar code (in this case ISBN 978-3-16-148410-0) The International Standard Book Number, ISBN, is a unique commercial book identifier barcode. See also: 1954 in literature, other events of 1955, 1956 in literature, list of years in literature. This article is about the writer. âMoving pictureâ redirects here.Contents Plot summary
Set in Saigon. Vietnam in the early 1950s during the end of the First Indochina War. it portrays two concurrent conflicts: a romantic triangle between the veteran British journalist Thomas Fowler (whom Greene bases on himself), the young American Alden Pyle (a pastiche of American covert operators in Vietnam, it has been suggested with Edward Lansdale in mind, however Lansdale was not involved in Vietnam until shortly before the book was publised which makes this unlikely), and Fowler's Vietnamese mistress Phuong (named after, but not based upon, a Vietnamese friend of Greene's); and the political turmoil and growing American involvement that led to the American Vietnam War. Fowler, who narrates the story, is involved in the war only as an observer; his experiences are partly based on Greene's own years in Vietnam. Pyle is more directly involved on a number of levels, and Greene draws parallels between Pyle's conduct and America's overall policies in Vietnam. The turning point of the story involves an effort by the U.S. to build up a corrupt militia leader, General Thé—based on the actual Trinh Minh The —as a "Third Force" against the [[Viet Minh]]. A series of terrorist bombings in Saigon, blamed on the Communists, are used to justify Thé's takeover of the city; similar nonfictional events took place in 1952 while Greene was in Saigon. Greene believed (and it was soon confirmed) that the bombings were in fact engineered by Thé as a pretext, with the cooperation of American advisers. In the novel, Fowler's discovery of this thinly concealed plot leads him to his one political act, arranging for Pyle's death at the hands of the Communists, which resolves both the romantic triangle and Fowler's disgust with Pyle's destructive idealism, but leaves Fowler with a deep sense of guilt. Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnamese: ThÃ nh ChÃ Minh) is the largest city in Vietnam, located near the delta of the Mekong River. Combatants French Union France State of Vietnam Cambodia Laos Viet Minh Commanders French Expeditionary Corps Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque (1945-46) Jean-Ãtienne Valluy (1946-8) Roger Blaizot (1948-9) Marcel-Maurice Carpentier (1949-50) Jean de Lattre de Tassigny (1950-51) Raoul Salan (1952-3) Henri Navarre (1953-4. Edward Lansdale in 1963 Edward Geary Lansdale (February 6, 1908âFebruary 23, 1987) was a US Air Force officer who served in the Office of Strategic Services and the Central Intelligence Agency. Combatants Republic of Vietnam United States Republic of Korea Thailand Australia New Zealand The Philippines National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam Peopleâs Republic of China Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea Strength US 1,000,000 South Korea 300,000 Australia 48,000. TrÃ¬nh Minh Tháº¿ (1922 - May 3, 1955) was a Vietnamese nationalist and military leader during the end of the First Indochina War and the beginning of the Vietnam War.Major themes
The Quiet American explores several diverse themes through the relationship between Phuong, Pyle and Fowler. Joe is the economic Attaché
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The concept of a Western love and an Eastern love is explored through the contrast between Phuong's pragmatism towards her relationships and Pyle's fairytale concept of love. Fowler warns Pyle that he will be hurt if he marries Phuong since it is not in the Vietnamese nature to love as an American does. The romantic aspect of Pyle and romanticism itself is satirized by Fowler's truthful comment upon Pyle's intent to take her to America, where she would never be at ease. Fowler is already scarred from a previous relationship, and seeks a stable relationship and companionship above sex since he is old and afraid of change. However, several different layers of meaning apply to the theme of relationships in the novel, and it has been suggested that Fowler, rather than being as pragmatic and jaded as suggested, uses his relationship with Phuong to escape his age and the harsh reality of life, and Pyle's involvement threatens his fragile world.
An excellent piece of first-person subjective fiction, Greene's narrator, Fowler, compares himself to Pyle constantly. He focuses both on their differing views of self and the way others (namely Phuong) perceive them. The tension between them comes to a head when Phuong leaves Fowler for Pyle, inspiring regular self-assessment by Fowler. Fowler focuses on self-awareness (seemingly absent from the American characters) and links "colonial" sagacity to his notion of masculinity and refinement. He often mocks Pyle for being childlike and naive, particularly regarding Pyle's love for Phuong. Yet Fowler's early estimations of many of the American characters collapse during the novel's catastrophe: Granger, an obnoxious reporter, proves to be a more sophisticated character than Fowler has allowed; and Pyle shocks Fowler with his willingness to relativize for the sake of Harding's "Third Force", embodied by the ever-present but rarely seen General The. These dramatic reversals suggest that Fowler has, ultimately, been the most naive. Finally, his betrayal of Pyle to communist assassins (despite Pyle having saved Fowler's life from the Viet Minh earlier in the novel) leaves Fowler questioning his motives - whether he set up Pyle's murder for humane ideals or out of insecurity and jealousy of Pyle and their competition for Phuong. Published a decade after World War II, "The Quiet American" probes deep insecurities in post-war English masculinity, a theme deeply tied to national self-image during the waning days of Empire.
Idealism vs. realism
This concept explored thoroughly throughout the book, and Greene uses several key scenes to highlight the schism between the idealist and the realist. One scene which shows this in particular is when Pyle and Fowler are forced to stay in a watchtower for the night. They begin to discuss their viewpoints on politics, religion and relationships. The intense dialogue that occurs gives oblique insight into the cynicism of Fowler and the innocent naivety of Pyle. This theme recurs many times throughout the novel to reinforce the idea.
Uninvolvement vs. involvement
This theme mirrors the concept of contrasting idealism and realism, with Pyle being symbolic of involvement and Fowler being symbolic of uninvolvement. An example of this degree of separation lies in each character's description of their roles; Pyle is happy to be 'hands-on' in his actions, referring to his involvement in such graphically material terms whereas Fowler describes his involvement as disassociatively as possible, referring to his actions in euphemistic terms as 'engagé'. Pyle's want for involvement is materialized in his willingness to kill people for the greater good, to "save the east for Democracy". Fowler, is established as a stubborn and uninvolved man (he must be as a reporter and as an old person) and attempts to make it understood to Pyle several times during the novel that his idealism is harmful, and that the Vietnamese only want 'enough rice' and do not wish for Democracy. However, when it is clear that Pyle has been involved in a sinister terrorist plot which eventually kills dozens horrifically, Fowler is driven by anger and a sense of social justice to rectify Pyle's wrongs. In doing so, Fowler breaks his creed of uninvolvement and schemes to end Pyle's life.
US foreign policy
Tied in to the concept of idealism and realism, US Foreign Policy is criticized by Greene. Pyle is a physical manifestation of the US Foreign Policy, who with his dangerous ignorance, does more harm than good even with his innocent intentions. This dangerous ignorance leads to Pyle being portrayed as naïve and often buffoon-like (see Fowler's account of Pyle's arrival on the punt). As Zadie Smith asserts in her foreword to the 2002 Vintage edition:
[Pyle's] worldy innocence is a kind of fundamentalism: he believes that there must be belief. By hook. By crook. Reading the novel again reinforced my fear of all the Pyles around the world.
This innocence in the character is mirrored in the American intervention in Vietnam. Bernard Fall. in his seminal work Hell in a Very Small Place: The Siege of Dien Bien Phu. makes note of the allusive intervention of American foreign policy that hindered the vital aid required by the troops at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Bernard B. Fall Bernard B. Fall (November 19, 1926-February 21, 1967) was a prominent war correspondent and expert on Indochina during the 1950s and 1960s. Combatants French Union France State of Vietnam Hmong mercenaries Viet Minh Commanders Christian de Castries # Pierre Langlais # RenÃ© Cogny Vo Nguyen Giap Strength As of March 13: 10,800 As of March 13: 48,000 combat personnel, 15,000 logistical support personnel Casualties 2,293 dead, 5,195.
The love triangle between Phuong, Pyle and Fowler is a microcosm of the macro-political situation within the novel. The development of the political situation and the love triangle occurs simultaneously because the three characters are all uniquely symbolic of their countries and their ideologies. For example, as Fowler and Pyle squabble over control of Phuong it is symbolic of the squabble between the US and colonialism over pragmatic Vietnam.
TrÃ¬nh Minh Tháº¿ (1922 - May 3, 1955) was a Vietnamese nationalist and military leader during the end of the First Indochina War and the beginning of the Vietnam War. The Quiet American was the first film adaptation of Graham Greenes bestselling novel, released in 1958. The Quiet American is a 2002 remake of the original 1958 film of the same name, which was based on Graham Greenes bestselling novel.External links
Categories: Cleanup from July 2007 | All pages needing cleanup | All Articles with sections needing rewrite | Articles with sections needing rewrite from July 2007 | Novels by Graham Greene | 1955 novels | War novels | Books about United States foreign relations The Veterans of Foreign Wars, or VFW, is an American organization whose members are current or former members of the U.S. armed forces.
★ By reading the world we enter into our minds. ✡ People who diligently read like are looking past and future. Present in every history, and is present in every imagination of great people. ✣ One of the most valuable gift for your child is a pleasure to read. ✥ If you train your children to read, you're giving birth to great effect in the future. ✧ The books you read, it could be more valuable than a luxury car that is awarded to you. ✩ You will be aware that most of the solutions found today derived from past readings. ✫ By reading, you become a friend of great people. ✭ If you want to be great, then read books that write great people. Because tucked inside secrets of their success. ✯ Every book you read today will save you many times in the future. ☆ We pray to be given a way out. In fact, the way out has been a lot written in the books of quality. ✢ A lot of reading is a way to be a lucky person. ✤ Everyone is great to leave a legacy. And the most precious legacy they are embedded in their books. Fortunately for those who love to read, because they will get the most valuable legacy of great people. ✦ Every time you read, you become a new person. ✪ People are interested in finding a treasure. Though reading is finding the most valuable treasure. ✬ If the world is always closed to you then read, because reading is the door of the world. ✮ You may be living in the interior. But when you diligently read, you are more insightful than some cities. ✰The reading takes skill. And the ability to read is worth the investments in your life. ♦ In this world we will find many illusions. And reading would eliminate the illusion. ♥ If you are friends with a book, then you are never lonely. Because the book is able to make your life happy. ♠. Learn the language of letters, so you can read the writing. learn natural language, so that you can read millions of wisdom from nature. Learn the language of life, so that you can read the meaning of each event. ♣ Letters quality book never changed. But every time you read it, you always find a new sense wisdom as if it had never been written before. ⊗ Reading is an activity that makes miserable. Unless you have discovered the beauty of reading. ⊕ Reading is a fun activity, and produce pleasant things. Δ If you never read, then your understanding of the world is still hazy. ∴ People who diligently read the book have a long life. Because he was able to travel to thousands of years ago.Most Liked Audience
Θ Encyclopedia of the American Novel Θ : 1767 Work Author: Unca Eliza Winkfield When The Female American was first
published, it was dismissed as a Robinson Crusoe spinoff (a criticism still. This
becomes particularly important in an encyclopedia aboutthe "American " novel .
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Θ Encyclopedia of the American Novel Θ : The work includes biographical and literary entries on material from early explorers and colonists; through Native American creation myths; canonical 18th- and 19th-century works; to more recent figures"--Provided by publisher.
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Θ Encyclopedia of the American Novel Θ : An advanced reference resource, The Encyclopedia of the Novel offers authoritative accounts of the history, terminology, genre and theory of the novel, in over 150 articles written by leading scholars in the field Part of the Wiley.
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Θ Encyclopedia of the American Novel Θ : By the time he graduated from the Uni- versity of New Mexico he had published
his first novel. the largely autobiographical Jonathon Troy (1954), and was at
work on The Brave Cowboy. He attended graduate school at Yale University, but
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Θ Encyclopedia of the American Novel Θ : Each of the entries is written by an expert contributor and many provide brief bibliographies. In addition, the volume closes with a chronology and a list of works for further reading.
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Θ Encyclopedia of the American Novel Θ : Sentiment indexes identify positive and negative trends in mood within each chapter. Frequency graphs help display the impact this book has had on popular culture since its original date of publication.
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Θ Encyclopedia of the American Novel Θ : Thus the encyclopedia gives special attention to the historical and cultural forces that have shaped African American writing. - Publisher.
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Θ Encyclopedia of the American Novel Θ : Covers world authors from many periods and genres, building an understanding of the various contexts -- from the biographical to the literary to the historical -- in which literature can be viewed.
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Θ Encyclopedia of the American Novel Θ : More than ten years in the making, this comprehensive single-volume literary survey is for the student, scholar, and general reader.
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Θ Encyclopedia of the American Novel Θ : Latin American Novel. Chile Latin American Novel. Brazil Latin American Novel.
Central America Latin American Novel. Hispanic Caribbean Latino-American
Novel Margaret Laurence DH. Lawrence Lazarillo de Tormes (anonymous).
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Θ Encyclopedia of the American Novel Θ : An Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic Charles A. Gallagher, Cameron D.
Lippard. Thomas Dixon's novel The Clansman, for example, inspired D. W.
Griffith's film Birth ofa Nation (1915), which contains vivid scenes of a white
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The traditional lifestyles and customs of individual North American tribes and their history after contact with encroaching whites are topics discussed in alphabetical entries ranging from Abenaki to Zuni. Cross-referenced segments on cultural areas, i.e. Northeast, supplement the information given under individual tribal headings. Sections on prehistory, Mayas, Aztecs, and Olmecs are included. Entries contain a lot of information but are often chatty, rambling discussions that stray from the topic. The work does not go significantly beyond Barbara Leitch s A Concise Dictionary of Indian Tribes of North America (LJ 4/1/80). Recommended for public libraries lacking Leitch.Mary B. Davis, Museum of the American Indian Lib. New York
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Designed as a companion to The Columbia Literary History of the United States (LJ 1/88), this compilation of 31 major essays covers the American novel from the 1700s to the present (although the majority deal with the 20th century). Within each era, themes, genres, and topics such as realism, gender, romance, and technology are discussed in depth, as well as modern Canadian, Caribbean, and Latin American fiction. Unfortunately, each essayist selects only the authors who best illustrate his or her topic, thus subtly skewing the view of the literary scene at that time. Since women, minorities, popular fiction, and even the book marketplace are included, coverage is uneven, with some major figures getting short shrift. Best as a supplement to other sources, this is recommended for all literature and reference collections. - Shelley Cox, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib. Carbondale
What do we mean by "postmodern culture?" Does this vague phrase refer to crucial features of contemporary life? Or is it a categorical device deployed by critics and artists to further their own projects? Has the term "postmodern" become such a buzz word that it means anything, refers to everything — hence signifies nothing?
These questions exemplify the degree to which the debate about what does or does not constitute "postmodern culture" is not a mere disagreement about the use or misuse of a phrase but rather a raging battle over how we define and conceive of the role of culture in American society (as well as those abroad). More pointedly, it highlights how we interpret the current crisis in our society and best muster resources from the past and present to alleviate this crisis. Any interpretation of this crisis that alludes to "postmodern culture" presupposes some notions of the modern, modernity, modernization, and modernism — when they began, when they peaked, when they declined, when they ended, what was good and bad about them, and why the advent of "postmodern culture" has emerged. And any use of these notions bears directly and indirectly on how one conceives of what is worth preserving and changing in the present. In this regard the way in which one characterizes "postmodern culture" reflects one's anxieties, frustrations, allegiances, and visions as a critic. In short, one's very intellectual vocation is at stake in one's conception of "postmodern culture."
Because of the promiscuous uses of the adjective "postmodern" -515- in conjunction with philosophy, literature, et al. - and the various reductions of "postmodern culture" to a variety of "postmodernisms" — we must be clear as to the level on which our inquiry proceeds. We are not proceeding at the level of the popular mind that usually associates "postmodern culture" with a set of styles, forms, and figures — be it the historical eclecticism of buildingmaking as in the decorative and ornamental references to older styles in the architecture of Michael Graves, Robert Venturi, Philip Johnson, and Robert A. M. Stern, the desequentializing music of John Cage, Laurie Anderson, and Philip Glass, the denarrativizing literature of Donald Barthelme, Ishmael Reed, and John Barth, or the defamiliarizing photography of Barbara Kruger and the early Martha Rosler.
Nor are we proceeding at the level of the academic mind that often views "postmodern culture" as a product of the recent French occupation of the American intellectual landscape — be it Jean-François Lyotard's claim about the increasing incredulity toward master narratives (for example, Marxism, Enlightenment rationalism, or Whiggish liberalism), Jean Baudrillard's reflections about the saturation of simulacra and simulations in consumer-driven America, or poststructuralists' (Jacques Derrida or Michel Foucault) pronouncements about decentered, fragmented subjects caught in a labyrinthine world of no escape.
The popular and academic minds tend to be fixated on symptomatic emblems of "postmodern culture," yet we must probe deeper if we are to grapple seriously with our present moment — the moment of postmodern culture. On the one hand, the popular mind is right to see that discourses about postmodernism — especially in architecture, literature, and the arts — were initiated in the United States as a kind of revolt against domesticated modernisms of the academy, museum, and galleries during the Cold War period (1945-89). Since European artists and critics tended to link modernisms with transgression and revolt against authority, their critiques of domesticated modernisms were usually put forward in the name of more radical modernisms. On the other hand, the academic mind is right to note that French post-Marxist issues of difference, otherness, alterity, and marginality are central to "postmodern culture." Ironically, the waning of Marxist influence on the Left Bank of Paris, along with trans-516- gressive revolts against homogenizing Communist parties and expanding French bureaucracies, seized the imagination of world-weary ex-New Left academics in the United States caught offguard by feminist, black, brown, red, gay, and lesbian challenges in the name of identity and community. Yet neither the popular nor the academic mind — given the relative lack of a historical sense of both — fully grasp the major determinants of postmodern culture: the unprecedented impact of market forces on everyday life, including the academy and the art world, the displacement of Europe by America in regard to global cultural influence (and imitation), and the increase of political polarization in cultural affairs by national, racial, gender, and sexual orientation, especially within the highly bureaucratized world of ideas and opinions.
These determinants of postmodern culture are inseparable, interdependent, yet not identical. If there is a common denominator, it is the inability of a market-driven American civilization — the world power after 1945 — to constitute a culture appropriate for its new international (and imperial) status given its vast mass culture, its heterogeneous population, and its frustrated (often alienated) cultural elites of the right and left. Hence, contradictions, paradoxes, and ironies abound. The leading Marxist critic, Fredric Jameson, and an exemplary conservative critic, Hilton Kramer, both view the commodification of culture and the commercialization of the arts as major culprits of our moment, while both are suspicious of liberal cultural administrators who promote these market processes in the name of diversity, pluralism, or multiculturalism. On this matter, the left postmodern journal October joins the revivified spirit of T. S. Eliot echoed in the right, modernist periodical The New Criterion. Similarly, the uncritical patriotism from above — or, more pointedly, the atavistic and jingoistic mutterings of the cultural right — is paralleled by the uncritical tribalism from below of many of the proponents of multiculturalism, even as both accuse the other of their lack of cosmopolitanism or internationalism. And cultural wars of the canon erupt over bureaucratic turf — managerial positions, tenure jobs, and curriculum offerings — alongside an already multicultural mass culture (especially in popular music), with little public opposition to hi-tech military cannons of mass destruction targeted at tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians in the most massive air attack in human his-517- tory. In this crude sense, postmodern culture is what we get when a unique capitalist civilization — still grappling with a recent memory of cultural inferiority anxieties toward a decimated and divided Europe — with an unwieldy mass culture of hybridity and heterogeneity and a careerist professional class of museum managers and academic professors tries to create consensus and sustain some semblance of a common culture as a new political and military imperium. These efforts — on behalf of the left, right, and middle — are bold in intent yet often pathetic in consequence. They are bold in that they are unashamedly utopian. Conservative Eurocentrists, liberal pluralists, moderate multiculturalists, and radical feminists or leftists all assume that their grand designs for cultural citizenship in American civilization can be implemented in the face of market forces, bureaucratic demands, and political expediencies in American society. Yet, for the most part, this assumption proves to be false. Instead their efforts tend to be pathetic, that is, they frustrate both themselves and their foes by not only reinforcing dissensus but also undermining the very conditions to debate the nature of the dissensus and the points of radical disagreement. This occurs principally owing to the larger de facto segregation by political persuasion, race, and subculture in a balkanized society; it is sustained by suspicion of common vocabularies or bridge-building nomenclatures that facilitate such debate. The collapse of a civic culture, once undergirded by left subgroupings (now gone) and liberal enclaves (now in disarray), contributes greatly to this tribal state of cultural affairs. Conservative ideologies promote a patriotic fervor to replace this collapse-as witnessed in William Buckley's recent call for national service or the melodramatic flagwaving to unify the nation. Yet market forces promote the proliferation of differentiated consumers, with distinct identities, desires, and pleasures to be sold and satisfied, especially in peacetime periods.
But what are these mysterious, seemingly omnipotent "market forces"? Are they not a kind of deus ex machina in my formulations? Are they not under human control? If so, whose control? My basic claim is that Hilton Kramer and Fredric Jameson are right: commodification of culture and commercialization of the arts are the major factors in postmodern culture. These powerful social processes can be characterized roughly by a complex interplay between profit-driven -518- corporations and pleasure-hungry consumers in cultural affairs. T. S. Eliot rightly noted decades ago that American society is a deritualized one, with deracinated and denuded individuals "distracted from distraction by distraction" — that is, addicted to stimulation, in part, to evade the boredom and horror Baudelaire saw as the distinctive features of modern life. And in a society and culture that evolves more and more around the buying and selling of commodities for stimulatory pleasures — be it bodily, psychic, or intellectual — people find counsel, consolation, and captivity in mobs, be that mob well-fed or ill-fed, well-housed or homeless, well-clad or ill-clad. And such mobs are easily seduced by fashionable ideas, fashionable clothes, or fashionable xenophobias. This Eliotic insight turns Lyotard's conception of postmodern culture on its head. There is not an increasing incredulity toward master narratives. Instead, the fashionable narratives — not just in the United States but around the world — are nationalist ones, usually xenophobic with strong religious, racial, patriarchal, and homophobic overtones. And Eliot's major followers in postmodern culture chime in quite loudly with this chauvinistic chorus. Yet, many multiculturalists who oppose this chorus simply dance a jingoistic jig to a slightly different tune. In this sense, postmodern culture looks more and more like a rehash of old-style American pluralism with fancy French theories that legitimate racial, gender, and sexual orientational entrée into the new marketplace of power, privilege, and pleasure.
But is this entrée so bad? Is it not the American way now played out in new circumstances and new conditions? Does it not democratize and pluralize the academy, museums, and galleries in a desirable manner? This entrée is not simply desirable, it is imperative. The past exclusion of nonwhite and nonmale intellectual and artistic talent from validation and recognition is a moral abomination. And it is the American way — at its best — to correct exclusion with inclusion, to democratize the falsely meritocratic, and to pluralize the rigidly monolithic. Yet it is easy to fall prey to two illusions: first, the notion that inclusion guarantees higher quality and the idea that entrée signifies a significant redistribution of cultural benefits. Inclusion indeed yields new perspectives, critical orientations, and questions. It makes possible new dialogues, frameworks, and outworks. Yet only discipline, energy, and talent can produce quality. And market forces mit-519- igate against intellectual and artistic quality — for the reasons put forward by Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin, Matthew Arnold and W. E. B. Du Bois, William Morris and Virginia Woolf. Second, entrée of new talent is salutary yet it benefits principally those included. Despite the hoopla about group consciousness and role models, class structures — across racial and gender lines — are reinforced and legitimated, not broken down or loosened, by inclusion. And this indeed is the American way — to promote and encourage the myth of classlessness, especially among those guilt-ridden about their upward social mobility or ashamed of their class origins. The relative absence of substantive reflections — not just ritualistic gestures — about class in postmodern culture is continuous with silences and blindnesses in the American past.
These silences and blindnesses hide and conceal an undeniable feature of postmodern culture: the pervasive violence (psychic and physical) and fear of it among all sectors of the population. Critics and theorists usually say little of this matter. Yet in the literary works of contemporary masters like Toni Morrison, Russell Banks, Joyce Carol Oates, or Thomas Pynchon, violence of various sorts looms large in a sophisticated and subtle manner. And most of this violence — with the exception of police treatment of African American males — is citizen against citizen. The hidden injuries of class, intraracial hostilities, the machismo identity taken out on women, and the intolerance of gay and lesbian orientations generate deep anxieties and frustrations that often take violent forms. These violent acts — random, unpredictable, sometimes quite brutal — make fear and fright daily companions with life in postmodern culture. The marvels of the technological breakthroughs in communications and information stand side by side with the primitive sense of being haunted by anonymous criminals who have yet to strike. In fact, the dominant element in the imagination of dwellers in postmodern culture may well be this ironic sense of being anesthetized by victims of violence, given its frequent occurrence, and of being perennially aware that you may be next. In this way, postmodern culture is continuous with Eliot's modernist wasteland of futility and anarchy and Poe's modern chamber of horrors.
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