1st Edition

The Quest for Epic in Contemporary American Fiction
John Updike, Philip Roth and Don DeLillo

ISBN 9780415888516
Published January 6, 2011 by Routledge
218 Pages

USD $62.95

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Book Description

This volume explores the confluences between two types of literature in contemporary America: the novel and the epic. It analyses the tradition of the epic as it has evolved from antiquity, through Joyce to its American manifestations and describes how this tradition has impacted upon contemporary American writing.

Table of Contents



Chapter One: Theoretical and Generic Considerations

Chapter Two: A Transnational Inheritance: Joycean and American Ancestry

Chapter Three: The Bard of Everyday Domesticity: John Updike’s Song of America

Chapter Four: Transnational Paternalisms: Philip Roth’s Post-Pastoral American Epic

Chapter Five: Don DeLillo’s Underworld as Recycled American Epic

Conclusion: New American Vistas




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Catherine Morley is the Academic Fellow in the Cultures of Modernism at Oxford Brookes University. She has recently published a co-edited collection of essays, American Thought and Culture in the 21st Century, and is currently working on Modern American Fiction. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Comparative American Studies, English, and the Journal of American Studies.


"This intellectually sophisticated book considers three major novelists, each of whom has produced a large body of significant work that has received extensive critical attention...Recommended."

-- Choice, June 2009