American Writers: Supplement by Leonard Unger, Jay Parini

By Leonard Unger, Jay Parini

This complement provides 18 acclaimed writers, together with Jim Harrison, Alfred Kazin, Bobbi Ann Mason, Thomas Merton, Gary Snyder and others.

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In this ethos of cultural resistance, family members are not victims accountable to their employers but powerful sources of social change, whose responsibility it is to acknowledge the legacy of their ancestors. Communalism as embodied by the past, the present, and the future resists the cultural amnesia of as- 18 / AMERICAN WRITERS similation, resists the seduction of technique as practiced by conventional films, and promotes the autonomy of the individual. Independent black cinema is seen as a source of emancipation, which is fostered by African American female mentors and artists.

Throughout Barthelme’s fiction, indecisive and noncommittal attitudes are manifested most strongly through the portrayals of romantic relationships. Couples rarely dedicate themselves to remaining in or getting out of their current relationships. In Two against One, Edward and Elise experience a trial separation. Rather than divorcing or deciding to separate, the characters want to leave romantic involvement open-ended and remain in a neutral status for as long as possible. ” This back-and-forth commitment frequently is linked to the loss of the ability to aspire as a couple.

In Double Down (2000), the memoir Barthelme wrote with his brother Steven, the second person is used frequently, especially when the authors try to explain the psychology of gambling addiction. ” In this form the narrator gives a set of instructions, usually concerning ironic subjects, such as how to have an affair or how to become an insecure person— subjects that, when read beneath the surface of the plot, instruct readers to take action opposite that of the protagonist. In Double Down the Barthelme brothers literally instruct readers how to derive the feeling that gambling offers.

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