The Unkillable Dream of the Great American Novel: Moby-Dick as Test Case

  title={The Unkillable Dream of the Great American Novel: Moby-Dick as Test Case},
  author={Lawrence I. Buell},
  journal={American Literary History},
  pages={132 - 155}
This essay is an interim report on a long-term study of the chimera of the great American novel—the dream either of writing it or seeing it written. The project has three main facets: a chronicle of the dispensations of authorial, critical, and readerly pronouncements (a story with a distinct beginning, several middles, and no end); a historical-formalist comparative examin- ation of several dozen aspirants and/or nominees; and a nation-and-narration metaperspective conceptualizing "American… 
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