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Great American Novel

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NEWS
June 30, 1996
THE SUN SOUGHT GUIDANCE ON WHAT TO RE-READ ON THE FOURTH: This year the United States of America will have been around for 220 years. From all that time, in your judgment what book has come closest to earning the title "The GreatAmerican Novel"? In three sentences or less, why?Ronald KozlowskiAnne Arundel County Public Library director."My Antonia" by Willa Cather showcases the struggles and triumphs of the last large wave of European immigrants in their quest for freedom, free land and a future for their children.
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NEWS
By Jacqueline Scott | May 16, 2013
Last weekend, the film "The Great Gatsby" was reported to have earned a whopping $51 million, according to Business Insider. Just prior to its release, however, many critics ripped the film for distorting the classic novel on which it is based with over-the-top production, including 3-D images and a modern soundtrack produced by Jay-Z. This is the third time that one of the most well-known flawed heroes of 20th century fiction has had his story told on the big screen. But unlike its B-movie 1949 adaptation or drab 1974 version starring Robert Redford, this film explodes with excess - just as Jay Gatsby had intended with his mansion parties on the West Egg. It also gives audiences yet another chance to analyze the one-time Bolton Hill resident F. Scott Fitzgerald's version of the Great American Novel, this time as told through the lens of director Baz Luhrmann.
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NEWS
By MICHAEL PAKENHAM | June 30, 1996
I was just about to say you never know what to expect except that most people do and then get disappointed when it doesn't happen that way or make a bunch of excuses and pretty soon begin to remember that was what they had really expected anyway, so they were right all along.Huck Finn didn't surprise me.On specifics, maybe I was surprised that William Faulkner turned up only once and that in a barn-door scattershot entry. Somebody might have pitched Nathaniel Hawthorne. I might have been tempted to offer Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" if only to provoke a squabble about its novel-ness.
FEATURES
By Dave Rosenthal and The Baltimore Sun | May 6, 2013
Harper Lee's leap into the headlines with a lawsuit against a New York literary agent is a remarkable change for the reclusive author, who wrote a great American novel a half-century ago and has hardly been heard from since. Another famous author/recluse, J.D. Salinger, popped up in a legal challenge in a few years ago, when he tried to halt publication of "60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye," an unauthorized sequel to his classic coming of age novel. A settlement of that lawsuit -- coming after Salinger died -- limited the sale of the book in the U.S. and Canada.  Now Lee, author of "To Kill a Mockingbird, " has accused her former agent, Samuel Pinkus, and others of trying to deprive her of royalties from the novel.
NEWS
By Arthur Hirsch and Arthur Hirsch,SUN STAFF | November 16, 1997
In January 1936, William Faulkner had just completed his latest novel and begun his latest drinking binge. He handed the new manuscript to a friend and said, "I want you to read this. ... I think it's the best novel yet written by an American."It sounded like the bourbon talking, but Faulkner was right. Still is. The fellow whom Faulkner had met while working for Warner Bros. held in his hands the world's only copy of what would become - after some revision -"Absalom, Absalom!", the publication of which should have by now settled the question of what is The Great American Novel.
FEATURES
By Dave Rosenthal and The Baltimore Sun | May 6, 2013
Harper Lee's leap into the headlines with a lawsuit against a New York literary agent is a remarkable change for the reclusive author, who wrote a great American novel a half-century ago and has hardly been heard from since. Another famous author/recluse, J.D. Salinger, popped up in a legal challenge in a few years ago, when he tried to halt publication of "60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye," an unauthorized sequel to his classic coming of age novel. A settlement of that lawsuit -- coming after Salinger died -- limited the sale of the book in the U.S. and Canada.  Now Lee, author of "To Kill a Mockingbird, " has accused her former agent, Samuel Pinkus, and others of trying to deprive her of royalties from the novel.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Pakenham | July 4, 1999
What's the point? Well, for the fun of it, and to startle myself and maybe a few others into thinking, or thinking a little bit differently. So on this American birthday have a look, give a thought, to the 18 serious nominations on these pages for the most neglected of great American books.They speak for themselves, and I have nothing to add to them -- or detract. I found it pleasing, somehow, that of the 18 responses we are publishing there is not a single duplication. It also charmed me that six of the 18 are books that not only I have not read, but was not aware of.I am ashamed to say I can't be quite sure how many of them I have actually read.
NEWS
By Jacqueline Scott | May 16, 2013
Last weekend, the film "The Great Gatsby" was reported to have earned a whopping $51 million, according to Business Insider. Just prior to its release, however, many critics ripped the film for distorting the classic novel on which it is based with over-the-top production, including 3-D images and a modern soundtrack produced by Jay-Z. This is the third time that one of the most well-known flawed heroes of 20th century fiction has had his story told on the big screen. But unlike its B-movie 1949 adaptation or drab 1974 version starring Robert Redford, this film explodes with excess - just as Jay Gatsby had intended with his mansion parties on the West Egg. It also gives audiences yet another chance to analyze the one-time Bolton Hill resident F. Scott Fitzgerald's version of the Great American Novel, this time as told through the lens of director Baz Luhrmann.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun | April 21, 2013
David Poyer is a retired naval officer, and most of the 34 thrillers that he's written draw on his experience serving in the waters of the Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific, Caribbean and Persian Gulf. So it was inevitable that at some point he'd take on the whale of all tales, "Moby Dick. " But try as Poyer might, he couldn't figure out how to write the sequel to Herman Melville's great American novel. Then one day, while the 63-year-old Poyer was teaching a creative writing course at Pennsylvania's Wilkes University, the solution came to him in a flash: "When I'm brainstorming with students, my brain doubles its IQ after a short period of time from my usually reptilian torpor at home," the 63-year-old Poyer said in a telephone interview.
FEATURES
By A Reader's Guide to Twentieth-Century Writers | December 13, 1998
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)Fitzgerald was distantly related to Francis Scott Key, to whom he is a namesake.His first novel, "This Side of Paradise," catapulted him into wide popularity. It was autobiographical, featuring a male student at Princeton as the protagonist.Fitzgerald spent the 1920s living a glamorous life and even chronicled his decadent generation with "The Great Gatsby," for which he is best known."The Great Gatsby" is arguably the great American novel.Pub Date: 12/13/98
ENTERTAINMENT
By Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun | April 21, 2013
David Poyer is a retired naval officer, and most of the 34 thrillers that he's written draw on his experience serving in the waters of the Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific, Caribbean and Persian Gulf. So it was inevitable that at some point he'd take on the whale of all tales, "Moby Dick. " But try as Poyer might, he couldn't figure out how to write the sequel to Herman Melville's great American novel. Then one day, while the 63-year-old Poyer was teaching a creative writing course at Pennsylvania's Wilkes University, the solution came to him in a flash: "When I'm brainstorming with students, my brain doubles its IQ after a short period of time from my usually reptilian torpor at home," the 63-year-old Poyer said in a telephone interview.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Pakenham | July 4, 1999
What's the point? Well, for the fun of it, and to startle myself and maybe a few others into thinking, or thinking a little bit differently. So on this American birthday have a look, give a thought, to the 18 serious nominations on these pages for the most neglected of great American books.They speak for themselves, and I have nothing to add to them -- or detract. I found it pleasing, somehow, that of the 18 responses we are publishing there is not a single duplication. It also charmed me that six of the 18 are books that not only I have not read, but was not aware of.I am ashamed to say I can't be quite sure how many of them I have actually read.
NEWS
By Arthur Hirsch and Arthur Hirsch,SUN STAFF | November 16, 1997
In January 1936, William Faulkner had just completed his latest novel and begun his latest drinking binge. He handed the new manuscript to a friend and said, "I want you to read this. ... I think it's the best novel yet written by an American."It sounded like the bourbon talking, but Faulkner was right. Still is. The fellow whom Faulkner had met while working for Warner Bros. held in his hands the world's only copy of what would become - after some revision -"Absalom, Absalom!", the publication of which should have by now settled the question of what is The Great American Novel.
NEWS
By MICHAEL PAKENHAM | June 30, 1996
I was just about to say you never know what to expect except that most people do and then get disappointed when it doesn't happen that way or make a bunch of excuses and pretty soon begin to remember that was what they had really expected anyway, so they were right all along.Huck Finn didn't surprise me.On specifics, maybe I was surprised that William Faulkner turned up only once and that in a barn-door scattershot entry. Somebody might have pitched Nathaniel Hawthorne. I might have been tempted to offer Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" if only to provoke a squabble about its novel-ness.
NEWS
June 30, 1996
THE SUN SOUGHT GUIDANCE ON WHAT TO RE-READ ON THE FOURTH: This year the United States of America will have been around for 220 years. From all that time, in your judgment what book has come closest to earning the title "The GreatAmerican Novel"? In three sentences or less, why?Ronald KozlowskiAnne Arundel County Public Library director."My Antonia" by Willa Cather showcases the struggles and triumphs of the last large wave of European immigrants in their quest for freedom, free land and a future for their children.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Pakenham | July 29, 2001
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: The Only Authoritative Text, by Mark Twain, edited by Victor Fischer and Lin Salamo, with original illustrations by E.W. Kemble and John Harley (The Mark Twain Library, 561 pages, $14.95). Any Mark Twain enthusiast knows that in 1990 significant parts of the original manuscript of Huck Finn -- lost for 100 years --were found in a Los Angeles attic. That material, along with an exhaustive re-examination of other sources and interpretations, has been incorporated into this text.
FEATURES
By Elizabeth Large | February 3, 1991
When I last talked to Nora Frenkiel she was at home doin three loads of laundry on a snowy Friday afternoon. "Isn't that what always happens," I asked her, "when you take a year off from work to write the Great American Novel?" (I was feeling more than a little envy, I have to admit, although I don't particularly like doing laundry.)Nora, a features writer for The Sun, has been on leave since last October. To keep her hand in, she's done a couple of pieces for the magazine, including our cover story two weeks ago, "A Place for Nicole," and this week's essay, "Love Among the Hardware."
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