In a globalizing age, studying American literature in isolation from the rest of the world seems less and less justified. But is the conceptual box of the nation dispensable? And what would American literature look like without it? Leading scholars take up this debate in "Shades of the Planet", beginning not with the United States as center, but with the world as circumference. This reversed frame yields a surprising landscape, alive with traces of West Africa, Eastern Europe, Iran, Iraq, India, China, Mexico, and Australia. The Broadway musical Oklahoma! has aboriginal antecedents; Black English houses an African syntax; American slavery consorts with the Holocaust; Philip Roth keeps company with Milan Kundera; the crime novel moves south of the border; and R. P. Blackmur lectures in Japan. A national literature becomes haunted by the world when that literature is seen extending to the Pacific, opening up to Islam, and accompanying African-American authors as they travel. Highlighting American literature as a fold in a planet-wide fabric, this pioneering volume transforms the field, redrawing its institutional as well as geographical map.
The contributors are Rachel Adams, Jonathan Arac, Homi K, Bhabha, Lawrence Buell, Wai Chee Dimock, Susan Stanford Friedman, Paul Giles, David Palumbo-Liu, Ross Posnock, Joseph Roach, and Eric J. Sundquist.
Introduction: Planet and America, Set and Subset by Wai Chee Dimock 1 PART ONE: The Field, the Nation, the World 17 Chapter 1: Global and Babel: Language and Planet in American Literature by Jonathan Arac 19 Chapter 2: The Deterritorialization of American Literature by Paul Giles 39 Chapter 3: Unthinking Manifest Destiny: Muslim Modernities on Three Continents bySusan Stanford Friedman 62 PART TWO: Eastern Europe as Test Case 101 Chapter 4: Mr. Styron's Planet by Eric J. Sundquist 103 Chapter 5: Planetary Circles: Philip Roth, Emerson, Kundera by Ross Posnock 141 PART THREE: Local and Global 169 Chapter 6: World Bank Drama by Joseph Roach 171 Chapter 7: Global Minoritarian Culture by Homi K. Bhabha 184 Chapter 8: Atlantic to Pacific: James, Todorov, Blackmur, and Intercontinental Form by David Palumbo-Liu 196 Chapter 9: Ecoglobalist Affects: The Emergence of U.S. Environmental Imagination on a Planetary Scale by Lawrence Buell 227 Chapter 10: At the Borders of American Crime Fiction by Rachel Adams 249 Chapter 11: African, Caribbean, American: Black English as Creole Tongue by Wai Chee Dimock 274 Index 301