Beyond ethnicity consent and descent in american culture
This book looks at the role of 'ethnicity' in American literature and what that literature has said - and continues to say - about the diverse American culture. Discussing works from every period of American history, Sollors focuses particularly on the tension between 'descent' and 'consent' - between the concern for one's racial, ethnic, and familial heritage and the conflicting desire to choose one's own destiny, even if such choices go against one's heritage. The study ranges from Puritan autobiographies to those of 20th-century Afro-Americans and immigrants, from Royall Tyler and the first American plays to Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein, from the writings of Cotton Mather to Liquid Sky (a 'post-punk' science-fiction film by a Russian emigre). The author shows how the diverse creators of American culture have generally been attracted to what is most new and modern.