Comprehensive and accessible, this Companion addresses several well-known themes in the study of Franklin and his writings, while also showing Franklin in conversation with his British and European counterparts in science, philosophy, and social theory. Specially commissioned chapters, written by scholars well-known in their respective fields, examine Franklin's writings and his life with a new sophistication, placing Franklin in his cultural milieu while revealing the complexities of his intellectual, literary, social, and political views. Individual chapters take up several traditional topics, such as Franklin and the American dream, Franklin and capitalism, and Franklin's views of American national character. Other chapters delve into Franklin's library and his philosophical views on morality, religion, science, and the Enlightenment and explore his continuing influence in American culture. This Companion will be essential reading for students and scholars of American literature, history and culture.
About the Author
Carla Mulford is Associate Professor of English at Pennsylvania State University.
Table of ContentsChronology; Introduction Carla Mulford; 1. Benjamin Franklin's library Kevin J. Hayes; 2. The art of virtue Douglas Anderson; 3. Franklin's satiric vein Paul E. Kerry; 4. Franklin in the Republic of Letters David S. Shields; 5. Benjamin Franklin's natural philosophy Joyce E. Chaplin; 6. Franklin and the Enlightenment Frank Kelleter; 7. Franklin and the question of religion Kerry Walters; 8. The pragmatist in Franklin James Campbell; 9. Franklin on national character and the Great Seal of the United States Lester C. Olson; 10. Protestant ethic or conspicuous consumption?: Benjamin Franklin and the Gilded Age Wilson J. Moses; 11. Benjamin Franklin and the American Dream Nian-Sheng Huang and Carla Mulford; 12. Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, then and now Stephen Carl Arch; Guide to further reading; Index.