Macropolitics of Nineteenth-Century Literature

Nationalism, Exoticism, Imperialism

Macropolitics of Nineteenth-Century Literature

New Americanists

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Book Pages: 320 Illustrations: Published: January 1995

American Studies, Cultural Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

Increasingly in the last decade, macropolitics—a consideration of political transformations at the level of the state—has become a focus for cultural inquiry. From the macropolitical perspective afforded by contemporary postcolonial studies, the essays in this collection explore the relationship between politics and culture by examining developments in a wide range of nineteenth-century writing.
The dozen essays gathered here span the entire era of colonization and discuss the British Isles, Europe, the United States, India, the Caribbean, and Africa. Addressing the works of Wordsworth, Shelley, Dickens, Melville, Flaubert, Conrad, and Charlotte Brontë, as well as explorers’ reports, Bible translations, popular theater, and folklore, the contributors consider such topics as the political function of aesthetic containment, the redefinitions of nationality under the pressure of imperial ambition, and the coexistence of imperial and revolutionary tendencies. New historical data and new interpretive perspectives alter our conception of established masterpieces and provoke new understandings of the political and cultural context within which these works emerged. This anthology demonstrates that the macropolitical concept of imperialism can provide a new understanding of nineteenth-century cultural production by integrating into a single process the well-established topics of nationalism and exoticism.
First published in 1991 (University of Pennsylvania Press), Macropolitics of Nineteenth-Century Literature is now available in paperback. Offering agenda-setting essays in cultural and Victorian studies, it will be of interest to students and scholars of British and American literature, literary theory, and colonial and postcolonial studies.

Contributors. Jonathan Arac, Chris Bongie, Wai-chee Dimock, Bruce Greenfield, Mark Kipperman, James F. Knapp, Loren Kruger, Lisa Lowe, Susan Meyer, Jeff Nunokawa, Harriet Ritvo, Marlon B. Ross, Nancy Vogeley, Sue Zemka


“‘Macropolitics’ is a demanding, daunting area of research and interpretation; Arac and Ritvo’s anthology meets the challenge well.” — Patrick Brantlinger, Victorian Review

"Well-edited, responsible, theoretically sophisticated, and politically engaged." — Nancy Paxton, Northern Arizona University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Jonathan Arac is Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh and author of Commissioned Spirits and Critical Genealogies.

Harriet Ritvo is Professor of History at MIT. She is the author of The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction / Jonathan Arac and Harriet Ritvo 1

The Problem of the Discoverer's Authority in Lewis and Clark's History / Bruce Greenfield 12

The Discourse of Colonial Loyalty: Mexico, 1808 / Nancy Vogeley 37

Romancing the Nation-State: The Poetics of Romantic Nationalism / Marlon B. Ross 56

Macropolitics of Utopia: Shelley's Hellas in Context / Mark Kipperman 86

The Holy Books of Empire: Translations of the British and Foreign Bible Society / Sue Zemka 102

For Your Eyes Only: Private Property and the Oriental Body in Dombey and Son / Jeff Nunokawa 138

Colonialism and the Figurative Strategy in Jane Eyre / Susan Meyer 159

Ahab's Manifest Destiny / Wai-chee Dimock 184

Nationalism and Exoticism: Nineteenth-Century Others in Flaubert's Salammbô and L'Education sentimentale / Lisa Lowe 213

Attending (to) the National Spectacle: Instituting National (Popular) Theater in England and France / Loren Kruger 243

Exotic Nostalgia: Conrad and the New Imperialism / Christ Bongie 268

Irish Primitivism and Imperial Discourse: Lady Gregory's Peasantry / James F. Knapp 286

Contributors 303

Index 305
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1612-1
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