Russell Banks
In Search of Freedom
by Kevin T. McEneaney
June 2010, 221pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38165-2
$55, £43, 48€, A76
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38166-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

An American author who took inspiration from predecessors as diverse as Homer, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Nelson Algren and Mark Twain, Russell Banks’s critically acclaimed works of fiction and poetry have been translated into 20 languages. The ingenious ironies of Banks’s writing and his sly wit deserve a detailed analysis and explanation.

This book provides comprehensive, up-to-date commentary and critical guidance on the writings of Russell Banks.

Despite being a globally successful writer who has been published for over 30 years and is credited with two successful movies based on his work, there is but one prior study of Russell Banks’s work in English, which is now nearly a decade old. Russell Banks: In Search of Freedom offers the only modern, complete commentary on his work and establishes Banks as one of the leaders in the postmodern, neorealist tradition of American fiction.

This critical guide contains a brief biography of Banks, describing the details of his life that shaped his philosophies, plot themes, and settings, such as New England and the Caribbean. Russell Banks then illustrates how Banks moved beyond his working-class origins and explored problems in race, communication, sexual and family relations, religion, popular culture, landscape, and more recently, the upper class. The final chapter explains Banks’s unique vision of American history and liberty.


  • A select bibliography provides a list of essential background reading
  • An index offers quick access to themes and literary influences
Kevin T. McEneaney is the author of two poetry collections, The Enclosed Garden and Longing, as well as Praeger's Tom Wolfe's America: Heroes, Pranksters, and Fools, which won a 2010 Outstanding Academic Title award from Choice magazine, a publication of the American Library Association. McEneaney has taught at SUNY Purchase College, St. Thomas Aquinas College, University of Hartford, Quinnipiac University, and Marist College.
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