The Dream of the Great American Novel by Book
Writer Lawrence Buell discusses the primary contenders for the title of the "Great American Novel".
Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
Absalom, Absalom! is a Southern Gothic novel by the American author William Faulkner, first published in 1936. It is a story about three families of the American South, taking place before, during,...
The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
The Adventures of Augie March (1953) is a novel by Saul Bellow. It centers on the eponymous character who grows up during the Great Depression. This picaresque novel is an example of bildungsroman,...
American Pastoral by Philip Roth
American Pastoral is a Philip Roth novel concerning Seymour "Swede" Levov, a Jewish-American businessman and former high school athlete from Newark, New Jersey. Levov's happy and conventional upper...
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
Clyde Griffiths is a young man with ambitions. He's in love with a rich girl, but it's a poor girl he has gotten pregnant, Roberta Alden, who works with him at his uncle's factory. One day he takes...- Time
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Beloved (1987) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. The novel, her fifth, is loosely based on the life and legal case of the slave Margaret Garner, about whom Morrison...
The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton
The Custom of the Country is a 1913 novel by Edith Wharton. It tells the story of Undine Spragg, a Midwestern girl who attempts to ascend in New York City society.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The novel chronicles an era that Fitzgerald himself dubbed the "Jazz Age". Following the shock and chaos of World War I, American society enjoyed unprecedented levels of prosperity during the "roar...
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on a poor family of sharecroppers, the Joads, driven from their home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in the agriculture industry. In a ...
Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
The narrative is set primarily in Europe at the end of World War II and centers on the design, production and dispatch of V-2 rockets by the German military, and, in particular, the quest undertake...
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Gone With the Wind is set in Jonesboro and Atlanta, Georgia during the American Civil War and Reconstruction and follows the life of Scarlett O'Hara, the daughter of an Irish immigrant plantation o...
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Revered by all of the town's children and dreaded by all of its mothers, Huckleberry Finn is indisputably the most appealing child-hero in American literature. Unlike the tall-tale, idyllic worl...
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
The novel addresses many of the social and intellectual issues facing African-Americans in the early twentieth century, including black nationalism, the relationship between black identity and Marx...
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
First published in 1851, Melville's masterpiece is, in Elizabeth Hardwick's words, "the greatest novel in American literature." The saga of Captain Ahab and his monomaniacal pursuit of the white wh...
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Hester Prynne is a beautiful young woman. She is also an outcast. In the eyes of her neighbors she has committed an unforgivable sin. Everyone knows that her little daughter, Pearl, is the product ...
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel had a profound effect on attitudes toward African America...
U.S.A. Trilogy by John Dos Passos
The U.S.A. Trilogy is the major work of American writer John Dos Passos, comprising the novels The 42nd Parallel (1930), 1919, also known as Nineteen Nineteen (1932), and The Big Money (1936). The ...