American Literature








  General Index

  wit & humor


obj. correlative
iceberg principle


Adams, Henry
Alcott, Louisa May
Bankhead, Tallulah
Barth, John
Barthelme, Donald
Bellow, Saul
Benchley, Robert
Berra, Yogi
Bierce, Ambrose
Billings, Josh
Black Elk
Black Hawk of the Sac
Bradford, William
Bradstreet, Anne
Brant of the Mohawks
Brown, Charles Brockden
Castaneda, Carlos
Cather, Willa
Cooper, James Fenimore
Crane, Stephen
Crčvecoeur, Hector St. John de
Cunningham, J. V.
DeLillo, Don
DeVries, Peter
Dickinson, Emily
Douglass, Frederick
Dreiser, Theodore
Dunbar, Paul Laurence
Eastman, Max
Edwards, Jonathan
Eliot, T. S.
Ellison, Ralph
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Faulkner, William
Fitzgerald, F. Scott
Franklin, Benjamin
Frost, Robert
Fuller, Margaret
Goldwyn, Samuel
Hawthorne, Nathaniel
Hecht, Ben
Hemingway, Ernest
Henry, O.
Holmes, Oliver Wendell
Howells, William Dean
Irving, John
Irving, Washington
James, Henry
Jefferson, Thomas
Joseph of the Nez Perce
Kennedy, John F.
Kerouac, Jack
King, Martin Luther Jr.
Lincoln, Abraham
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
Lowell, James Russell
Luce, Clare Boothe
Mamet, David
McCarthy, Cormac
McCarthy, Mary
Melville, Herman
Mencken, H. L.
Miller, Arthur
Moore, Marianne
Morrison, Toni
Nash, Ogden
Norris, Frank
O’Connor, Flannery
O’Neill, Eugene
Paglia, Camille
Paine, Thomas
Parker, Dorothy
Perelman, S. J.
Phillips, Wendell
Poe, Edgar Allan
Porter, Katherine Anne
Pound, Ezra
Pushmataha of the Choctaws
Pynchon, Thomas
Robinson, Marilynne
Rogers, Will
Roth, Philip
Salinger, J. D.
Sogoyewapha of the Senecas
Stegner, Wallace
Stein, Gertrude
Steinbeck, John
Stevens, Wallace
Stevenson, Adlai
Stowe, Harriet Beecher
Styron, William
Tecumseh of the Shawnee
Thoreau, Henry David
Thurber, James
Tocqueville, Alexis de
Twain, Mark
Updike, John
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr.
Wallace, David Foster
Waowawenaonk of the Iroquois
Warren, Robert Penn
Welty, Eudora
Wharton, Edith
White, E. B.
Whitman, Walt
Wilder, Thornton
Williams, Tennessee
Williams, William Carlos
Winthrop, John



    The documents labeled QUOTATIONS are not lists. The quotations in each case are arranged in a meaningful order like a monologue, usually in topical groupings, to convey as much as possible about the person in his or her own words: outlook, character, personality—even soul, if there is any evidence of one. Each quotations document is comparable to a portrait. I have the same desire as a painter to make each portrait as true to my perception of reality and as revealing of the subject as I can.

    In each case I have assembled the most popular quotations in currency, selected the best and then added more that contribute to the portrait, especially quotations about writing and literature. Depending on the subject and on how many apt quotations are available, some portraits are detailed and others sketchy. As a rule, statements by characters in fiction should not be equated with the views of the author, since even narrators can be unreliable. At the same time, authors often speak through characters. Recognizing when they do depends on the judgment acquired through prolonged study of the subject.

    No words have been added to any quotation [except in brackets occasionally for grammar, clarification, or additional pertinent information]. Lines of poetry are sometimes presented as prose. Some quotations have been lifted out of sentences, cutting extraneous words, and presented as complete sentences with periods added. It is important to bear in mind that most of the quotations have been lifted out of context and placed in a different context. The selection, grouping, chronology, and juxtapositions of the quotations—and especially the topical headlines—constitute literary criticism. Juxtapositions of quotations out of context expose contradictions, reveal preoccupations and generate ironies, insights and humor. Readers are invited to interpret the quotations and juxtapositions for themselves.

    These portraits are addressed to the public rather than to academics--to entice, entertain and inform. Hence sources of quotations are usually not cited so as to avoid cluttering the pages, disrupting continuity, and distracting readers from content. Topical headlines are distracting enough. Literary scholars should interpret these quotations for themselves in their original contexts.

  Michael Hollister (2015)