Nationalism and Literature: The Politics of Culture in Canada and the United States / Edition 1

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Overview

Sarah Corse's analysis of nearly two hundred American and Canadian novels offers a new theory of national literatures. Demonstrating that national canon formation occurs in tandem with nation-building, and that canonical novels play a symbolic role in this, Sarah Corse accounts for cross-national literary differences, addresses issues of mediation and representation in theories of "reflection," and illuminates the historically constructed nature of the relationship between literature and the nation-state. In this way, she also shows that there is no "natural" pattern of national literary difference across literary types, and, specifically, that high-culture national literatures are selected to appear different from other novels. By contrast, popular-culture bestsellers are best understood as mass market commodities for the largest and least differentiated audience.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Corse] offers an astute, Bourdieu-esque analysis of the markets for literary and popular books and the different mechanisms through which they acquire value." Erin A. Smith, American Literature

"...Corse has shifted the grounding of future work in productive and important ways." Lyn Spillman, Contemporary Sociology

"Sarah Corse's comparative study of Canadian and American literature...asks why two industrialized, predominantly English-speaking neighboring nations should espouse such radically different images of their own national characters." Graham Fraser, College Literature

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521579124
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2010
  • Series: Cambridge Cultural Social Studies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 226
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Table of Contents

List of tables
Acknowledgments
1 Introduction: cultural fields and literary use 1
2 Nation-building and the historical timing of a national literature in the United States 18
3 Nation-building and the historical timing of a national literature in Canada 34
4 The canonical novels: the politics of cultural nationalism 63
5 The literary prize winners: revision and renewal 97
6 The bestsellers: the economics of publishing and the convergence of popular taste 129
7 Literary meaning and cultural use 155
Appendix A The canonical novels 171
Appendix B The literary prize winners (1978-1987) 172
Appendix C The bestsellers (1978-1987) 174
Appendix D Coding sheet 178
Appendix E Generic categories 182
References 184
Index 204
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