Lawrence asserted that 'the proper function of a critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it'. In these highly individual, penetrating essays he has exposed 'the American whole soul' within some of that continent's major works of literature. In seeking to establish the status of writings by such authors as Poe, Melville, Fenimore Cooper and Whitman, Lawrence himself has created a classic work. Studies in Classic American Literature is valuable not only for the light it sheds on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American consciousness, telling 'the truth of the day', but also as a prime example of Lawrence's learning, passion and integrity of judgement.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.