The Aesthetics and Politics of the Crowd in American Literature

Overview

As a central icon of political and cultural democracy, the crowd occupies a prominent place in the American literary and cultural landscape. Mary Esteve examines a range of writing by Poe, Hawthorne, Du Bois, James, and Stephen Crane to provide a study of crowd representations in American literature from the antebellum era to the early twentieth century. She argues that these writers examined the aesthetic and political meanings of urban crowd scenes.

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Overview

As a central icon of political and cultural democracy, the crowd occupies a prominent place in the American literary and cultural landscape. Mary Esteve examines a range of writing by Poe, Hawthorne, Du Bois, James, and Stephen Crane to provide a study of crowd representations in American literature from the antebellum era to the early twentieth century. She argues that these writers examined the aesthetic and political meanings of urban crowd scenes.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In this ambitious and erudite study, Mary Esteve successfully contends that any consideration of "the crowd" as a political force in American literary texts should not be undertaken without understanding the concomitant aesthetic function of the same." Studies in the Novel
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Mary Esteve is Assistant Professor in the English Department at Concordia University, Montréal. Her work has appeared in ELH, American Literary History, and Genre.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Acknowledgments; Introduction; 1. When travellers swarm forth: antebellum urban aesthetics and the contours of the political; 2. In 'the thick of the stream': Henry James and the public sphere; 3. A 'gorgeous neutrality': social justice and Stephen Crane's documentary anaesthetics; 4. Vicious gregariousness: white city, the nation form and the souls of lynched folk; 5. A 'moving mosaic': Harlem, primitivism and Nella Larsen's Quicksand; 6. Breaking the waves: mass immigration, trauma and ethno-political consciousness in Cahan, Yezierska and Roth; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

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