Letters from an American Farmer and Other Essays

Letters from an American Farmer and Other Essays

by J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674051815

ISBN-13: 9780674051812

Pub. Date: 01/14/2013

Publisher: Harvard

Letters from an American Farmer was published in London in 1782, just as the idea of an “American” was becoming a reality. Those epistolary essays introduced the European public to America’s landscape and customs and have since served as the iconic description of a then-new people. Dennis D. Moore’s convenient, up-to-date reader&rsquo

Overview

Letters from an American Farmer was published in London in 1782, just as the idea of an “American” was becoming a reality. Those epistolary essays introduced the European public to America’s landscape and customs and have since served as the iconic description of a then-new people. Dennis D. Moore’s convenient, up-to-date reader’s edition situates those twelve pieces from the 1782 Letters in the context of thirteen other essays representative of Crèvecoeur’s writings in English.

The “American Farmer” of the title is Crèvecoeur’s fictional persona Farmer James, a bumpkin from rural Pennsylvania. In his Introduction to this edition, Moore places this self-effacing pose in perspective and charts Crèvecoeur’s enterprising approach to self-promotion, which involved repackaging and adapting his writings for French and English audiences.

Born in Normandy, Crèvecoeur came to New York in the 1750s by way of England and then Canada, traveled throughout the colonies as a surveyor and trader, and was naturalized in 1765. The pieces he included in the 1782 Letters map a shift from hopefulness to disillusionment: its opening selections offer America as a utopian haven from European restrictions on personal liberty and material advancement but give way to portrayals of a land plagued by the horrors of slavery, the threat of Indian raids, and revolutionary unrest. This new edition opens up a broader perspective on this artful, ambitious writer and cosmopolitan thinker who coined America’s most enduring metaphor: a place where “individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674051812
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
01/14/2013
Series:
John Harvard Library Series, #49
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.50(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Moving Beyond "The Farmer of Feelings" ix

A Note on Crèvecoeur's Text and on Emendations xxxiii

Letter I Introductory Letter 3

Letter II Thoughts, Feelings and Pleasures of an American Farmer 14

Letter III What Is an American? 28

Letter IV Description of the Island of Nantucket, with the Manners, Customs, Policy and Trade of the Inhabitants 66

Letter V Customary Education and Employment of the Inhabitants of Nantucket 85

Letter VI Description of the Island of Martha's Vineyard and of the Whale-Fishery 90

Letter VII Manners and Customs at Nantucket 99

Letter VIII Peculiar Customs at Nantucket 109

Letter IX Description of Charles-Town; Thoughts on Slavery; on Physical Evil; a Melancholy Scene 119

Letter X On Snakes; and on the Humming-Bird 131

Letter XI From Mr. Iw-n-Al-z, a Russian Gentleman; Describing the Visit He Paid at My Request to Mr. John Bertram, the Celebrated Pennsylvanian Botanist 137

Letter XII Distresses of a Frontier Man 149

A Happy Family Disunited by the Spirit of Civil War 174

Rock of Lisbon 192

Sketches of Jamaica and Bermudas and Other Subjects 206

The Commissioners 215

Ingratitude Rewarded 231

Susquehannah 240

The Grotto 285

Hospitals 294

A Sketch of the Contrast between the Spanish and the English Colonies 302

A Snow-Storm as It Affects the American Farmer 310

The Frontier Woman 322

History of Mrs. B. 333

The Man of Sorrow 343

Suggestions for Further Reading 357

Acknowledgments 365

Index 367

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