An American Type: A Novel - download pdf or read online

By Henry Roth

“His early novel Call It Sleep used to be his Ulysses. His overdue paintings An American Type is his Grapes of Wrath.”—Thane Rosenbaum, Los Angeles Times
This “glorious, evocative, literary novel for the ages” (Los Angeles Times) has eventually taken its position in the nice canon of yank fiction. Set through the nice melancholy, opposed to a backdrop of latest York’s glimmering skyscrapers and Los Angeles’s seedy motor courts, this autobiographical paintings concludes the unprecedented saga of Henry Roth, whose vintage Call It Sleep, released in 1934, went directly to turn into considered one of Time’s a hundred most sensible American novels of the 20th century. With echoes of Nathanael West and John Steinbeck, An American Type is a heartrending assertion approximately American id and the common transcendence of affection.

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This acceleration and flexibility has had a significant effect on the expanding class of knowledge-workers (or “cultural mass,” as Harvey, following Daniel Bell, terms them):38 the marketing of symbols—of lifestyle, image, trend, and idea—has greatly expanded, while also following the speed of turnover demanded by the new capitalist economy. The promiscuous image-fixation and hybridity of postmodern culture, in the broadest sense, is directly related to these developments. According to David Harvey, such innovations and trends have “been accompanied on the consumption side .

According to Steiner, the literary history of the last three decades comprises the breakdown of high postmodernism, the final eradication of modernism, and the rise of a new kind of realism. The “modernist division between avant-garde and traditional fiction” (499) loses credibility during the 1970s and 1980s; experimental technique becomes available to writers not self-consciously attempting to follow and out-maneuver modernism, notably women and minority authors. Postmodernism, in Steiner’s view, can be recuperated as a term once it is understood in relation to the “merging of social and aesthetic problematics” (527) in fiction 26 / late postmodernism written by women, fiction that engages with and contests the gendered and racialized construction of history and reality.

Can the novel retain its claim to authority if the cultural landscape is in fact dominated by electronic mass culture? What resources does fiction have available—resources that include stylistic practices, the ingenuity and patience of readers, sustaining ideas of literary value—in this emerging cultural landscape? If the legitimating function of culture, and literature in particular, has in fact been reconfigured or reduced, then the challenges of a difficult literary novel can appear arbitrary, an offensive and unwarranted appeal to specialized knowledge and expertise.

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An American Type: A Novel by Henry Roth


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