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Walking Point : American Narratives of Vietnam - Thomas Myers

Walking Point

American Narratives of Vietnam

Hardcover Published: 7th July 1988
ISBN: 9780195053517
Number Of Pages: 272

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Arguing that the unprecedented nature of our first postmodernist war demanded either the revision of traditional modes of war writing or the discovery of new styles that would render the emotional and psychological center of a new national trauma, this study assesses the most important novels and personal memoirs written by Americans about the Vietnam War. Myers examines the work of Tim O'Brien, David Halberstam, Ward Just, Stephen Wright, John Del Vecchio, and others working in the modes of realism, the classical memoir, black humor, revised romanticism, and mnemonic narrative. Drawing on the work of thinkers such as Hayden White, Fredric Jameson, and Michel Foucault--whose understanding of the written text as a battleground of competing historical voices expands any definition of historical text--Myers defines the historical novel as a text that self-consciously and imaginatively shapes lived experience into a readable aesthetic form.

Industry Reviews

"Walking Point is by far the best commentary I have read on the literature of the Vietnam War: lucid, thoughtful, and full of fresh insights, not only on the writing to come out of the War, but on the War itself. Too often, Vietnam War fiction and memoir has been viewed as a dark and exotic tributary of the American literary mainstream. Thomas Myers performs an invaluable service in showing that its headwaters begin with Crane, Melville, and Cooper, and that it is as much a part of our national literature as the works of Heller, Mailer, Jones, and Hemingway."--Philip Caputo "Intelligent, well cited and wide-ranging."--Journal of American Studies "This book belongs in all research-level literature collections."--Library Journal "The critical method gives the analyses breadth and depth, and the extensive notes and secondary references provide resonance and authority to readings that could stand firmly without the assistance of either....Walking Point is well conceived and deftly written, a major contribution to both literary criticism and American intellectual history."--American Literature "Reaches far beyond its topicality of subject to become one of the most astute analyses of not just fiction abou the war but of the larger transformation that has come to characterize the style of writing other critics have labored to call postmodern, poststructural, innovative, or antitraditional....Stands as one of the best self-contained treatments of what distinguishes post-modern American fiction."--American Literary Scholarship "Walking Point is by far the best commentary I have read on the literature of the Vietnam War: lucid, thoughtful, and full of fresh insights, not only on the writing to come out of the War, but on the War itself. Too often, Vietnam War fiction and memoir has been viewed as a dark and exotic tributary of the American literary mainstream. Thomas Myers performs an invaluable service in showing that its headwaters begin with Crane, Melville, and Cooper, and that it is as much a part of our national literature as the works of Heller, Mailer, Jones, and Hemingway."--Philip Caputo "Intelligent, well cited and wide-ranging."--Journal of American Studies "This book belongs in all research-level literature collections."--Library Journal "The critical method gives the analyses breadth and depth, and the extensive notes and secondary references provide resonance and authority to readings that could stand firmly without the assistance of either....Walking Point is well conceived and deftly written, a major contribution to both literary criticism and American intellectual history."--American Literature "Reaches far beyond its topicality of subject to become one of the most astute analyses of not just fiction abou the war but of the larger transformation that has come to characterize the style of writing other critics have labored to call postmodern, poststructural, innovative, or antitraditional....Stands as one of the best self-contained treatments of what distinguishes post-modern American fiction."--American Literary Scholarship "Myers has produced, without question, the best work on Vietnam War literature to date. Myers's selection of works for extended anaysis is excellent, and dozens more are treated peripherally."--South Central Review "[Myers's] analysis of the discrepancy that existed between mythic idealism and sordid reality in the Vietnamese conflict as compared with earlier wars, and its effect on the American conscience, is especially interesting....This book belongs in all research-level literature collections."--Library Journal

Introduction: Walking Point in the American Archivep. 3
The Camera's Eyep. 34
The Memoir as "Wise Endurance,"p. 70
Hearts of Darknessp. 105
The Writer as Alchemistp. 140
Shades of Retrievalp. 186
Afterword: Toward an American Peacep. 222
Notesp. 229
Works Citedp. 237
Indexp. 243
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195053517
ISBN-10: 0195053516
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 7th July 1988
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.79 x 14.83  x 2.39
Weight (kg): 0.53

Earn 251 Qantas Points
on this Book