The Oxford History of the Novel, Volume 8:
American Fiction Since 1940
Edited by Cyrus R. K. Patell and Deborah Lindsay Williams
Rachel Adams • Eliot Borenstein • Donna L. Campbell • Tina Chen • Birgit Däwes • Patrick Deer
Marc Dolan • James Donahue • Siobhan Fallon • Paul Grimstad • Jaime Harker • Waïl S. Hassan
Scott Herring • Lauren Horst • Heinz Ickstadt • Edward F. James • Catherine Keyser • Stephanie LeMenager
Helen Makhdoumian • Nikolaj Ramsdal Nielsen • Cyrus R. K. Patell • Ralph E. Rodriguez • Jim Savio
Karen Skinazi • Werner Sollors • Bryan Waterman • Deborah Lindsay Williams
Rachel Adams is a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. In addition to multiple academic articles and book reviews, she is the author of three books: Raising Henry: A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability, and Discovery; Sideshow U.S.A.: Freaks and the American Cultural Imagination; and Continental Divides: Remapping the Cultures of North America. Adams is particularly interested in disability studies and discourse, and has written extensively about being a parent to her son Henry, who has Down syndrome, notably for The New York Times. She was a Guggenheim fellow for 2019-2020. To this volume, she contributes Chapter 15, titled “Disability and the Novel”, and its exemplum on Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn.
Follow her on Twitter @RachelAdams212
Eliot Borenstein is Professor of Russian & Slavic Studies at New York University. He is the author of Men without Women: Masculinity and Revolution in Russian Fiction, 1917-1929, which won the 2000 AATSEEL award for best work in literary scholarship, Overkill: Sex and Violence in Contemporary Russian Popular Culture, which received the 2008 AWSS award for best book in Slavic Gender Studies, Plots against Russia: Conspiracy and Fantasy after Socialism, and Pussy Riot; Speaking Punk to Power . Among his current projects is Marvel Comics in the 1970s: The World Inside Your Head. To this volume, Borenstein contributes Chapter 22, titled “The Graphic Novel”, and its exemplum on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen.
Follow him on Twitter @eliotb2002
Donna Campbell is Lewis and Stella Buchanan Distinguished Professor of English at Washington State University. She is the author of two books: Resisting Regionalism: Gender and Naturalism in American Fiction, 1885-1915 (1997) and Bitter Tastes: Literary Naturalism and Early Cinema in American Women’s Writing (2016; Choice Outstanding Academic Title). Her recent work on regionalism and naturalism has appeared in The New Edith Wharton Studies (2020), Edith Wharton in Context (2012), The Oxford Handbook of American Realism (2017), The Oxford Handbook of American Naturalism (2011), American Literary Realism, Legacy, Journal of Popular Culture, Studies in American Fiction, and Studies in American Naturalism, among other publications. She is currently editing Volume 10, The House of Mirth, for The Complete Works of Edith Wharton (Oxford University Press), a series for which she is associate editor. To this volume, Campbell contributes Chapter 23, titled “Regionalism”, and its exemplum on Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead.
Follow her on Twitter @dmcampbellwsu
Tina Chen is an Associate Professor of English and Asian American Studies at Penn State University. She is the author of Double Agency: Acts of Impersonation in Asian American Literature and Culture, which was named a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title in 2005. She is Director of the Global Asias Initiative and the founding editor of Verge: Studies in Global Asia, a multidisciplinary journal publishing scholarship from Asian Studies, Asian American Studies, and Asian Diaspora Studies. Verge has won the 2020 Prose Award for Best New Journal in Humanities, and the 2016 Best New Journal Award from The Council of Editors of Learned Journals. To this volume, Chen contributes Chapter 12, titled “The Asian American Novel”, and its exemplum on Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee.
Birgit Däwes is Professor of American Studies at Europa-Universität Flensburg in Germany. She is General Editor of the journal Amerikastudien / American Studies and has published widely in Indigenous Studies as well as contemporary American fiction. Her books include Ground Zero Fiction: History, Memory, and Representation in the American 9/11 Novel, and Native North American Theater in a Global Age. Däwes is the co-founder and editor of Routledge Research in Transnational Indigenous Perspectives and currently works on Indigenous museums, surveillance narratives, and contemporary American television serials. She has previously taught in Austria and Taiwan. To this volume, Däwes contributes Chapter 24, titled “Ground Zero Fiction”, and its exemplum on Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
Patrick Deer is an Associate Professor of English at New York University. His areas of interest include Modernism, war culture and war literature, contemporary British literature and culture, and Anglophone literature and human rights. His first book, Culture in Camouflage: War, Empire and Modern British Literature explores the emergence of modern war culture in the first half of the 20th century. Deer is currently working on two book projects about twentieth and twenty-first century transatlantic literature and culture: Deep England: Forging British Culture After Empire, and Surge and Silence: Understanding America’s Cultures of War. His recent graduate courses have included “Imperial Modernism,” “War Culture,” “Late Modernism,” and “The Contemporary Novel and the Culture of War.” Deer has authored several academic articles and serves on multiple editorial boards, including the American Comparative Literature Association and Modernist Studies Association. To this volume, he contributes Chapter 7, titled “The US War Novel”, and its exemplum on Karl Marlantes’ Matterhorn.
Follow him on Twitter @CulturesofWar
Marc Dolan is a Professor of English, Film Studies, and American Studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the CUNY Graduate Center at the City University of New York. In addition to several academic articles, he is the author of two books: Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock ‘n’ Roll and Modern Lives: A Cultural Re-Reading of “The Lost Generation”. To this volume, Dolan contributes Chapter 3, titled “The Novel versus the Moving Image”, and its exemplum on Clockers, the novel by Richard Price, and film by Spike Lee.
Follow him on Twitter: @fozzielogic
James Donahue is an Associate Professor of English and Communication at SUNY Potsdam. He is primarily interested in exploring the complex literary and cultural tensions of twentieth century America, in particular, the Beat Movement, Modernism/Postmodernism, Historical Fiction, and Native American fiction. In addition to numerous reviews and academic articles, he is the author of two books:
Contemporary Native Fiction: Toward a Narrative Poetics of Survivance, and Failed Frontiersmen: White Men and Myth in the Post-Sixties American Historical Romance. He is also co-editor of the publications Narrative, Race, and Ethnicity in the United States, and Post-Soul Satire: Black Identity after Civil Rights. Donahue is an avid fan of Ezra Pound. To this volume, Donahue contributes Chapter 16, titled “Historical Fiction”, and its exemplum on Joyce Carol Oates’ Blonde.
Siobhan Fallon is the author of the short story collection You Know When the Men Are Gone, winner of the 2012 PEN Center USA Literary Award in Fiction, and recipient of the 2012 Indies Choice Honor Award and the Texas Institute of Letters Award for First Fiction. Her essays and stories have been featured in the anthologies Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War, and The Kiss: Intimacies from Writers, as well as New York Times Modern Love, Washington Post Magazine, Huffington Post, Prairie Schooner, Guernica, among others. Fallon’s second book, The Confusion of Languages, is set within the U.S. expat community of the Middle East during the rise of the Arab Spring. To this volume, Fallon contributes Chapter 17, titled “The Short Story”.
Follow her on Twitter @SiobhanMFallon and Instagram @siobhanfallonwriter
Paul Grimstad is Director of Undergraduate Studies and Lecturer in Humanities at Yale University. He has taught literature and philosophy at NYU, Columbia and Yale. He was the recipient of the Sarai Ribicoff award for Teaching Excellence at Yale, as well as the Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book by Yale junior faculty, for Experience and Experimental Writing. Grimstad’s writing appears regularly in The Believer, Bookforum, London Review of Books, The New Yorker, n+1, The Paris Review, The New Republic, Times Literary Supplement, Raritan and other journals and magazines. He is known most notably among his students for bringing alive the work of Edgar Allan Poe. To this volume, Grimstad contributes Chapter 20, titled “The Detective Novel and Film”, and its exemplum on Paul Auster’s City of Glass.
Jaime Harker is professor of English and the director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Mississippi, where she teaches American literature, LGBTQ literature, and gender studies. In addition to essays on Japanese translation, popular women writers of the interwar period, Oprah’s book club, William Faulkner, Cold War gay literature, and women’s liberation and gay liberation literature, Harker is the author of three books: America the Middlebrow: Women’s Novels, Progressivism and Middlebrow Authorship Between the Wars; Middlebrow Queer: Christopher Isherwood in America; and The Lesbian South: Southern Feminists, the Women in Print Movement, and the Queer Literary Canon. Harker runs the Violet Valley Bookstore, which makes feminist, queer, and multicultural books available to the Water Valley community, the state of Mississippi, and the South. To this volume, she contributes Chapter 2, titled “Middlebrow Reading”, and its exemplum on Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt.
Follow her on Twitter @jaimeharker
Waïl S. Hassan is a Professor of Comparative Literature and English at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a past president of the American Comparative Literature Association. He works in the fields of modern Arabic literature and intellectual history, Arab literary relations with the Americas, and postcolonial and translation theory. He is the author of Tayeb Salih: Ideology and the Craft of Fiction and Immigrant Narratives: Orientalism and Cultural Translation in Arab American and Arab British Literature, and he is currently writing a book about Arabs in Brazilian literature and popular culture. He has edited several books and special issues, including The Oxford Handbook of Arab Novelistic Traditions and Arab Latin America. Hassan has also translated لغز القاف, from the Portuguese O enigma de Qaf, by Alberto Mussa, and Thou Shalt Not Speak My Language, from the Arabic لن تتكلم لغتي, by Abdelfattah Kilito. To this volume, Hassan contributes Chapter 14, titled “The Hemispheric Arab American Novel.”
Scott Herring is James H. Rudy Professor of English at Indiana University, Bloomington. His research focuses on modern American literary studies (especially 1914-1945), American cultural studies, and LGBTQ studies as well as subfields such as critical rural/regional studies and material culture studies. Herring has published three books: Queering the Underworld: Slumming, Literature, and the Undoing of Lesbian and Gay History; Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism; and The Hoarders: Material Deviance in Modern American Culture, in addition to essays that have appeared in journals such as PMLA, GLQ, American Quarterly, and American Literary History. He was the recipient of the 2011 Lambda Literary Award. To this volume, Herring contributes Chapter 13, titled “The LGBTQ Novel”, and its exemplum on Andrew Holleran’s Dancer from the Dance.
Lauren Horst is a doctoral student of comparative literature at Columbia University, where she is completing her thesis on postcolonial literature and development discourse in the 1960s-1980s. She is also part of the Undergraduate Writing staff at Columbia College. She holds a B.A in Literature and Creative Writing from NYU Abu Dhabi. To this volume, she contributes Chapter 19, titled “The Romance Novel”, and its exemplum on J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover.
Heinz Ickstadt is Professor Emeritus of Literature at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. His main teaching and research focuses are American literature and culture of the late 19th century, modern poetry and postmodern fiction, on the concept of democracy and nation in American literature, and on the Canadian novel in the 20th century. He has published numerous academic articles on these topics. Some of these are collected in: Faces of Fiction: Essays on American Literature and Culture from the Jacksonian Period to Postmodernity and Aesthetic Innovation and the Democratic Principle: Essays on Twentieth‑Century American Poetry and Fiction. In addition, Ickstadt has published (in German) a study of Hart Crane’s poetry and of the American novel in the twentieth century. He has also edited and co-edited several books, among them Looking Inward Looking Outward: From the 1930s Through the 1940s and the first bi-lingual edition of Ezra Pound’s The Cantos. To this volume, Ickstadt contributes Chapter 5, titled “US Postmodernist Fiction”, and its exemplum on Robert Coover’s The Public Burning.
Catherine Keyser is a Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of South Carolina. Her areas of specialization include Modern American Literature, American Women Writers, African American Literature, Periodical Studies, Gender Studies and Food Studies. She is the author of two books, Artificial Color: Modern Food and Racial Fictions, and Playing Smart: New York Women Writers and Modern Magazine Culture, in addition to several academic articles. Keyser’s essay “Candy Boys and Chocolate Factories: Roald Dahl, Racialization, and Global Industry” won the 2017 Margaret Church MFS Memorial Prize. To this volume, Keyser contributes Chapter 6, titled “Shattering the Feminine Mystique”, and its exemplum on Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
Follow her on Twitter @Cat_Keyser
Stephanie LeMenager is the Barbara and Carlisle Moore Distinguished Professor in English and American Literature, and Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon. Her work on climate change and the humanities has been featured in The New York Times, ClimateWire, Science Friday, NPR, the CBC, and other public venues. Her publications include the books Living Oil: Petroleum Culture in the American Century, which defines the 20th-century United States as the era of petromodernity, Manifest and Other Destinies, a monograph about the alternatives to Manifest Destiny that might have developed in the US West, Environmental Criticism for the Twenty-First Century, a co-authored essay collection for scholars, and Teaching Climate Change in the Humanities, a co-authored collection for teachers interested in bringing climate change into humanities classrooms. To this volume, LeMenager contributes Chapter 25, titled “The Anthropocene Novel”, and its exemplum on Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower.
Helen Makhdoumian is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is completing a graduate minor in American Indian Studies as well as graduate certificates through The Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies (HGMS) and The Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. From 2015-18, she co-organized The Future of Trauma and Memory Studies, an interdisciplinary graduate student and faculty member reading group on campus. Makhdoumian’s research interests include memory, trauma, and genocide studies; diaspora, transnational, and migration studies; indigenous and settler colonial studies; gender and women’s studies; Armenian literature (English, Armenian, French); Anglophone Arab literature; and American Indian/First Nations literature. To this volume, Makhdoumian contributes the exemplum for Chapter 14 (“The Hemispheric Arab American Novel”), on Susan Abulhawa’s Mornings in Jenin.
Nikolaj Ramsdal Nielsen is a doctoral student of Comparative Literature at Stanford University, and holds a B.A in Literature and Creative Writing from NYU Abu Dhabi. He has previously written for publications Electra Street and The Gazelle. His interests center on race and ethnicity, activism, and transnationalism in American, German, French, and Danish literature. To this volume, Nielsen contributes to Chapter 1, titled “The Production and Circulation of the US Novel”, and its exemplum on Andrew Sean Greer’s Less.
Cyrus R.K. Patell is a Professor of English at New York University (NYU) and Global Network Professor of Literature at NYU Abu Dhabi. His research interests include the theory and practice of cosmopolitanism, the US novel from 1850 to the present, and Global Shakespeare, literature and philosophy. In addition to several scholarly and newspaper articles, Patell is the author of five books: Cosmopolitanism and the Literary Imagination; Emergent US literatures: from multiculturalism to cosmopolitanism in the late twentieth century; Rolling Stones’ Some Girls; Negative liberties: Morrison, Pynchon, and the problem of liberal ideology; and Joyce’s use of history in Finnegans wake. Patell serves as the publisher for Electra Street: A Journal of the Arts and Humanities and its sister publication, Airport Road, a journal of student creative work. He is also the director of the NYUAD Global Shakespeare Project. Patell is the co-editor of this volume and contributes to Chapter 1, titled “The Production and Circulation of the US Novel”, and Chapter 10, titled “Cosmopolitanism and the Indigenous Novel”, and its exemplum on Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony.
Find him at patell.net.
Ralph E. Rodriguez is a Professor of American Studies, Ethnic Studies and English at Brown University. He is the author of two books: Latinx Literature Unbound: Undoing Ethnic Expectation, and Brown Gumshoes, winner of the 2006 MLA Best Book Prize in Latina/o and Chicana/o Studies. Rodriguez is currently working on a collection of short stories titled “The Music Inside You” and a novel, “Tell Me Who Your Friends Are.” His teaching interests include Latinx literature, creative nonfiction, contemporary fiction, and critical race studies. To this volume, Rodriguez contributes Chapter 11, titled “The Latinx Novel”, and its exemplum on Manuel Munoz’s What You See in the Dark.
Follow him on Twitter @Ralphrod13
Jim Savio is a carpenter by trade, a writer and teacher. After twenty-five years of designing, building and renovating homes he received an MA in Creative Writing from CCNY and began teaching at Parsons School of Design and the Center for Worker Education at the City College of New York. His collection of short fiction The Fairy Flag and Other Stories was published in 2001, and his essays and short stories have appeared in literary journals and periodicals. For seven years Jim taught in the Writing Program at New York University Abu Dhabi and was affiliated with the Literature and Creative Writing Program there. In 2014 he began working in film. He co-wrote and directed a hybrid memoir/documentary, Home Sick, with his wife Joanne Savio, and in 2017 wrote and directed a short narrative film, Tabiib, about a psychotherapist who’s haunted by the stories of his patients. His latest short film Three Short Tales of Forgiveness had its European premiere in Berlin in January 2020. He is currently working on a novel and a collection of personal essays titled, Magic Bus. He lives with his wife and dog in Woodstock, New York.
Karen Skinazi is a scholar of multiethnic, women’s, and American literature, and senior teaching fellow and Director of Liberal Arts at the University of Bristol. She primarily writes about late 19th through 21st-century ethnic American and women’s literature and culture, and is the author of Women of Valor: Orthodox Jewish Troll Fighters, Crime Writers, and Rock Stars in Contemporary Literature and Culture. The book examines representations of an emergent literature by Orthodox Jewish women. Skinazi’s new research examines the productive interface between contemporary Anglo-American Muslim and Jewish women’s lives, literature, and activism. To this volume, she contributes Chapter 9, titled “Jewish American Fiction”, and its exemplum on Allegra Goodman’s Kaaterskill Falls: An American Story.
Follow her on Twitter @KEHSkinazi
Werner Sollors is the Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Professor of English Literature Emeritus at Harvard University, where he has taught for over thirty years. He is co-editor with Greil Marcus of A New Literary History of America and has edited numerous other books. His own monographs include: Beyond Ethnicity: Consent and Descent in American Literature and Culture; Neither Black nor White Yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature; Ethnic Modernism; The Temptation of Despair: Tales of the 1940s ; African American Writing: A Literary Approach; Challenges of Diversity: Essays on America; and Schrift in bildender Kunst: Von ägyptischen Schreibern zu lesenden Madonnen. To this volume, Sollors contributes Chapter 8, titled “The Wright Era”, and its exemplum on Richard Wright’s Native Son.
Bryan Waterman is an Associate Professor of Literature, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Development and Director of the Core Curriculum at NYU Abu Dhabi. He specializes in the literary history of colonial North America, the early United States, the Atlantic World, and New York City. His research ranges from the intellectual culture of early America to the development of punk rock on New York City’s Lower East Side in the 1970s. At NYUAD he teaches courses on literature, media studies, and contemporary art. In addition to co-editing and writing several academic publications, Waterman is the author of two books: Republic of Intellect: The Friendly Club of New York City and the Making of American Literature, and Television’s “Marquee Moon.” His most recent research centers on New York City in the age of Andy Warhol. To this volume, Waterman contributes Chapter 4, titled “The Age of Warhol”, and its exemplum on Don DeLillo’s Americana.
Follow him on Twitter @_waterman
Deborah Lindsay Williams is Clinical Associate Professor at NYU Liberal Studies and an affiliated faculty member at NYU Abu Dhabi. Her fields of interest include 20th-century US fiction, children’s literature, and feminist literary history and historiography. She is the author of a number of articles about US women writers, including Not in Sisterhood: Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, Zona Gale, and the Politics of Female Authorship. For four years, she wrote a biweekly cultural opinion column for The National, the UAE’s English-language newspaper. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review Daily, Inside Higher Ed, and numerous other publications. Williams is the co-editor of this volume and contributes to Chapter 1, titled The Production and Circulation of the US Novel, and Chapter 21, titled “Children’s and Young Adult Fiction”, and its exemplum on Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch.
Follow her on Twitter @mannahattamamma