Chapter 22. The Maturation of American Fictions

  1. Paul Lauter president
  1. Gary Scharnhorst Professor

Published Online: 16 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch22

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

How to Cite

Scharnhorst, G. (2010) The Maturation of American Fictions, in A Companion to American Literature and Culture (ed P. Lauter), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch22

Editor Information

  1. Trinity College (Hartford), UK

Author Information

  1. University of New Mexico, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAR 2010
  2. Published Print: 26 MAR 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780631208921

Online ISBN: 9781444320626



  • maturation of American fictions;
  • “The American Scholar”;
  • Howells, distinguishing between outdated and obsolete English romantic tradition and an emerging realism;
  • James's “Daisy Miller” (1879) and The Portrait of a Lady (1881) - both newly published;
  • writings of British naturalist Charles Darwin, his theory of sexual selection - their mark on the literature of the period;
  • American realism evolving beyond Howells - in the direction of modernism by the 1890s;
  • Crane, depicting in his best-known novel The Red Badge of Courage (1895);
  • Willa Cather, her own chastened aesthetic in contrast to realism of Howells;
  • Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927), based upon Cather's historical and ethnological research in American Southwest;
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby - another take on American life after the Great War


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • References and Further Reading