The dissident voice in US culture might almost be said to have been born with the territory. Its span runs from Roger Williams to Thoreau, Anne Bradstreet to Gertrude Stein, Ambrose Bierce to the New Journalism, The Beats to the recent Bad Subjects cyber-crowd. This new study analyses three recent literary branches in the tradition: a re-envisioning of the whole Beat web or circuit; a consortium of postwar "outrider" voices -- Hunter Thompson to Joan Didion to Kathy Acker; and a latest purview of what, all too casually, has been designated "ethnic" writing. The aim is to set up and explore these different counter-seams of modern American writing, those which sit outside, or at least awkwardly within, agreed literary canons.
A. Robert Lee, formerly of the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, is professor of American Literature at Nihon University, Tokyo.