In the American Grain Essay

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Williams's strategy in In The America Grain, based as it is on a kind of recuperative aesthetics, is in its way emblematic of American Modernism's interest in history—whether that history be defined as regional, national, European, or Classical. We have seen that while his strategy makes operative the creative potential of an aesthetic historiographic practice, the contradictions which it generates are also a measure both of the dilemmas inherent in such a practice, and the extent to which they are an outgrowth of a nineteenth-century epistemological and representational crisis. The confusion of History and Nature in Williams's book is, for example, connected with its strategic conflation of history and fiction, a conflation which points to the seemingly unavoidable paradox of a post-Nietzschean aesthetic historicism like that which animates In The American Grain: the formal and critical power of historical discourse is given free rein in a...

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This section contains 888 words
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In the American Grain from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.