Bear with me as I advocate the death of the Great American Novel...The problem is in the phrase itself. “Great” and “Novel” are fine enough. But “the” is needlessly exclusionary, and “American” is unfortunately parochial. The whole, capitalized, seems to speak to a deep and abiding insecurity, perhaps a colonial legacy. How odd it would be to call Homer’s “Iliad” or Rumi’s “Masnavi” “the Great Eastern Mediterranean Poem.