Download American Literary-Political Engagements: From Poe to James by William M. Etter PDF

By William M. Etter

American Literary-Political Engagements: From Poe to James examines how authors within the nineteenth-century usa usually engaged the politics in their instances via literature as they conceptualized political concerns in literary phrases. matters over Jacksonian democracy, social reform in a speedily industrializing American economic system, African-American familial cooperation within the post-Civil warfare period, altering conceptions of culpability with admire to the legislations, and marginalized contributors' involvement in political agitation close to the shut of the century have been made the imperative topics of numerous literary works which, notwithstanding hardly characterised as brazenly political, however made those political matters a question of, and for, literary paintings. via examinations of Edgar Allan Poe's comedic stories tips on how to Write a Blackwood Article and A hindrance, Rebecca Harding Davis' novel Margret Howth, Mattie J. Jackson's postbellum slave narrative, William Dean Howells' a latest example, and Henry James' The Princess Casamassima, this booklet considers how those texts improve our realizing of nineteenth-century America's conceptions of the chances and obligations of literature and of well known democracy, industrialization, African-American girls, the legislation, political agitation, and incapacity.

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Additional info for American Literary-Political Engagements: From Poe to James

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Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1992, Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic. New Haven, Yale University Press, 1979, and Valerie Smith, Self-Discovery and Authority in Afro-American Narrative. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987. For an intricate reading of Margaret Fuller, Henry James, and constructions of gender in the visual arts of this period from an interdisciplinary perspective, see John Carlos Rowe, The New American Studies. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002, Chapter Five.

After all, the tale continues 5 In 1849 Poe wrote to Frederick W. Thomas, “I wish you would come down on the Frogpondians [Poe’s derisive appellation for the New England transcendentalists]. It would be the easiest thing in the world to use them up en masse. One really well-written satire would accomplish the business:-but it must not be such a dish of skimmed milk-and-water as Lowell’s” (Letters 2: 427). Without a doubt, Poe’s Blackwood satires are no Fable for Critics! Edgar Allan Poe’s Conservative Comedy 23 beyond the point of the ultimate blow so that a speaking figure remains whose physical normality has been compromised in the most egregious fashion, via absolute separation of parts, but who still possesses the intellectual power to produce the text of the narrative.

Because mass culture in antebellum America lacks the discernment to distinguish good from bad literature, and politically legitimate order from monstrous mob rule, so Poe’s reasoning implicitly runs, it has made the construction of crude and merely sensational visions of the body into a huge business and made American texts the laughing stock of the world. S. newspaper was only “popular in 34 Chapter One the proportion of its infamy and indecency” (qtd. 8 This lack of critical judgment, which made Americans into poor readers, could be redeemed by the pedagogical operations of humor.

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