College of Liberal Arts

Department of English



Robert S. Levine
"The American Romance Controversy: A Romance."

In Neutral Ground: New Traditionalism and the American Romance Controversy (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1999), G. R. Thompson and Eric Carl Link lament the decline of the importance of Richard Chase's romance theory to American literary criticism and the concomitant rise in the field of what they regard as a presentist historicism. Neutral Ground offers valuable insights into the importance of the romance/novel distinction for some eighteenth- and nineteenth-century writers, but the monograph is marred by Thompson and Link's unconvincing efforts to blame Donald Pease and the Duke University Press "New Americanists" for all that they dislike about recent Americanist criticism. The authors also fail to develop new and compelling ways of working with romance theory in our current critical moment.







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