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American Literature

American Literature Book List

Cover of 'Collected Poems 1953–1983'

Collected Poems 1953–1983
By Lucien Stryk

Lucien Stryk’s poetry is made of simple things—frost on a windowpane at morning, ducks moving across a pond, a neighbor’s fuss over his lawn—set into language that is at once direct and powerful. Years of translating Zen poems and religious texts have helped give Stryk a special sense of the particular, a feel for those details which, because they are so much a part of our lives, seem to define us.

Cover of 'Northern Summer'

Northern Summer
New and Selected poems, 1963-1983
By John Matthias

Northern Summer is a representative selection from John Matthias’s previous books, together with a group of poems written since 1980. Robert Duncan wrote of his first book, Bucyrus, that in part “Matthias is a Goliard – one of those wandering souls out of a dark age in our own time.”

Cover of 'American Fantasies'

American Fantasies
Collected Poems, 1945-1981
By James Schevill

In this collection, Schevill brings together a series of poems that he has been working on since his first book was published in 1947. Diverse characters, both real and imaginary, reveal fantasies of American life and history. The dramatic voices of the characters contrast with the subjective voice of the narrator as he moves through time and space, remembering and anticipating.

Cover of 'Duncan’s Colony'

Duncan’s Colony
By Natalie L. M. Petesch

“During the nineteen sixties, following the missile crisis and during the Vietnam War, communitarian societies began to reappear in the United States. Those who were of an invincibly optimistic nature gathered together in agrarian or utopian communes reminiscent of the nineteenth century.

Cover of 'Power of Blackness'

Power of Blackness
Hawthorne, Poe, Melville
By Harry Levin

The Power of Blackness is a profound and searching reinterpretation of Hawthorne, Poe and Melville, the three classic American masters of fiction. It is also an experiment in critical method, an exploration of the myth-making process by way of what may come to be known as literary iconology.

Cover of 'A Woman Speaks'

A Woman Speaks
The Lectures, Seminars, and Interviews of Anaïs Nin
Edited by Evelyn J. Hinz

In this book Anaïs Nin speaks with warmth and urgency on those themes which have always been closest to her: relationships, creativity, the struggle for wholeness, the unveiling of woman, the artist as magician, women reconstructing the world, moving from the dream outward, and experiencing our lives to the fullest possible extent.

Cover of 'Awakening'

Awakening
By Lucien Stryk

The sharpness of Lucien Stryk’s poetry is made of simple things—frost on a windowpane at morning, ducks moving across a pond, an argument flailing in the distance, a neighbor's fuss over his lawn—set down in a language that is at once direct and powerful. Awakening is, in large part, an approach to what is most familiar by a poet whose language and poetic attention have found their own maturity.

Cover of 'The  Wife of Martin Guerre'

The Wife of Martin Guerre
By Janet Lewis

Set in 16th century France, this compelling story of Bertrande de Rols is the first of the Cases of Circumstantial Evidence.

Cover of 'The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron'

The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron
By Janet Lewis

This third novel in the three Cases of Circumstantial Evidence provides an intimate portrayal of deception and corruption in one small poor Parisian family in the late 1600s. In contrast to the majesty of the court of Louis XIV and the bloodthirsty crowds of Paris at that time, the simple lives of Jean Larcher and his wife and son are pitiably ruined by the presence of a seducer and his political pamphlets. The result: personal and public passions mesh to hang an innocent man.

Winner of Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 1951
Cover of 'The  Town'

The  Town
By Conrad Richter

In the final novel of Richter’s Awakening Land trilogy, Sayward Wheeler completes her mission and lives to see the transition of her family and her friends, American pioneers, from the ways of wilderness to the ways of civilization. The Town, for which Richter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1951, is a much bigger book in every way than its predecessors; it is itself a rich contribution to literature and with the other novels comprises a great American epic.

Cover of 'Under a Glass Bell'

Under a Glass Bell
By Anaïs Nin

Under a Glass Bell is one of Nin's finest collections of stories. First published in 1944, it attracted the attention of Edmond Wilson, who reviewed the collection in The New Yorker. It was in these stories that Nin's artistic and emotional vision took shape.

Cover of 'The  Fathers'

The  Fathers
By Allen Tate
· Introduction by Arthur Mizener

The Fathers is the powerful novel by the poet and critic recognized as one of the great men of letters of our time. Old Major Buchan of Pleasant Hill, Fairfax County, Virginia, lived by a gentlemen's agreement to ignore what was base or rude, to live a life which was gentle and comfortable because it was formal.

Cover of 'The  Yogi of Cockroach Court'

The Yogi of Cockroach Court
By Frank Waters

In this novel of the mestizo, or mixed-blood, Frank Waters completes the Southwestern canvas begun in The Man Who Killed the Deer and People of the Valley. Set in a violent Mexican border town, the story centers on Barby, a tormented mestizo, Guadalupe, the mestiza “percentage-girl,” and Tai-Ling, the serene yogi.

Cover of 'A  Spy in the House of Love'

A Spy in the House of Love
By Anaïs Nin

Although Anaïs Nin found in her diaries a profound mode of self-creation and confession, she could not reveal this intimate record of her own experiences during her lifetime. Instead, she turned to fiction, where her stories and novels became artistic “distillations” of her secret diaries.