This book traces the tradition of American historical fiction from its origins in the early nineteenth century to the eve of World War II. It examines the historical novel's connections with Enlightenment and Romantic theories of history; with the rise of literary regionalism; with the ambitions of Romantic writers to revive the epic and romance; with changing conceptions of gender roles; and with the authors' troubled responses to the great revolutionary and imperialistic conflicts of the modern era. However, though inevitably much concerned with the theory of genre and with the specific contents of the genre of historical romance, Professor Dekker devotes most of his book to new readings of major texts by James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Allen Tate, Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, and William Faulkner, as well as to the Briton whose name was synonymous with the genre for most of the nineteenth century - Sir Walter Scott. 'The American Historical Romance is the richest, most fully meditated and most rewarding yet written by this author ...It is the most important book on the relations of British and American fiction to come out for many years.
No devotee of the American novel will ignore it.' -- The Times Literary Supplement