A Brief History of American Literature by Richard Gray – Review

Post Category: Non-fiction
A Brief history of American Literature review

Book: A Brief History of American Literature
Language: English
Author: Richard Gray
Published by: Wiley-Blackwell
Publication Year: 2011
Formats: Amazon Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover
Genre: Academic, Non-fiction, History
Reviewed by: Amit for Indian Book Critics
Rating: 5/5 stars

I have been having a soft corner for the books that are useful other than being just entertaining or enlightening. And being a student of literature adds a further weight of stone into the responsibility that I have. American English literature has developed in phases, just like Indian literature. America has been enslaved by the British for a long time and it fought a long battle for independence, survival, progress and finally establishing the authoritative identity in the world. Likewise and naturally, literature in American has been influenced by these shifting phases. The colonial literature was different and contemporary literature is different. To understand these with clarity, a student needs to study a suitable book on the history of American literature. And the one that I am reviewing today is certainly one of the best books to study the history of American literature – book by Richard Gray.

A Brief History of American Literature has been divided into 5 very aptly defined chapters and into various sections within the chapters. It begins with finding the nation’s identity and goes on to the time when America began establishing its identity. The meat of the book begins steaming from chapter two when Richard Gray begins exploring the 19th-century American literature and various perspectives related to it. The style of writing is not very authoritative in tone but the strength in Richard’s arguments cannot remain hidden for long. A student will easily understand that scholarship of Richard Gray in American Literature is beyond doubts.

Chapter three is very cleanly ascribed the title – Reconstructing the Past, Reimagining the Future: The Development of American Literature 1865–1900. You have to agree to the author’s witty title. In this chapter, one can easily understand why these 35 years were very important for American literature and how it shaped the literature to come in future. 4th and 5th chapters sum up the evaluation by Richard very beautifully.

Critically, you can easily understand the various perspectives of the history of American literature by studying this wonderful book. Written in a lucid language and a clean style, the book is more than sufficient for the graduation, post-graduation and competitive students of English literature. I will recommend this for the preparations of various examinations as well as a textbook. You can easily get a copy of this book from Amazon India and begin your studies in American literature right away!

Get a copy – click here to buy

review by Amit

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A Brief History of American Literature
  • Indian Book Critics' Rating


A book that covers from the beginning to current age in American literature… a book that’s enough!

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