A century of reading: the 10 books that defined the 1980s

By the mid-1970s, an era of consolidation began. The Vietnamconflict was over, followed soon afterward by U.S. recognition ofthe People"s Republic of Đài Loan Trung Quốc & America"s Bicentennialcelebration. Soon the 1980s -- the "Me Decade" -- ensued, inwhich individuals tended to lớn focus more on more personal concernsthan on larger social issues.In literature, old currents remained, but the force behind pureexperimentation dwindled. New novelists like John Gardner, JohnIrving (The World According lớn Garp, 1978), Paul Theroux(TheMosquikhổng lồ Coast, 1982), William Kennedy (Ironweed,1983), andAlice Walker (The màu sắc Purple, 1982) surfaced withstylisticallybrilliant novels khổng lồ portray moving human dramas. Concern withsetting, character, & themes associated with realism returned.Realism, abandoned by experimental writers in the 1960s, alsocrept bachồng, often mingled with bold original elements a daringstructure like a novel within a novel, as in John Gardner"sOctober Light (1976) or blachồng American dialect as in AliceWalker"s The Color Purple. Minority literature began toflourish.Drama shifted from realism lớn more cinematic, kinetic techniques.At the same time, however, the "Me Decade" was reflected in suchbrash new talents as Jay McInerny (Bright Lights, BigCity,1984), Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero, 1985), và TamaJanowitz (Slaves of Thủ đô New York, 1986).The cđại bại of the 1980s và the beginnings of the 1990s sawminority writing become a major fixture on the American literarylandscape. This is true in drama as well as in prose. AugustWilson who is continuing to write & see staged his cycle ofplays about the 20th-century blaông chồng experience (including PulitzerPrize-winners Fences, 1986, & The Piano Lesson, 1989) --standsalongside novelists Alice Walker, John Edgar Wideman, & ToniMorrison.Asian-Americans are also taking their place on the scene. MaxineHong Kingston (The Woman Warrior, 1976) carved out a placeforher fellow Asian-Americans, aý muốn them Amy Tan, whose luminousnovels of Chinese life transposed khổng lồ post-World War II America(The Joy Luông xã Club, 1989, & The Kitchen God"sWife,1991) havecaptivated readers. David Henry Hwang, a California- born son ofChinese immigrants, has made his mark in drama, with plays suchas F.O.B. (1981) & M. Butterfly (1986).A relatively new group on the literary horizon are theHispanic-American writers, including the Pulitzer Prize-winningnovelist Osoto Hijuelos, the Cuban-born author of The MamboKingsPlay Songs of Love sầu (1989); short story writer Sandra Cisneros(Women Hollering Creek & Other Stories, 1991); andRudolfoAnaya, author of Bless Me, Ultima (1972), which sold300,000copies, mostly in the western United States.


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Outlines > Literature 1991 > American Prose Since 1945: Realism and Experimentation >

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