Civic Myths: A Law-and-Literature Approach to Citizenship / Edition 1

Civic Myths: A Law-and-Literature Approach to Citizenship / Edition 1

by Brook Thomas
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0807831530

ISBN-13: 9780807831533

Pub. Date: 08/16/2007

Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press

As questions of citizenship generate new debates for this generation of Americans, Brook Thomas argues for revitalizing the role of literature in civic education. Thomas defines civic myths as compelling stories about national origin, membership, and values that are generated by conflicts within the concept of citizenship itself. Selected works of literature, he

Overview

As questions of citizenship generate new debates for this generation of Americans, Brook Thomas argues for revitalizing the role of literature in civic education. Thomas defines civic myths as compelling stories about national origin, membership, and values that are generated by conflicts within the concept of citizenship itself. Selected works of literature, he claims, work on these myths by challenging their terms at the same time that they work with them by relying on the power of narrative to produce compelling new stories.

Civic Myths consists of four case studies: Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and "the good citizen"; Edward Everett Hale's "The Man without a Country" and "the patriotic citizen"; Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and "the independent citizen"; and Maxine Hong Kingston's China Men and "the immigrant citizen." Thomas also provides analysis of the civic mythology surrounding Abraham Lincoln and the case of Ex parte Milligan. Engaging current debates about civil society, civil liberties, civil rights, and immigration, Thomas draws on the complexities of law and literature to probe the complexities of U.S. citizenship.

About the Author:
Brook Thomas, Chancellor's Professor of English at the University of California, Irvine

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807831533
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
08/16/2007
Series:
Cultural Studies of the United States Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents


Preface     xi
Acknowledgments     xiii
Introduction: Working on/with Civic Myths     1
The Scarlet Letter: The Good Citizen, Transgression, and Civil Society     27
"The Man without a Country": The Patriotic Citizen, Lincoln, and Civil Liberties     55
Ex parte Milligan: Civil Liberties v. Civil Rights     102
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: The Independent Citizen, Mugwumpery, and Civil Rights     125
China Men: The Immigrant Citizen, Wong Kim Ark, and Civil Talk     177
Conclusion: Keeping Discussions of U.S. Citizenship Open     215
Notes     239
Index     287

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