This book comes from one of America's preeminent critics and essayists. A new book in the series, "Writers on Writing" casts new light on some of America's literary masters. One of the foremost critics in contemporary American letters, Christopher Benfey has long been known for his brilliant and incisive essays. Appearing in such publications as the New York "Review of Books", the "New Republic", and the "Times Literary Supplement", Benfey's writings have helped us reimagine the American literary canon. In "American Audacity", Benfey gathers his finest writings on eminent American authors (including Emerson, Dickinson, Whitman, Millay, Faulkner, Frost, and Welty), bringing to his subjects - as the "New York Times Book Review" has said of his earlier work - 'a scholar's thoroughness, a critic's astuteness and a storyteller's sense of drama.' Although Benfey's interests range from art to literature to social history, this collection focuses on particular American writers and the various ways in which an American identity and culture inform their work.
Broken into three sections, 'Northerners', 'Southerners', and 'The Union Reconsidered', "American Audacity" explores a variety of canonical works, old (Emerson, Dickinson, Millay, Whitman), modern (Faulkner, Dos Passos), and more contemporary (Gary Snyder, E. L. Doctorow).