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Thread: Help with American Literature

  1. #1
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    why do you do things you think you should not do? ..it´sss the temptation

    right now I am thinking that it would not be appropriate to post my request right here but that is the point thaaaat I am going to do it because I need people to read it... patience ok.

    hey!

    I am a Czech student and I am looking for someone who knows or teaches the American literature. I have to write quite a big work and I need to read some of the English speaking writers (British / American - I prefer this). As I will have to read a lot of his / her work, I need it to be short stories if possible. And an easy language to understand, like Kate Chopin, or Sherwood Anderson.

    My knowledge about the American authors is not so wide so I would very appreciate any advice.

    Thank you.

    kvetinka

  2. #2
    Registered User Aiculík's Avatar
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    Ahoj!

    well... I usually don't even answer such requests... but as you're from "brother" nation...

    Are you going to compare the topic from the point of view of different authors? If yes, what is the topic? First you must see what authors write about things you're interested in. Start with doing some bibliografic search in your library - that's the easiest way to find relevant works by relevant authors.

    Personally, I think it's much more difficult to compare short stories by different authors than novels. That's my experience, at least.

    Anyway, here's link you might find useful: http://www.short-stories.co.uk/

  3. #3
    Kat in a Hat kathycf's Avatar
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    I think Virgil suggested this already in the introduce yourself thread, but Hemingway would be a good choice.

    I would also suggest stories by Poe, in addition to the authors you mention already, Chopin and Anderson. Willa Cather wrote some short stories too.

    For more modern works, you may be interested in the short stories of African American authors such as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and Gwendolyn Brooks.
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  4. #4
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    thank you for all of your suggestions, I think this would be at least something I am going to start with to have a look.

    I have to exclude Poe and Hemmingway out of my selection. I have found them a little bit difficult to read. I think I would like to find something more contemporary.

    First, I thought of comparing works by just one author. But now, as I am thinking about it, I like the idea of having to deal with more writers.

    Do you have any idea of works (does not matter novel or short story) I could find any provocative ideas in there? To compare, distinguish, place on the same level with a different view. Whatever that could serve me to project some interesting paper out of my work?

    Lots of thanks!

  5. #5
    Ace of Spades
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    Try Shirley Jackson;

    An American writer who wrote some of the greatest comtemporary gothic and psychological suspense ever.

    I'd recommend The Haunting of Hill House, We Have Always Lived In The Castle, and the short story collection Come Along With Me.

    Unfortunately her other work is harder to find especially The Sundial and strictly second hand sources.

    She also wrote two funny semi-autobiographical satire on family life called Life Among The Savages and Raising Demons.

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    Another request: can you recommend me some books concerning humour, any kind of humour (ironic, satiric, dry, gallows, funny)? And also if there is anyone to tell me which books to read that deal with emigration, exile.

    Thousands of thanks!

  7. #7
    U2aholic
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    Hello

    I had a module this year entitled "Comedy Culture" and here are some of the books I read:
    "A Cultural History of Humour" ed Jan Bremmer
    "On Himour" by Simon Critchley
    "The Language of Humour" by Walter Nash

    I found them pretty helpful and useful, and also interesting, which doesn't always go together.
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  8. #8
    Pičce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Depends how you define 'humour' but I love Steinbeck's Cannery Row, which is both sad and comical and full of quirky characters. It is a quick read as well.

    Immigration... The first coming to my mind is a play: View From The Bridge by Arthur Miller deals with illegal Italian immigrants in 1950s.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by kvetinka View Post
    Another request: can you recommend me some books concerning humour, any kind of humour (ironic, satiric, dry, gallows, funny)? And also if there is anyone to tell me which books to read that deal with emigration, exile.

    Thousands of thanks!

    For something along the ironic and satiric lines, I'd recomend Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger.

    Exile's a harder one. For strictly American literature I'm not really sure.

    If you want a general cross section, and are looking to avoid Poe and Hemingway, here are some authors you probably don't want to miss:

    Huckleberry Finn - by Mark Twain
    Slaughterhouse 5 - by Kurt Vonnegut
    Walden - by Henry David Thoreau
    Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
    On the Road - Jack Kerouac

    some of my favorites anyway

  10. #10
    seasonably mediocre Il Penseroso's Avatar
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    I'd go with Twain's A Connecticut Yankee. It covers the humor part really well, and with only a slight stretch of the imagination could be used for immigration as a theme. One of my favorite books actually.
    and somehow a dog
    has taken itself & its tail considerably away
    into the mountains or sea or sky, leaving
    behind: me, wag.
    - John Berryman

  11. #11
    You should try the short stories of O. Henry; his work is very clever with his interesting wordplay and twist endings.
    "there is an absolute
    and that must be in the heart"

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    wow wow wow, I am very glad to see so much help! Hey guys you do not know how much I do appreciate all this!

    So to say, I love Salinger, both The Catcher In the Rye and Franny and Zooey, actually I was thinking of taking them for my work, but unfortunatelly I cannot. Almost all of the very known books it is out of question for me, well, for the teachers of mine. There have been done a lot of theses on that books. The only chance to keep with the theme of humour is to choose something less common. I do not throw it away, Franny and Zooey, though. (The same about Cuckoo´s Nest - quite known.)

    I think I will have another quick thinking about Twain. I have considered it old. And I will see what I can do with Vonnegut and Thoreau. I am glad I was not so far with finding the same names. I will also have a look on the others you have recommended me.

    Let´s say do not go just for strictly american literature. If there is something else.

    I want you to check out these that I have found and tell me what you think about them.

    Maya Angelou
    Gary Paulsen
    Christopher Paul Curtis
    Karren Hesse
    Kevin Brooks
    Norma Fox Mazer
    Angela Johnson
    Lois Lowry
    Seymour Simon
    Daphne du Maurier

    To tell the truth, there is quite of them. Sorry for the long list. Now, I am also looking for a literature with the teenage protagonists.
    Have fun and share your experience!

  13. #13
    Ace of Spades
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    Definitely read We Have Always Lived In The Castle, which features one female teenage protagonist living with her older sister and uncle.

    Most of the town is out of sorts and hostile to them overall the fact they're parents and brother were fatally poisoned. Brilliant, simply brilliant book.

    Told from the younger (teenage) sister's perspective who is an odd loner.

  14. #14
    Teenage protaganists? Well, you could try -
    obviously Salinger's catcher in the rye
    The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
    A Separate Peace -John Knowles
    in the interest of being objective, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, although i am NOT a fan of this book
    You could also try The Outsiders, though not generally considered classical literature


    I know there's others, I'll post as I remember.

  15. #15
    dreamer genoveva's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kvetinka View Post
    Another request: can you recommend me some books concerning humour, any kind of humour (ironic, satiric, dry, gallows, funny)? And also if there is anyone to tell me which books to read that deal with emigration, exile.

    Thousands of thanks!
    Have you checked out Sherman Alexie's short stories? He has several books of them. The language is incredibly simple with some incredibly deep messages. He is a contemporary Native American author from Seattle, Washington, USA. His main characters tend to be teens and the issues of the Native American segregation from the rest of the USA is a huge theme. I used his short story collections from The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven in my high school level American Literature, and my students were very responsive to it.

    For something less contemporary, Kate Chopin is not a bad choice. She has a couple great short stories, and a very short novel, about 150 pages, Herland that is an interesting read. Does not deal with some of the requests you made though regarding humor, teen, or emmigration.

    Good luck!
    "I have so often dreamed of you that you become unreal." ~ Robert Desnos

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