A Republic in Time: Temporality and Social Imagination in Nineteenth-Century America

A Republic in Time: Temporality and Social Imagination in Nineteenth-Century America

by Thomas M. Allen
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The development of the American nation has typically been interpreted in terms of its expansion through space, specifically its growth westward. In this innovative study, Thomas Allen posits time, not space, as the most significant territory of the young nation. He argues that beginning in the nineteenth century, the actual geography of the nation became less… See more details below

Overview

The development of the American nation has typically been interpreted in terms of its expansion through space, specifically its growth westward. In this innovative study, Thomas Allen posits time, not space, as the most significant territory of the young nation. He argues that beginning in the nineteenth century, the actual geography of the nation became less important, as Americans imagined the future as their true national territory.

Allen explores how transformations in the perception of time shaped American conceptions of democratic society and modern nationhood. He focuses on three ways of imagining time: the romantic historical time that prevailed at the outset of the nineteenth century, the geological "deep time" that arose as widely read scientific works displaced biblical chronology with a new scale of millions of years of natural history, and the technology-driven "clock time" that became central to American culture by century's end. Allen analyzes cultural artifacts ranging from clocks and scientific treatises to paintings and literary narratives to show how Americans made use of these diverse ideas about time to create competing visions of American nationhood.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
[A] pioneering interdisciplinary approach. . . . By integrating time, politics, and national identity, [Allen] deepens and shifts the scholarship of time and timekeeping, adding new variations, subtleties, and dimensions.—Technology and Culture

Well-researched. . . . Draws upon material culture and literary history to present the range of nineteenth-century temporal experiences. . . . Impressive.—American Historical Review

Insightful. . . . Should challenge historians of any specialization to consider how history writing relies on ideas about time that have their own complex history.—The Journal of Southern History

An important, provocative, and imaginative work, one that will challenge and enlighten historians and literary critics alike. . . . Well worth the time.—Reviews in American History

Learned and wide-ranging . . . a revisionist project filled with illuminating and timely surprises. . . . Fresh and revealing. . . . A brilliant contribution.—Historically Speaking

An interesting literary analysis and material cultural investigation into how elite antebellum northern narratives depicted and understood time.—Journal of American History

In this compelling work, Thomas M. Allen argues that spatial transformation was less important in the imagining of America by its people than the perception of time. . . . This shift in thinking opens the reader to envision more complex, and at times competing, ideas of what nationhood meant to Americans during this period.—Indiana Magazine of History

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807868171
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
02/25/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
296
File size:
4 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
This book evinces the hard work and critical thinking of a true scholar. Allen's primary material is incredibly wide-ranging, and each chapter of A Republic in Time takes on a new area of study, from the manufacturing of clocks in America to America's reception of new geological theories. Allen handles each and every area deftly and comprehensively, producing a fascinating study that is a true pleasure to read.—Elizabeth L. Barnes, College of William and Mary

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >