Together by Accident: American Local Color Literature and the Middle Class

Overview

This fascinating account of the regional travel accident motif within American local color literature offers a reassessment of the cultural work done by authors writing during the Gilded Age. Stephanie C. Palmer shows how events like broken carriage wheels and missed trains were used by local color authors to bring together bourgeois and lower-class characters, thus giving readers the opportunity to see modernity coming into contact with both rural and urban life. Using the works of Sarah Orne Jewett, Bret Harte,...

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Together by Accident: American Local Color Literature and the Middle Class

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Overview

This fascinating account of the regional travel accident motif within American local color literature offers a reassessment of the cultural work done by authors writing during the Gilded Age. Stephanie C. Palmer shows how events like broken carriage wheels and missed trains were used by local color authors to bring together bourgeois and lower-class characters, thus giving readers the opportunity to see modernity coming into contact with both rural and urban life. Using the works of Sarah Orne Jewett, Bret Harte, William Dean Howells, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, and others, Palmer traces the use of the regional travel accident motif and how local color writers employed it to give critiques on class, society, and modern life. Exploring the themes of regional identity, modernity, and interpersonal relationships, Together by Accident offers an intriguing evaluation of the innovations and inconveniences associated with life during the industrializing Gilded Age in America.

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Editorial Reviews

American Literary Realism
It incorporates a depth and scope of study that thoroughly and impressively engages with literary, historical, geographical, and anthropological theorists discussing how region is experienced in the United States. User friendly, Palmer manages to incorporate thematic reiterations that continue to spiral out in new directions engaging the complexities of the local color debate. Kudos for this savvy, fascinating read.
Western American Literature, Summer 2010 - Matthew J. Lavin
Her work is historically grounded, attentive to the text as a site of meaning, and an engaging read.
Augusta Rohrbach
Stephanie C. Palmer’s Together By Accident: American Local Color Literature and the Middle Class is theoretically savvy and historically conscientious. Treating travel—and the accidents that can ensue—as a literary trope with concrete roots in historical facts allows Palmer to revise much of what has been said about Local Color fiction. Just as importantly, the book also affirms the value of keeping the gap between historical events and their literary representation: mining that distinction allows for a richer understanding of the ways literature interacts with but does not capitulate to history. In other words, the success of Palmer’s study is no accident.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739124949
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 12/16/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 234
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephanie C. Palmer is assistant professor in the department of American culture and literature at Bilkent University in Turkey.

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Table of Contents

1 Table of Contents Chapter 2 Introduction Chapter 3 1. Can the Genteel Writer Write the Local Novel?: Caroline Kirkland, Eliza Farnham, and Rose Terry Cooke Chapter 4 2. Travel Delays in the Commercial Countryside: Bret Harte and Sarah Orne Jewett Chapter 5 3. Travel Delays and Provincial Ambition: Rebecca Harding Davis and Thomas Detter Chapter 6 4. Realist Magic in the Country and the City: William Dean Howells Chapter 7 5. Angry Reform from Elsewhere in New England: Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Chapter 8 Epilogue 9 Notes 10 Bibliography 11 Index 12 About the Author

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