Imagined Empires: Incas, Aztecs, and the New World of American Literature, 1771-1876

Overview

Imagined Empires demonstrates that early American culture took great interest in South American civilizations, especially the Incas and Aztecs, and in so doing made a statement about the role of the United States as an empire in the emerging political order of New World colonies and states. In this examination of works by Philip Freneau, Joel Barlow, William Prescott, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman, the long-contested concept of "indigenous origins" is given expanded meaning beyond traditional critiques of ...
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Overview

Imagined Empires demonstrates that early American culture took great interest in South American civilizations, especially the Incas and Aztecs, and in so doing made a statement about the role of the United States as an empire in the emerging political order of New World colonies and states. In this examination of works by Philip Freneau, Joel Barlow, William Prescott, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman, the long-contested concept of "indigenous origins" is given expanded meaning beyond traditional critiques of American culture. Eric Wertheimer recovers the Incas and Aztecs in Anglo-American literature, and thus sheds new light on national sovereignty, identity, and the development of an American history narrative.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[The book] will stand as an important study of the literature of "'America' portendedand hoped for in New Worlds to come."" Ralph Bauer, American Litersture

"Recommended for graduate and research collections." Choice

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Ancient America in the Post-Colonial National Imaginary 1
1 Commencements: Pre-Columbian Worlds and Philip Freneau's Literature of American Empire 17
2 Diplomacy: Joel Barlow's Scripting and Subscripting of Ancient America 52
3 Noctography: Prescott's Sketchings of Aztecs and Incas 91
4 Mutations: Melville, Representation, and South American History 133
5 Passage: Two Rivulets and the Obscurity of American Maps 160
Notes 191
Bibliography 225
Index 239
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