Books: Of Slime & the River

THE RIVER ROAD—Frances Parkinson Keyes—Messner ($3).

WRITTEN ON THE WIND — Robert Wilder—Putnam ($2.75).

Somewhere between the rise of the New Deal and World War II, the U.S. as a community fell apart. No chart registered the collapse more quickly and more clinically than U.S. literature. World War I had been preceded and followed by unprecedented bursts of U.S. writing. The American Renaissance, as it was bravely called, was studded with innovators like Theodore Dreiser, Edgar Lee Masters, Scott Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, Amy Lowell, Sherwood Anderson, Vachel Lindsay, Sinclair Lewis, and with solidly...

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