This is a unique collection of primary resource materials for the study of post-Independence American fiction. The set provides a comprehensive selection of significant reviews, short articles and essays drawn from famous periodicals such as the Atlantic Monthly, the Nation, and Galaxy, as well as many of the lesser known journals and magazines of the period. Americans on Fiction is the first extensive collection of American criticism of American and European fiction to be published. The material presented here will compel a reinterpretation of America's determining contribution to the evolution of theories of fiction in the nineteenth century and beyond. This edition will be of interest to students and researchers in American literature and American studies, and provides a broad selection of primary resource materials which come from scarce copies of original and rare periodicals. The central theme of this edition is the evolution of the novel in America. In the colonial period, and for some time after independence, the writing and reading of fiction in America was condemned by members of the Puritan establishment for creating 'momentary scenes of unreal bliss', and twisting 'the understanding into every obliquity of distortion'. At that point, few could have foreseen that by the close of the nineteenth century Americans would not only dominate the theory and practice of fiction but also be among its principal innovators in the realms of naturalism and modernism. Most of the writings in this edition have never been reprinted before, despite their enormous and lasting influence on contemporary criticism and fiction. The work of Thomas Sergeant Perry and George Lathrop,for example, is reprinted here for the first time, alongside the only available edition of Lafcadio Hearn's American essays. These writers had a profound influence upon Henry James, an influence that has been understated, even ignored, not least because the essays and reviews he read in his formative years have never been reprinted. These volumes are far from confined, however, to the penetrating voices of white male high culture, and it is one of the priorities of the edition to demonstrate the role of women in the development of American fiction, the contributions of black writers and the burgeoning corpus of Amerindian writing.