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The Fiction of Gore Vidal and E.L. Doctorow

Writing the Historical Self

Stephen Harris

This book offers a close study of the relationship between the individual and history – between a particularly American idea of self and how this is experienced in relation to the broader flow of events and time that shape human experience. While the discussion concentrates on Gore Vidal’s historical novels Burr and 1876, and E.L. Doctorow’s The Book of Daniel and Ragtime, these readings provide a full consideration of each author’s views on history and historical fiction, the importance of individualism and corresponding conceptions of history within American culture, and the role of the historical novel in American literature.
Contents: History, Literature and the Politics of Self – Gore Vidal: Literary Histories / Historical Revisions – E.L. Doctorow: Self, Community and Visions of the Fast.