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American Literature, Volume II

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2014-10-17
  • Publisher: Pearson

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As part of the Penguin Academics series, American Literature Volume 2, offers a wide range of selections (with minimal editorial apparatus) at an affordable price.


This new edition of American Literature presents an exciting opportunity for readers. Many of the pieces will be familiar to readers of American literature, but we have also taken steps to include selections that are not as well known and just as compelling.  Making this new edition even more attractive are six thematic clusters of excerpts from documents illustrating key trends in American social and literary history; a richer selection of images; and a new page design to enhance the reading experience.


0321924975 / 9780321924971 American Literature, Volume II (Penguin Academics Series) with NEW MyLiteratureLab -- Access Card Package

Package consists of:   

0205883583 / 9780205883585 NEW MyLiteratureLab -- Valuepack Access Card

0321838637 / 9780321838636 American Literature, Volume II (Penguin Academics Series)


Author Biography

William E. Cain is Mary Jewett Gaiser Professor of English at Wellesley College. Among his many publications is a monograph on American literary and cultural criticism, 1900-1945, in The Cambridge History of American Literature, Vol. 5 (2003). He is a co-editor of the Norton Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism (2nd ed., 2010), and, with Sylvan Barnet, he has co-authored a number of books on literature and composition. His recent publications include essays on Ralph Ellison, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Shakespeare, Edith Wharton, and the painter Mark Rothko.


Alice McDermott is the author of the forthcoming novel Someone and six previous novels, including After This; Child of My Heart; Charming Billy, winner of the 1998 National Book Award; and At Weddings and Wakes, all published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. That Night, At Weddings and Wakes, and After This were all finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. McDermott lives with her family outside Washington, D.C.


Lance E. Newman is Professor of English and Environmental Studies at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, where he teaches Early American Literature, Environmental Literature, and Creative Writing. He has also worked as a river guide for more than two decades, leading rafting trips in Southeastern Utah and in Grand Canyon. He is the author of The Grand Canyon Reader (University of California Press, 2011) and Our Common Dwelling: Henry Thoreau, Transcendentalism, and the Class Politics of Nature (Palgrave, 2005). With Joel Pace and Chris Keonig-Woodyard, he co-edited Transatlantic Romanticism: An Anthology of British, American, and Canadian Literature, 1767-1867 (Longman, 2006). He co-produced the documentary film Canyonlands: Edward Abbey and the Great American Desert (2011) with Roderick Coover. Newman’s poems have appeared in many print and web magazines, and he is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Come Kanab (Dusi-e/chaps Kollectiv, 2007) and 3by3by3 (Beard of Bees, 2010), both available free on the Web.


Hilary E. Wyss is Hargis Professor of American Literature at Auburn University, where she teaches courses in early American literature, American studies, and Native American studies. She is the author of over a dozen articles and book chapters as well as three books, including English Letters and Indian Literacies: Reading, Writing, and New England Missionary Schools, 1750-1830 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012);  Early Native Literacies in New England: a Documentary and Critical Anthology (University of Massachusetts Press, 2008, co-edited with Kristina Bross); and Writing Indians: Literacy, Christianity, and Native Community in Early America (University of Massachusetts Press, 2000). She has won teaching awards at Auburn University as well as national research grants to support her work.  She has served on the editorial board of the journal Early American Literature and was most recently the President of the Society of Early Americanists.


Table of Contents

Part One: American Literature at the End of the Nineteenth


To the Reader


Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) (1835-1910)

        Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

        Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses


        Context and Response: Artemus Ward, from Artemus Ward (His Travels) Among the Mormons


Bret Harte (1836-1902)

        The Outcasts of Poker Flat


W. D. Howells (1837-1920)



Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?)


        The Devil’s Dictionary: selections


        Context and Response: The poetry of Dorothy Parker


William James (1842-1910)



Henry James (1843-1916)

        The Pupil


Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908)

        The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story


Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)

        The New Colossus


Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)

        A White Heron


Kate Chopin (1850-1904)

        Désirée’s Baby 

        The Storm


Mary E Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930)

        The Revolt of “Mother”


Booker T. Washington (1856?-1915).

        Up From Slavery: Chapter XIV. The Atlanta Exposition Address


        Context and Response: Olaudah Equiano, Excerpt from Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah

            Equiano; or, Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself


Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932)

        The Sheriff’s Children


Hamlin Garland (1860-1940)

        Under the Lion’s Paw


Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)

        The Yellow Wall-paper


Edith Wharton (1862-1937)

        The Other Two


Sui Sin Far (Edith Maude Eaton) (1865-1914) 

        Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian


W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963).

        The Souls of Black Folk: Chapter III. Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others


Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945)

        Old Rogaum and His Theresa


Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

        An Experiment in Misery

        An Episode of War

        War Is Kind


Jack London (1876-1916)

        To Build a Fire


Gallery 1: The South Since Reconstruction

Frederick Douglass: The Future of the Negro

George Washington Cable: The Freedman’s Case in Equity (excerpt)

Henry W. Grady: The New South (excerpt)

U.S. Supreme Court: Plessy v. Ferguson (excerpt)

Pauli Murray: Proud Shoes (excerpt)

Marion Post Wolcott, Entrance to a Movie House, Mississippi Delta

H. L. Mencken: The Sahara of the Bozart (excerpt)

Lizzie Woodworth Reese: A War Memory (1865)

Donald Davidson: A Mirror for Artists (excerpt)

Arthur Rothstein, Southern Movie Theater




Part Two: Modern American Literature

To the Reader


Edgar Lee Masters (1868-1950)

        Lucinda Matlock

        Davis Matlock


Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)

        Richard Cory

        Miniver Cheevy

        Eros Turannos


James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938)

        Lift Every Voice and Sing

        O Black and Unknown Bards

        Image: James Weldon Johnson


Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)  


        We Wear the Mask


Willa Cather (1873-1947)

        Paul’s Case


Gertrude Stein (1874-1946)

        The Gentle Lena


Amy Lowell (1874-1925)

        The Captured Goddess

        Venus Transiens

        Madonna of the Evening Flowers

        September, 1918

        New Heavens for Old

        The Taxi


Robert Frost (1874-1963)

        The Pasture

        Mending Wall

        Home Burial

        After Apple-Picking

        The Wood-Pile

        The Road Not Taken


        “Out, Out–“

        Fire and Ice

        Nothing Gold Can Stay

        Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

        Desert Places


        Neither out Far nor in Deep


Sherwood Anderson (1876-1941)

        Winesburg , Ohio : Hands

        Image: Sherwood Anderson


Susan Glaspell (1876-1948)



Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)



Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)

        The Snow Man

        Sunday Morning

        Anecdote of the Jar

        Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

        The Death of a Soldier

        The Idea of Order at Key West

        Of Modern Poetry

        The Plain Sense of Things


William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

        The Young Housewife

        Portrait of a Lady

        Spring and All

        To Elsie

        The Red Wheelbarrow


        This Is Just to Say

        The Dance (“In Brueghel's great picture, The Kermess”)

        Landscape with the Fall of Icarus


Ezra Pound (1885-1972)

        Portrait d’une Femme

        A Pact

        In a Station of the Metro

        The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter

        The Cantos: I (“And then went down to the ship”)


H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) (1886-1961)





Marianne Moore (1887-1972)


        A Grave

        To a Snail


John Crowe Ransom (1888-1974)

        Piazza Piece


T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)

        The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

        The Waste Land


        The Hollow Men

        Four Quartets: Burnt Norton


Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953)

        The Emperor Jones


Claude McKay (1889-1948)

        If We Must Die



Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980)

        Flowering Judas


Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)

        The Gilded Six-Bits


Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)


        I Think I Should Have Loved You Presently

        [I, being born a woman]

        Apostrophe to Man

        I Too beneath Your Moon, Almighty Sex


        I Forgot for a Moment


Context and Response: The poetry of Lisel Mueller


Archibald Macleish (1892-1982)

        Ars Poetica


Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)

        General Review of the Sex Situation.


e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

        in Just--

        Buffalo Bill’s

        the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls.

        “next to of course god america I”

        if there are any heavens my mother will (all by herself) have

        somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond

        anyone lived in a pretty how town


Jean Toomer (1894-1967)

        Georgia Dusk



F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)

        Babylon Revisited


Louise Bogan (1897-1970)



William Faulkner (1897-1962)

        That Evening Sun


Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

        The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber


        Context and Response: Pío Baroja, excerpt from The Chasm


Hart Crane (1899-1932)

        At Melville's Tomb

        Voyages: I (“Above the fresh ruffles of the surf”)

        III (“Infinite consanguinity it bears-”)

        V (“Meticulous, past midnight in clear rime”)

        The Bridge: Poem: To Brooklyn Bridge


Allen Tate (1899-1979)

        Ode to the Confederate Dead


Sterling A. Brown (1901-1989)

        He Was a Man

        Break of Day

        Bitter Fruit of the Tree


Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

        The Negro Speaks of Rivers

        Mother to Son

        The Weary Blues

        The South

        Ruby Brown

        Let America Be America Again

        Poet to Patron

        Ballad of the Landlord

        Too Blue

        Theme for English B

        Poet to Bigot

        I, Too


Countee Cullen (1903-1946)

        Yet Do I Marvel



Richard Wright (1908-1960)

        Long Black Song

        Image: Negro Tenant Farmer


Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980)

        Effort at Speech Between Two People



Gallery 2: American Writers and the Great Depression

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address (excerpt)

Mary Heaton Vorse, School for Bums (excerpt)

Anonymous, Letter to Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt

Robert Johnson, Cross Road Blues

Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again (excerpt)

Alfred Kazin, Starting Out in the Thirties (excerpt)

Agnes Smedley, China Fights Back (excerpt)

Kenneth Fearing, Devil’s Dream

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (excerpt)

Dorothea Lange, Mexican Field Worker’s Home, California

Woody Guthrie, This Land Is Your Land

Dorothea Lange, The Mochida Family




Part Three: American Prose Since 1945

To the Reader


Eudora Welty (1909-2001)

        A Worn Path


Tennessee Williams (1911-1983)

        Cat on a Hot Tin Roof


        Context and Response: Carson McCullers, from The Member of the Wedding


John Cheever (1912-1982)

        The Sorrows of Gin


Ralph Ellison (1914-1994)

        Battle Royal


Grace Paley (1922-2007)

        The Loudest Voice


James Baldwin (1924-1987)

        Notes of a Native Son


Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964)



Toni Morrison (b. 1931)



John Updike (1932-2009)



Philip Roth (b. 1933)

        Defender of the Faith


        Context and Response: Saul Bellow, excerpt from Herzog


Amiri Baraka (b. 1934)



Joyce Carol Oates (b. 1938)

        Where are you going, where have you been?


Raymond Carver (1938-1988)



Toni Cade Bambara (1939-1995)

        The Lesson


Terrance McNally (b. 1939)

        Andre’s Mother


Alice Walker (b. 1944)

        Everyday Use


Tim O’Brien (b. 1946)

        The Things They Carried


Mark Helprin (b. 1947)

        White Gardens


Leslie Marmon Silko (b. 1948)



Edward P. Jones (b. 1951)



Amy Tan (b. 1952)

        Two Kinds


Louise Erdrich (b. 1954)

        The Red Convertible


David Henry Hwang (b. 1957)

        The Sound of a Voice


Jhumpa Lahiri (b. 1967)



Gallery 3: Post-Modernism

Carl Andre, Equivalent VII; Frank Gehry, Walt Disney Concert Hall; Michael Heizer, Levitated Mass

Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism and the Consumer Society (excerpt)

Sherrie Levine, After Walker Evans: 4; Batman and the Joker; Madonna at Super Bowl XLVI

Jonathan Franzen, On Rainer Maria Rilke

Cindy Sherman, Untitled

Diane Williams, Human Being

Charles Bernstein, thinking i think i think

Mitch Stevens, OMG! I just got born!

Alan Kirby, The Death of Postmodernism and Beyond (excerpt)

Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup Cans; Mark Tansey, The Innocent Eye

Test; Jeff Koons, New Hoover Convertibles


Part Four: American Poetry Since World War II

To the Reader


Robert Penn Warren (1905—1989)

        Bearded Oaks

        Mortal Limit


Theodore Roethke (1908—1963)

        Frau Bauman, Frau Schmidt, and Frau Schwartze

        My Papa’s Waltz

        The Waking

        Night Crow

        I Knew a Woman

        In a Dark Time


Charles Olson (1910—1970)

        Maximus, to Himself


Elizabeth Bishop (1911—1979)

        The Fish


        In the Waiting Room

        The Moose

        One Art


Robert Hayden (1913—1980)

        Homage to the Empress of the Blues

        Those Winter Sundays

        Frederick Douglass   


William Stafford (1914-1993)

        Traveling Through the Dark


Randall Jarrell (1914—1965)              

        The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner

        The Woman at the Washington Zoo


John Berryman (1914—1972)

        Dream Songs (excerpts)

        14 ("Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so")

        29 ("There sat down, once, a thing on Henry’s heart")

        40 ("I’m scared a lonely. Never see my son")

        45 ("He stared at ruin. Ruin stared straight back")

        385 ("My daughter’s heavier. Light leaves are flying")


Robert Lowell (1917—1977)

        Mr. Edwards and the Spider

        Memories of West Street and Lepke

        Skunk Hour

        Night Sweat

        For the Union Dead


Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000)

        We Real Cool

        Martin Luther King, Jr.


Lawrence Ferlinghetti (b. 1919)

        Constantly Risking Absurdity


Robert Duncan (1919—1988)

        Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow

        Interrupted Forms


Richard Wilbur (b. 1921)


        Love Calls Us to the Things of This World


James Dickey (1923-1997)

        Drowning with Others

        The Heaven of Animals


Mitsuye Yamada (b. 1923)

        To the Lady


Denise Levertov (1923-1997)

        In Mind

        September 1961

        What Were They Like

        Zeroing In


A. R. Ammons (1926-2001)

        Corsons Inlet


James Merrill (1926—1995)

        The Broken Home 


Robert Creeley (1926-2005)

        For Love

        The Messengers


Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997)



Frank O’Hara (1926—1966)

        To The Harbormaster

        The Day Lady Died


Galway Kinnell (b. 1927)

        The Porcupine


John Ashbery (b. 1927)


        The Lament Upon the Waters


W. S. Merwin (b. 1927)

        For the Anniversary of My Death

        For a Coming Extinction


James Wright (1927—1980)

        Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio

        To the Evening Star: Central Minnesota

        A Blessing


Philip Levine (b. 1928)



Anne Sexton (1928—1974)

        The Truth the Dead Know

        Sylvia’s Death


Adrienne Rich (1929-2012)

        Storm Warnings

        Diving into the Wreck


Gary Snyder (b. 1930)


        August on Sourdough, A Visit from Dick Brewer

        Ripples on the Surface


Sylvia Plath (1932—1963)

        Morning Song

        Lady Lazarus




Linda Pastan  (b. 1932)



Amiri Baraka (b. 1934)

        A Poem for Black Hearts


Mary Oliver (b. 1935)

        The Black Snake



Marge Piercy (b. 1936)

        A Work of Artifice


Lucille Clifton (1936-2010)

        In the inner city


Michael S. Harper (b. 1938)              

        Dear John, Dear Coltrane

        Martin’s Blues

        “Bird Lives”: Charles Parker in St. Louis


Frank Bidart (b. 1939)  

        Self-Portrait, 1969


Billy Collins (b. 1941)


        The Names


Gloria Anzaldua (1942-2004)

        To live in the Borderlands means you


Joseph Bruchac III (b. 1942)

        Ellis Island


Sharon Olds (b. 1942)

        Rites of Passage

        The Victims


Dave Smith (b. 1942)

        Tide Pools


Nikki Giovanni (b. 1943)



Louise Glück (b. 1943)

        The Drowned Children

        Gretel in Darkness


Kay Ryan (b. 1945) 

        A Certain Kind of Eden

        Home to Roost


Yusef Komunyakaa (b. 1947)

        Facing  It


C. D. Wright (b. 1949)




Jorie Graham (b. 1950)

        Sea-Blue Aubade


Joy Harjo (b. 1951)

        Call It Fear

        White Bear

        Eagle Poem


Andrew Hudgins (b. 1951)

        Death and Doom


Jimmy Santiago Baca (b. 1952)

        Cloudy Day


Rita Dove (b. 1952)




        Straw Hat



Judith Ortiz Cofer (b. 1952)

        My Father in the Navy


Alberto Rios (b. 1952)

        Wet Camp

        Advice to a First Cousin


Mark Doty (b. 1953)

        Golden Retrievals

        At the Gym


Aurora Levins Morales (b. 1954)

        Child of the Americas


Lorna Dee Cervantes (b. 1954)

        Refugee Ship


Cathy Song (b. 1955)

        The White Porch




Li-Young Lee (b. 1957)

        The Gift


        This Room and Everything in It


Martin Espada (b. 1957)



Sherman Alexie (b. 1966)                  

        On the Amtrak from Boston to New York City


Gallery 4: Americas Sings the Blues: A Collection of Songs

Child with Tambourine Accompanying Guitarist, 1930s

W. C. Handy: St. Louis Blues

Bessie Smith: Thinking Blues

Robert Johnson: Walkin’ Blues

W.H. Auden: Funeral Blues

Johnny Cash: Folsom Prison Blues

Folsom State Prison, cell door, 1960s

Merle Haggard: Working Man Blues

Linda Pastan: Mini Blues

Allen Ginsberg: Father Death Blues

Charles Wright: Laguna Blues

Marilyn Chin: We Are Americans Now, We Live in the Tundra

Sherman Alexie: Reservation Blues

Indian photographing tourist photographing Indians, Crow Fair, Montana, 1991

Arrested Development: Tennessee





Map of the United States 

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