Winter 1942 • Vol. IV No. 1 Book ReviewsFebruary 3, 2024 |

Parrington Plus

American Renaissance by F. O. Matthiessen. Oxford. $5.00   American Renaissance is the first full length critical treatment of perhaps the most distinguished decades in our literary history. It marks, moreover, a break in the long tradition of academic and popular surveys—surveys which have been delicate evocations of a golden age, scholarly digests, sermons on the American character, or belligerent expeditions in search of the "usable past," but seldom critical estimates of American literature. Mr. Matthiessen, in turning to criticism rather than to intellectual history, and in stating that literature can illuminate as well as reflect an age, has demonstrated, if only by implication, the serious shortcomings of the Parrington approach. Parrington's neat but cut-and-dried pronouncements were enormously stimulating; he could portray with brilliance and force a Tom Paine or a Daniel Webster, but in deliberately minimizing aesthetic judgments, he coarsened many of his literar

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New England Shrub Oak

By Daniel Aaron

American Renaissance by F. O. Matthiessen. Oxford. $5.00   American Renaissance is the first full length critical treatment of perhaps the most distinguished decades in our literary history. It marks, […]

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