William E. Cain's Review of American Classics: Evolutionary Perspectives by Judith Saunders

Excerpt:American Classics: Evolutionary Perspectives is a very interesting and discerning study, cogently argued, well-written, propelled by Saunders’s knowledge of theory and research in evolutionary biology, post-Darwin. She has made a noteworthy contribution to evolutionary criticism, and, more, generally, to our understanding of American literary and cultural history. American Classics also has important—and controversial—implications for scholarship and teaching. … In American Classics, Saunders sets out, with special skill and distinction, an array of textual interpretations, close readings of American authors, a detailed series of model case studies that are stimulating and persuasive. She convinces me that her approach can make familiar literary texts feel new, reanimating them, impelling us to peruse and ponder them in a new light. … I look forward to the next stage of her research, and to the new directions in the field of evolutionary literary criticism that she is expertly helping to chart and explore.” Read Full Article →