The entire span of American literature, in all its variety, from the early seventeenth-century to the late 1980s, is vividly recorded in this authoritative book. Professor Conn summarises the distinctive achievement of the novelists, poets, playwrights, and prose writers who together make up the fabric of America's literary heritage. Classics such as Thoreau, Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Norman Mailer and Toni Morrison - all are expertly placed in their literary, historical, and cultural context. The scope of the book is enlarged by helpful chronological tables, an annotated guide to further reading, and above all by abundant illustrations. Its almost 200 half tones and colour plates comprise portraits and photographs of writers, original illustrations from novels, scenes from famous productions of plays, reproductions of manuscripts, paintings, cartoons, and rare printed material - an exceptional range of visual images which enrich and extend the book's discussion.