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American Gothic

A Life of American's Most Famous Painting

Steven Biel (Author, Harvard University)


“Masterful. . . . This is cultural studies at its best.”—Chase Madar, Time Out New York

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • June 2006
  • ISBN 978-0-393-32855-4
  • 5.5 × 8.2 in / 128 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“In his absorbing and often funny cultural study, Steven Biel traces the life of a painting that most of us have seen countless times but haven’t given much thought to . . . [he] persuasively shows how the multiple interpretations of the work's meanings reflect cultural shifts in American society.” — John McMurtrie, San Francisco Chronicle

“A slim but jam-packed record of critical reaction.” — Matthew Price, Washington Post

“A lively cultural history tracing the popular reception of Wood’s masterpiece that suggests how thoroughly the work has taken on a life of its own in the national imagination. . . . Biel argues persuasively that Wood's imaginative identification of Midwestern rectitude and repression with the American identity and character has become one of the work's most enduring legacies. . . . [A] rich, detailed portrait of a native masterpiece that is surely the most recognizable American artwork of the 20th century.” — Glenn McNatt, Baltimore Sun

“[Biel] writes with wit and broad knowledge.” — Jeanine Basinger, New York Times

Also by Steven Biel All

  1. Book CoverDown with the Old Canoe: A Cultural History of the Titanic Disaster

    Updated Edition / Paperback

  2. Book CoverTitanica: The Disaster of the Century in Poetry, Song, and Prose


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