William Williams

The Great American Novel

This 1923 novel by the Pulitzer Prize–winning poet and author of Paterson satirizes American colonization, creative ambition, and the novel form itself.
One of the greatest American writers of the twentieth century, William Carlos Williams was an avid experimentalist in prose as well as poetry. Concerned about the state of the American novel, a form he felt was stunted by traditional tropes and genres, he set out to both parody and reject the prevailing clichés of fiction.
The result of this audacious project was The Great American Novel, which tells the story of a Ford car in love with a Mack truck. A hilarious satire of Americanism and a brilliant example of literary invention, Williams’s short novel set a precedent for American postmodern literature and metafiction.
94 printed pages
Original publication

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