A History of American Literature by Richard Gray - review by Steve King

Steve King

Mark Twain, ETC

A History of American Literature

By

Blackwell 912pp £65hbk £19.99pbk order from our bookshop
 

Writing this book cannot have been easy. Just piclung it up is not easy. It is a whopping great tome. Yet Richard Gray's real achievement is somehow to have compressed more than 400 years of thrillingly rich literary history between two covers. The multi-authored Cambrid'g, e History of American Literature runs to eight fat volumes. At less than 920 pages, Gray's history is, by comparison, a triumph of brevity.

As one would expect of such a distinguished scholar (Professor of American Literature at Essex University; FBA; author and editor of several important books on Southern literature: editor of the Journal of American Studies), there is a lot to admire between those widely separated covers. Gray's survey is far-ranging, adventurous, and

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