The American literary canon has been the subject of debate and change for at least a decade. As women writers and writers of color are being rediscovered and acclaimed, the question of whether they are worthy of inclusion remains open.
The (Other) American Traditions brings together for the first time in one place, essays on individual writers and traditions that begin to ask the harder questions. How do we talk about these writers once we get beyond the historical issues? How is their work related to their male counterparts? How is it similar: how is it different? Are differences related to gender or race or class? How has the selection of books in the literary canon (Melville, Hawthorne, Emerson, and James) led to a definition of the American tradition that was calculated to exclude women? Do we need a new critical vocabulary to discuss these works? Should we stop talking about a tradition and begin to talk about many traditions? How did black American women writers develop strategies for speaking out when they were doubly in jeopardy of being ignored as blacks and as women? The volume offers irrefutable proof that the writers, the critics who work on their texts, all these questions, and the expansion of the canon matter very much indeed.
Contributors: Nina Baym, Deborah Carlin, Joanne Dobson, Josephine Donovan, Judith Fetterley, Frances Smith Foster, Susan K. Harris, Karla F.C. Holloway, Paul Lauter, Diane Lichtenstein, Carla L. Peterson, Carol J. Singley, Jane Tompkins, Joyce W. Warren and Sandra A. Zagarell.