The problems of isolating out a strand of one kind of fiction while American writers enjoyed being at the pinnacle of international acclaim are not only arbitrary—they are likely to seem fabricated. Any critic makes a series of judgment calls about which books—and which authors—deserve preservation in the annals of literary history. Even when there is agreement among different critics, predictions are never infallible. The revision of agreed-upon “history” is a practice so commonplace it surprises no one.