The Cambridge History of American Literature, Volume 2: Prose Writing, 1820-1865

The Cambridge History of American Literature, Volume 2: Prose Writing, 1820-1865

Sacvan Bercovitch

Language: English

Pages: 881

ISBN: 2:00086943

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The narratives in this volume make for a four-fold perspective on literature: social, cultural, intellectual, and aesthetic; they constitute a basic reassessment of American prose-writing between 1820 and 1865. These narratives place the American literature in an international context, while never losing sight of its distinctive American characteristics, whether colonial, provincial, or national. Together, they offer a compelling and comprehensive revision of the literary importance of early American history and the historical value of early American literature.

"...the general editor has assembled four sophisticated contributions that reassess the remarkable achievemant of the period....the book's four sections are a hand difficult to beat for an overview of antebellum prose....all four scholars demonstrate themselves in full control of general methodologies as well as the range of prose literature germane to them." Reviews in American History

"...Cambridge University Press continues to remake scholarly standards in the study of American literature....These essays are smart and remarkably rich in historical detail....The Cambridge History of American Literature earns its place on the shelf...by offering the reader far more detail about early American life and letters than any other single source." Peter Temes, Harvard Review

"...a real strength of this literary history is that its main focus is on literature rather than history....I still go to literature to learn about myself." Stephen Railton, Nineteenth-Century Literature

"...each of the essays is a wide-ranging monograph, citing numerous authors and drawing upon the historical, intellectual, political, and economic traditions to which they respond....The result is a rich tapestry in which these four scholars speak to each other to provide a multifaceted view of a crucial forty-five years of American literary history....I'm keeping this book within reach as an indispensable resource." Nancy A. Walker, American Studies

"The Cambridge History of American Literature [...] is, without doubt and without any serious rival, THE scholarly history for our generation." --Journal of American Studies

Book Description

This is the fullest and richest account of the American Renaissance available in any literary history. The narratives in this volume made for a four-fold perspective on literature: social, cultural, intellectual and aesthetic. Together these constitute a basic reassessment of American prose-writing between 1820 and 1865. It is an achievement that will remain authoritative for our time and that will set new directions for coming decades in American literary scholarship. (Amazon)

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success for Americans, lay in their promotion of contrasting and even antagonistic images of American literary vocation, of the writer's relationship to the public, and ultimately of the meaning of America and American identity. In effect, Cooper and Irving established, by their examples, contrasting schools or traditions of American literature. Twentieth-century literary historians have generally seen Cooper, rather than Irving, as the seminal American fiction writer, and not without reason. The

eventually see the great actors of their day, that local actors could learn from these professionals, and that, since both star and company were most likely to have standard works in common, there was a built-in incentive for performing classic plays by Shakespeare and others. Other consequences were less salutary. The star system, together with the almost daily alternation of plays (at a time when even the largest urban populations could hardly support long runs), kept rehearsals to a minimum,

America 1800—18 jo (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1969); Elisabeth Hurth, "Sowing the Seeds of'Subversion': Harvard's Early Gottingen Students," Studies in the American Renaissance (1992): 91 —105; James Freeman Clarke, Autobiography, Diary, and Correspondences, ed. Edward Everett Hale (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin, 1891). "The Assault on Locke" examines American discontent with the tradition of empirical philosophy and the various routes by which news of Kantian and

antiabolition mobs had threatened the office of James G. Birney, editor of the abolitionist Philanthropist. "I wish he would man it with armed men," Stowe wrote to her husband, who was in Europe buying io6 CONDITIONS OF LITERARY VOCATION books for the Lane library, "and see what can be done. If I were a man, I would go, for one, and take good care of at least one window." The mob prevailed, and Birney left Cincinnati, but the incident had its effect on Stowe and on her younger brother Henry

exemplary heroine, in one form or another, would continue to be important as a structural device in her novels. Thus The Minister's Wooing, set in Newport toward the end of the eighteenth century, focuses on the trials and ultimate triumph of a young woman named Mary Scudder. This novel, first serialized in Boston's new Atlantic Monthly, appeared in book form first in England and then in the United States, in 1859. Unlike The Wide, Wide World or The Lamplighter, The Minister's Wooing is a

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