Revisionary Interventions into the Americanist Canon

Revisionary Interventions into the Americanist Canon

New Americanists

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Book Pages: 352 Illustrations: Published: June 1994

American Studies, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

Throughout the era of the Cold War a consensus reigned as to what constituted the great works of American literature. Yet as scholars have increasingly shown, and as this volume unmistakably demonstrates, that consensus was built upon the repression of the voices and historical contexts of subordinated social groups as well as literary works themselves, works both outside and within the traditional canon. This book is an effort to recover those lost voices. Engaging New Historicist, neo-Marxist, poststructuralist, and other literary practices, this volume marks important shifts in the organizing principles and self-understanding of the field of American Studies.
Originally published as a special issue of boundary 2, the essays gathered here discuss writers as diverse as Kate Chopin, Frederick Douglass, Emerson, Melville, W. D. Howells, Henry James, W. E. B. DuBois, and Mark Twain, plus the historical figure John Brown. Two major sections devoted to the theory of romance and to cultural-historical analyses emphasize the political perspective of "New Americanist" literary and cultural study.

Contributors. William E. Cain, Wai-chee Dimock, Howard Horwitz, Gregory S. Jay, Steven Mailloux, John McWilliams, Susan Mizruchi, Donald E. Pease, Ivy Schweitzer, Priscilla Wald, Michael Warner, Robert Weimann



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Preface vii

New Americanists: Revisionist Interventions in to the Canon / Donald E. Pease 1

The Res Publica of Letters / Michael Warner 38

The Rationale for "The American Romance" / John McWilliams 71

Scarcity, Subjectivity, and Emerson / Wai-chee Dimock 83

Hearing Narrative Voices in Melville's Pierre / Priscilla Wald 100

The Rhetorical Use and Abuse of Fiction: Eating Books in Late Nineteenth-Century American / Steven Mailloux 133

Maternal Discourse and the Romance of Self-Possession in Kate Chopin's The Awakening / Ivy Schweitzer 158

Realism, Ideology, and the Novel in American (1886-1896): Changing Perspectives in the Work of Mark Twain, W. D. Howells, and Henry James / Robert Weimann 189

American Literature and the New Historicism: The Example of Frederick Douglass / Gregory S. Jay 211

"Ours by the Law of Naure": Romance and Independents on Mark Twain's River / Howard Horwitz 243

Cataloging the Creatures of the Deep: "Billy Budd, Sailor" and the Rise of Sociology / Susan Misruchi 272

Violence, Revolution and the Cost of Freedom: John Brown and W. E. B. DuBois / WIlliam E. Cain 305

Contributors 331

Index 333
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1493-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1478-3
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