New York and the Literary Imagination

The City in Twentieth Century Fiction and Drama

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About the Book

This work reveals the myths of New York and the various, often paradoxical ways that authors have portrayed New York City. Part One examines New York from the perspectives of a New York aristocracy (e.g. Henry James), immigrants (e.g. Mario Puzo), African Americans (e.g. Ralph Ellison), and Jews (e.g. Daniel Fuchs). Part Two studies variations and themes of New York mythology in the works of Stephen Crane, Tom Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Theodore Dreiser, among others. Part Three covers New York in theatre, including works from Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller.

About the Author(s)

Edward Margolies is professor emeritus of the City University of New York. The author of numerous books about American literary history and culture, he lives in New York.

Bibliographic Details

Edward Margolies
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 206
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3071-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0956-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Introduction      5

PART ONE: MYTHMAKERS
1. The Old Guard
Henry James, Edith Wharton, Louis Auchincloss      17
2. Immigrants
Abraham Cahan, Pietro di Donato, Mario Puzo, Oscar Hijuelos      32
3. Black Manhattan
James Weldon Johnson, Nella Larsen, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison      47
4. First Generation or Jews Without Money
Samuel Ornitz, Michael Gold, Henry Roth, Anzia Yezierska, Daniel Fuchs, Delmore Schwartz      63

PART TWO: AN AMERICAN DREAM WITH VARIATIONS
5. Struggles for Space
Stephen Crane, James Baldwin, Ann Petry, Bernard Malamud      93
6. The Big Picture
William Dean Howells, John Dos Passos, Tom Wolfe, Don DeLillo      113
7. The Magic, the Mystery, the Miseries
Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dawn Powell, E.L. Doctorow, Paule Marshall      124
8. Darker Visions—Death and the City
Theodore Dreiser, Nathanael West, Paula Fox, Saul Bellow, Paul Auster      145

PART THREE: A CENTURY OF THEATER
9. Mirrors of the City
Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller, Edward Albee, Herb Gardner, and Others      165

Epilogue: September 11, 2001      185
Selected Bibliography      187
Index      193

Book Reviews & Awards

“Margolies writes in a clear and conversational style, and he is especially adroit with biographical sketches and big-picture appraisals of literary trends… the sheer scope of Margolies’s knowledge is undeniable”—South Atlantic Review.