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The series focuses on an individual author's entire body of work, a single work of literature, or a literary theme.
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Editor: Ronald Primeau
November 2013 · 1 volume · 300 pages · 6"x9"
An exploration of the authors and literary works that identify with the diverse area that covers 12 states, Midwestern Literature examines the prominent themes and stories of the American midwest.
Critical Insights: Midwestern Literature brings together fifteen original essays with thorough coverage and innovative exploration as the main goals. Three overview essays survey the historical and cultural context of Midwestern literature, present how critical commentary on the literature took shape over time, and explore Midwestern plays and playwrights over three centuries.
Edited by Ronald Primeau, Professor of English at Central Michigan University, this volume in the Critical Insights series presents a variety of new essays on the genre that covers 12 states in the center of the country - Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota. For readers who are studying it for the first time, several essays survey the critical conversation regarding Midwestern literature, explore its cultural and historical contexts and offer close and comparative reading of key texts in the genre. Readers seeking a deeper understanding of Midwestern literature can then move on to other essays that explore it in depth through a variety of critical approaches. Works that may be discussed include Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres, Ernest Hemingway’s Nick Adams Stories, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Winter Dreams, Garrison Keillor’s Home, and Saul Bellow’s Looking for Mr. Green.
Many of the essays in Critical Insights: Midwestern Literature reexamine how Midwestern literature is deigned, consider whether the region is somewhere or nowhere (and why that matters), and how authors might use absence itself as a location for setting not possible elsewhere. The essays also expand the bounds of what we usually think to be literature in a narrower sense by including humor and sports as essential ingredients in an author’s repertoire.
From widely varied perspectives, the scholars’ work collected here offers collective readings of several authors and more expansive ways to see others. The contributors of this volume ask new questions, reinforce the way in which traditions are both sustained and undermined, and provide such evidence that Midwestern literature remains a subject of endless fascination and importance.
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