Having considered the complexity of American literature in social, historical and ideological context, at the same time recognizing American literature has been a Western literature, related to the thought and art movements that have crossed Europe and America. One advantage of a collaborated book, with authors from two sides of the Atlantic is a breadth of perspective and mixture of critical attitudes.
Malcolm Bradbury was a novelist, critic, television dramatist and Emeritus Professor of American Studies at the University of East Anglia. He is author of the novels Eating People Is Wrong (1959); Stepping Westward (1965); The History Man (1975), which won the Royal Society of Literature Heinemann Prize and was adapted as a famous television series; Rates of Exchange (1983), which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Cuts: A Very Short Novel (1987), also televised; and Doctor Criminale (1992).His critical works include The Modern American Novel (1984; revised edition, 1992), No, Not Bloomsbury (essays, 1987), The Modern World: Ten Great Writers (1988), The Modern British Novel (1993) and Dangerous Pilgrimages (1995).He has also edited Modernism (with James McFarlane, 1976), The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories (1988) and The Atlas of Literature (1997). He is the author of a collection of seven stories and nine parodies, entitled Who Do You Think You Are? (1976), and of several works of humour and satire, including Why Come to Slaka? (1986), Unsent Letters (1988; revised edition, 1995) and Mensonge (1987). Many of his books are published by Penguin. In addition, he has written many television plays and the television 'novels' The Gravy Train and The Gravy Train Goes East. He has also adapted several television series, including Tom Sharpe's Porterhouse Blue, Kingsley Amis's The Green Man and Stella Gibbons's Cold Comfort Farm.Malcolm Bradbury was awarded the CBE in 1991 and died in 2000. Richard Ruland is Professor of English and Professor of Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis.