Fictions of America


Fictions of America: The Book of Firsts is absolutely essential; what a transformative reading experience. My first reaction upon finishing Fictions of America: The Book of Firsts: if only I had this extraordinary volume when I was younger. Second reaction: I am so grateful to have it now.”
—Junot Díaz, Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao 

An unprecedented compendium of milestones in the history of American literature, this anthology presents all of the “first” literary works that broke barriers, inaugurated new traditions, and prove that the imagination of diverse authors was one of the most powerful forces in shaping our nation. Fictions of America brings together the first published work by literary pioneers who, through bold self-expression, helped create what we call America today. Surprising, thrilling, and charged with the energy of originality and innovation, this eminently teachable collection serves as a foundation and an inspiration for imagining our shared future. Draws on the most up-to-date scholarship for concise introductions to each work and author, key suggestions for further readings, and reliable source information.

Ulrich Baer holds a B.A. from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Yale. A widely published author, he is University Professor at New York University, and has been awarded Guggenheim, Getty, and Alexander von Humboldt fellowships. He has written numerous books on poetry, photography and cultural politics, and edited and translated Rainer Maria Rilke’s The Dark Interval, Letters on Life, and Letters to a Young Poet. He hosts leading writers and artists to talk about big ideas and great books on the Think About It podcast. In the Warbler Press Contemplations series, he has published: Nietzsche, Rilke, Dickinson, Wilde, and Shakespeare on Love.

Smaran Dayal is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at New York University, working on a dissertation on Afrofuturist and postcolonial science fiction. He holds a B.A. in English and American Studies from the University of Freiburg, an M.A. in American Studies from the Humboldt University, Berlin, and an M.Phil. in Comparative Literature from NYU. He is one of the co-organizers of the NYU Postcolonial, Race and Diaspora Studies Colloquium, and co-translator of the book The Queer Intersectional in Contemporary Germany.

“A fascinating series of texts, some familiar, many not, that does nothing less than uncover a new American literature … essential and eye-opening to students and scholars alike.”
—Ross Posnock, Columbia University

“No understanding of the literary origins of the United States or its many peoples will look the same after you read this feast of literary firsts.”
—Robert Dale Parker, University of Illinois

Price: $19.95 (paperback) | $9.99 (ebook)
Pages: 347 pages
Book dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 in
Published: November 23, 2020
978-1-7357789-8-3 (paperback)
978-1-7357789-9-0 (ebook)