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This book brings together leading critics in American literature to address the representation of time throughout a wide range of genres, methodologies, and chronological periods. American literature, from its beginnings to the present, provides a particularly rich set of texts to examine in this regard, with its interest in history, modernity and progress. Each essay considers how time embeds itself in a variety of textual representations, including Native American rituals, Shaker dances, novels, poetry, and magazines in order to provide readers with a capacious view of time's constitutive role in American literature. The essays are organized into four sections - Materializing Time, Performing Time, Timing Time, and Theorizing Time. Each section reflects a particular approach to the question of time, but taken as a whole the volume makes visible unexpected temporal patterns that cut across time period and genre.