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Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America / Edition 1

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Overview


Revolution and the Word is the classic study of the co-emergence of the U.S. nation and the new literary genre of the novel. The book remains the foundational study of reading, writing, and publishing in the new republic and provides a unique glimpse of the culture of early America. By looking at everything from publishers' account books to marginalia scrawled in eighteenth-century books to the novels themselves, Revolution and the Word provides an engaging social history of early American readership that is also informed by the most insightful aspects of literary theory.

With a backward glance at the culture wars and prognostications for what lies ahead, the comprehensive introduction of this expanded edition reframes Revolution and the Word for a new generation of scholars. It revisits topics of dissent in the early national period, the status of the Constitution as a document designed to quell the still-burning passions of the American Revolution, and the role played by the novel in publicizing and articulating complex desires not addressed at the Constitutional Convention. Cathy N. Davidson provides readers with a survey and critique of the controversial and productive thought in cultural, social, and political theory as it has evolved during the last twenty years. This astute and learned assessment of recent developments in literary and historical scholarship, colonial and postcolonial studies, race theory, gender and sexuality theory, class studies, cultural studies, and history of the book will make Revolution and the Word as urgent for this generation as it was for its original readers in 1986.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for the previous edition: "Drawing on recent work in social history, post-structuralist literary theory and feminist studies, [Davidson] argues persuasively that the genesis of American fiction was an integral part of a widespread crisis of authority in early modern America.... A wonderful book."--The Nation

"A fascinating and groundbreaking book."--Philadelphia Inquirer

"Revolution and the Word--sophisticated, comprehensive and imaginative--charts this wilderness birthplace of American fiction and updates our notion of literary criticism in the process.... As remarkable for its methods as for its message."--San Francisco Chronicle

"An engaging combination of information and analysis, Davidson's book on the production and readers of the early novel will be a valuable resource for anyone interested in the history of the novel, of reading, or of American literature."--Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195148237
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/6/2004
  • Edition description: Expanded
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 1,013,603
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Cathy N. Davidson is Vice Provost of Interdisciplinary Studies and Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of English at Duke University. She is co-founder of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University, a past president of the American Studies Association, and a past editor of the journal American Literature.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction : toward a history of texts 59
2 The book in the new republic 73
3 Ideology and genre 101
4 Literacy, education, and the reader 121
5 Community and communication : the first American novel 153
6 Privileging the Feme Covert : the sociology of sentimental fiction 185
7 The picaresque and the margins of political discourse 233
8 Early American gothic : the limits of individualism 306
9 Afterword : texts as histories 356
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