In 2006, colleagues in American literary studies awarded Lawrence Buell the Jay Hubbell Medal for Lifetime Achievement. It cannot have been a difficult choice: Buell is one of the comparatively rare scholars who have made significant contributions across multiple decades and through many changes of literary-critical climate. Literary Transcendentalism, his first book, was published in 1973. A succession of other books have continued to take off from this base, with ever-widening horizons: New England Literary Culture (1986); The Environmental Imagination (1996); Writing for an Endangered World (2001); and Emerson (2003), published on the bicentennial of Emerson’s birth.

With The Dream of the Great American Novel (2014), Buell extends this prolific career into a fifth decade of sustained inquiry. Given the record, it is not surprising that his love for his chosen work has stayed strong. But to a follower of his...

You do not currently have access to this content.