Roderick Mengham Special Commissioned Essay on the American Novel of Manners Hallmark Works In The Novel Of Manners

Hallmark Works In The Novel Of Manners

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

Surveying the many novels of manners that were published in American in the years from the Civil War to World War II reveals more similarities than differences in the plots, styles, techniques, and characters of the works. The authors share an interest in portraying American life through detailed descriptions of everyday life, the frequent use of dialogue, irony, material culture and social behavior. Common elements include themes such as American innocence and experience, rituals of marriage and divorce, transatlantic contrasts, social climbing, education for women. Characters most often are drawn from the upper levels of society where social codes have had a significant amount of time to become defined, or frozen in...

(The entire section is 11517 words.)