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The Great American Novel: We’ve been looking for one since the 1860s. Why?

The concept of the GAN (Great American Novel) seems to have been born in the late 1860s. In an 1868 TheNation essay, Civil War veteran John William DeForest—himself an aspiring GAN-ist—described the GAN as “the picture of the ordinary emotions and manners of American existence,” a work that painted “the American soul.”

The Great American Novel: Fitzgerald, Wharton, Morrison on the search. – Slate Magazine.

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