Literary Executions: Capital Punishment and American Culture, 1820-1925

Overview

Drawing from legal and extralegal discourse but focusing on imaginative literature, Literary Executions examines representations of, responses to, and arguments for and against the death penalty in the United States over the long nineteenth century. John Cyril Barton creates a generative dialogue between artistic relics and legal history. He looks to novels, short stories, poems, and creative nonfiction as well as legislative reports, trial transcripts, legal documents, newspaper and journal articles, treatises, ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (5) from $39.55   
  • New (4) from $39.55   
  • Used (1) from $49.94   
Literary Executions: Capital Punishment and American Culture, 1820-1925

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$28.49
BN.com price
(Save 42%)$49.95 List Price

Overview

Drawing from legal and extralegal discourse but focusing on imaginative literature, Literary Executions examines representations of, responses to, and arguments for and against the death penalty in the United States over the long nineteenth century. John Cyril Barton creates a generative dialogue between artistic relics and legal history. He looks to novels, short stories, poems, and creative nonfiction as well as legislative reports, trial transcripts, legal documents, newspaper and journal articles, treatises, and popular books (like The Record of Crimes, A Defence of Capital Punishment, and The Gallows, the Prison, and the Poor House), all of which were part of the debate over the death penalty.

Barton focuses on several canonical figures—James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Lydia Maria Child, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, and Theodore Dreiser—and offers new readings of their work in light of the death penalty controversy. Barton also gives close attention to a host of then-popular-but-now-forgotten writers—particularly John Neal, Slidell MacKenzie, William Gilmore Simms, Sylvester Judd, and George Lippard—whose work helped shape or was shaped by the influential anti-gallows movement.

Analyzing the tension between sovereignty and social responsibility in a democratic republic, Barton argues that the high stakes of capital punishment dramatize the confrontation between the citizen-subject and sovereign authority in its starkest terms. In bringing together the social and the aesthetic, Barton shows how legal forms informed literary forms and traces the emergence of the modern State in terms of the administration of lawful death.

By engaging the politics and poetics of capital punishment, Literary Executions contends that the movement to abolish the death penalty in the United States should be seen as an important part of the context that brought about the flowering of the American Renaissance during the antebellum period and that influenced literature later in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Johns Hopkins University Press

Read More Show Less

What People Are Saying

Brook Thomas

John Barton provides a masterful account of the literary contributions to debates over the second abolition movement in nineteenth-century America: the campaign against capital punishment. This campaign united pro-slavery writer William Gilmore Simms and anti-slavery writer Lydia Maria Child. It engaged lesser known writers such as John Neal, George Lippard, and Sylvester Judd as well as Cooper, Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman, and Dreiser. Shrewdly analyzing the formal qualities by which different authors execute competing representations of capital crimes in literature, Barton helps explain why a country once at the forefront of this abolition campaign continues to evoke the death sentence.

Larry Reynolds

John Cyril Barton’s Literary Executions is a well written, deeply informed, and thoroughly documented study of the interrelationships between attempts by social reformers to end capital punishment and treatments by nineteenth-century American authors of executions in their works. Barton clearly illuminates the evolution of arguments for and against the death penalty over the course of the nineteenth century (including the rupture in these arguments caused by the Civil War and its widely approved military executions), and he makes a strong case for the influence of imaginative literature on the popular and legal debates about the death penalty. Distinguished by wide reading, extensive research, and sophisticated interpretations, Barton’s book impresses as an original, sound, and timely contribution to current debates about the barbarous practice of state-authorized executions.

Gregg Crane

Impeccably researched and rich with historical detail, Literary Executions examines the figure and theme of the death penalty in imaginative literature from Cooper to Dreiser. John Barton's astute 'cross-examinations' of legal and literary texts illuminate the literary and cultural aspects of the capital punishment debate and show how this debate in turn helped to shape notions of citizenship and state power. Cooper, Child, Hawthorne, Whitman, and Melville as well as many other less well known authors appear in a surprising new light in Literary Executions.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781421413327
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 7/17/2014
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 729,752
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

John Cyril Barton is an associate professor of English and director of the Graduate Studies Program at the University of Missouri–Kansas City and coeditor of Transatlantic Sensations.

Johns Hopkins University Press

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)