Revisionary Interventions into the Americanist Canon

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Throughout the era of the Cold War a consensus reigned as to what constituted the great works of American literature. Yet as scholars have increasingly shown, and as this volume unmistakably demonstrates, that consensus was built upon the repression of the voices and historical contexts of subordinated social groups as well as literary works themselves, works both outside and within the traditional canon. This book is an effort to recover those lost voices. Engaging New Historicist, neo-Marxist, ...
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Revisionary Interventions into the Americanist Canon

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Overview


Throughout the era of the Cold War a consensus reigned as to what constituted the great works of American literature. Yet as scholars have increasingly shown, and as this volume unmistakably demonstrates, that consensus was built upon the repression of the voices and historical contexts of subordinated social groups as well as literary works themselves, works both outside and within the traditional canon. This book is an effort to recover those lost voices. Engaging New Historicist, neo-Marxist, poststructuralist, and other literary practices, this volume marks important shifts in the organizing principles and self-understanding of the field of American Studies.
Originally published as a special issue of boundary 2, the essays gathered here discuss writers as diverse as Kate Chopin, Frederick Douglass, Emerson, Melville, W. D. Howells, Henry James, W. E. B. DuBois, and Mark Twain, plus the historical figure John Brown. Two major sections devoted to the theory of romance and to cultural-historical analyses emphasize the political perspective of "New Americanist" literary and cultural study.

Contributors. William E. Cain, Wai-chee Dimock, Howard Horwitz, Gregory S. Jay, Steven Mailloux, John McWilliams, Susan Mizruchi, Donald E. Pease, Ivy Schweitzer, Priscilla Wald, Michael Warner, Robert Weimann

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822314783
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books
  • Publication date: 6/30/1994
  • Series: New Americanists Series
  • Pages: 330

Table of Contents

Preface
New Americanists: Revisionist Interventions into the Canon 1
The Res Publica of Letters 38
The Rationale for "The American Romance" 71
Scarcity, Subjectivity, and Emerson 83
Hearing Narrative Voices in Melville's Pierre 100
The Rhetorical Use and Abuse of Fiction: Eating Books in Late Nineteenth-Century America 133
Maternal Discourse and the Romance of Self-Possession in Kate Chopin's The Awakening 158
Realism, Ideology, and the Novel in America 1886-1896: Changing Perspectives in the Work of Mark Twain, W. D Howells, and Henry James 189
American Literature and the New Historicism: The Example of Frederick Douglass 211
"Ours by the Law of Nature": Romance and Independents on Mark Twain's River 243
Cataloging the Creatures of the Deep: "Billy Budd, Sailor" and the Rise of Sociology 272
Violence, Revolution, and the Cost of Freedom: John Brown and W. E. B. DuBois 305
Contributors 331
Index 333
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