The Romantic Revolution In America, 1800-1860

Overview

The development of literature between 1800 and 1860 in the United States was heavily influenced by two wars. The War of 1812 hastened the development of nineteenth-century ideals, and the Civil War uprooted certain growths of those vigorous years. The half century between these dramatic episodes was a period of extravagant vigor, the final outcome being the emergence of a new middle class.

Parrington argues that America was becoming a new world with undreamed potential. This new...

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Overview

The development of literature between 1800 and 1860 in the United States was heavily influenced by two wars. The War of 1812 hastened the development of nineteenth-century ideals, and the Civil War uprooted certain growths of those vigorous years. The half century between these dramatic episodes was a period of extravagant vigor, the final outcome being the emergence of a new middle class.

Parrington argues that America was becoming a new world with undreamed potential. This new era was no longer content with the ways of a founding generation. The older America of colonial days had been static, rationalistic, inclined to pessimism, and fearful of innovation. During the years between the Peace of Paris (1763) and the end of the War of 1812, older America was dying. The America that emerged, which is the focal point of this volume, was a shifting, restless world, eager to better itself, bent on finding easier roads to wealth than the plodding path of natural increase.

The culture of this period also changed. Formal biographies written in this period often gave way to eulogy; it was believed that a writer was under obligation to speak well of the dead. Consequently, scarcely a single commentary of the times can be trusted, and the critic is reduced to patching together his account out of scanty odds and ends. A new introduction by Bruce Brown highlights the life of Vernon Louis Parrington and explains the importance of this second volume in the Pulitzer Prize-winning study.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[T]he beginning of modern American literary criticism… Parrington’s work possesses much more than antiquarian interest—it has been a challenge to many literary critics and historians and might again provoke a renewed interest not only in the history of thinking about American literature but in strategies for addressing relationships between literary and social texts.” —Russell J. Reising, American Quarterly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412845991
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/1/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 540
  • Sales rank: 1,416,851
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Vernon Louis Parrington (1871-1929) is credited as being one of the co-founders of the American Studies movement. In addition to this book, he is the author of The Connecticut Wits and Sinclair Lewis, Our Own Diogenes.

Bruce Brown has done investigative reporting for the New York Times and foreign correspondence for Atlantic Monthly. In addition, he is the author of eight books, including Mountain in the Clouds and The History of the Corporation.

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