On Native Grounds: An Interpretation of Modern American Prose Literature
by Alfred Kazin
On its debut, this brilliant, innovative, and influential study established Alfred Kazin's reputation as a leading literary critic. Now, in its ... Show synopsis On its debut, this brilliant, innovative, and influential study established Alfred Kazin's reputation as a leading literary critic. Now, in its fiftieth year of publication, Kazin's work is as relevant as on the day it was first written, a classic that brings fresh perspective to our interpretation of the literature belonging to what many consider the golden era of American letters. Kazin discusses the work of Edith Wharton, Sinclair Lewis, Willa Cather, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, and William Faulkner, among others writing in the period embraced by the Civil War and World War II, and declares this era the advent of a truly American literary style: sensitive to economic and social issues while expressing an intense national consciousness. Importantly, Kazin believes that this emerging American literature reflected not simply a reaction to Victorian gentility and repression but something greater -- the moral transformation of our entire society under the gathering impact of industrialization, science, and world wars. It was this idea of a nation's principal literary figures being bound so directly to its social development that made Kazin's analysis revolutionary and that maintains its vitality fifty years later.