Robert Abrams argues that new concepts of space and landscape emerged in mid-nineteenth-century American writing, marking a linguistic and interpretative limit to American expansion. Abrams supports the radical elements of antebellum writing, where writers from Hawthorne to Rebecca Harding Davis disputed the naturalizing discourses of mid-nineteenth century society. Whereas previous critics find in antebellum writing a desire to convert chaos into an affirmative, liberal agenda, Abrams contends that authors of the 1840s and 50s deconstructed more than they constructed.
|Publisher:||Cambridge University Press|
|Series:||Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture Series , #140|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Robert E. Abrams is Associate Professor of English at the University of Washington. He has published widely on American literature and culture in journals such as ELH, American Literature, Philological Quarterly, and Nineteenth-Century Literature.
Table of Contents
Illustrations; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I. Hawthorne, Thoreau and Melville and the Diffusion of Estrangement: 1. Critiquing colonial American geography: Hawthorne's landscape of bewilderment; 2. Thoreau and the interminable journey of vision 'nearer and nearer here'; 3. Herman Melville's home cosmography: voyaging into the inscrutable interior of the American republic; Part II. Historicizing the American Vanishing Point: Indian Removal, Slavery and Class: 4. The cultural politics of American literary ambiguity; 5. Margaret Fuller's Summer on the Lakes and 'Chief Seattle's Speech': the obliquities of the geographic in-between; 6. The power of negative space in Douglass's autobiographies and in Davis's 'Life in Iron Mills'; Conclusion.