Slightly ahead of his time, Walt Whitman welcomed the new energies of American modernism with his 1876 poem “To a Locomotive in Winter.” In it, he hailed the steam engine as “type of the modern - emblem of motion and power - pulse of the continent.” Only seven years earlier at Promontory Summit, Utah, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads were linked by a golden spike driven into the final tie of the nation's first transcontinental rail network. Dynamic, transformative, and “unpent,” modernism's new social, cultural, and technological economies of scale would rapidly remap space, time, and distance in ways that were heretofore unimaginable. Such accelerating velocities of change would increasingly define the quickened “pulse of the continent.” Soon, American modernism would exceed the parochial limits of nation formation in the global reach of its imagined community. Such was the pace of modernization that by 1880 the steam locomotive would be eclipsed by Thomas Edison's demonstration of the electric train in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

Table of Contents

  • The Cambridge Companion to American Modernism
    • Introduction by Walter Kalaidjian
    • Nationalism and the modern American canonby Mark Morrisson
    • Genre
      • Modern American fiction by Rita Barnard
      • Modern American poetry by Cary Nelson
      • Modern American drama by Stephen Watt
    • Culture
      • American modernism and the New Negro Renaissance by Mark A. Sanders
      • Jazz and American modernism by Jed Rasula
      • Visual culture by Michael North
      • The avant-garde phase of American modernism by Marjorie Perloff
    • Society
      • Gender and sexuality by Janet Lyon
      • Regionalism in American modernism byJohn N. Duvall
      • Social representations within American modernism by Paula Rabinowitz
      • Modern American literary criticism byDouglas Mao
    • Further reading
    • Supplementary Material

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