Definition of the great American novel from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

the great American novel

 
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any novel that is regarded as having successfully represented an important time in US history or one that tells a story that is typical of America. Many US writers have tried to write such a book and The Great American Novel is the title of novels by William Carlos Williams (1923) and Philip Roth (1973). Books that are considered to deserve to be called 'the great American novel' include Huckleberry Finn, Gone with the Wind and The Grapes of Wrath.