A companion to American fiction, 1780–1865 by Shirley Samuels

By Shirley Samuels

This Companion provides the present kingdom of feedback within the box of yankee fiction from the earliest declarations of nationhood to secession and civil struggle.

  • Draws seriously on old and cultural contexts in its attention of yank fiction
  • Relates the fiction of the interval to conflicts approximately territory and sovereignty and to problems with gender, race, ethnicity and identity
  • Covers varied kinds of fiction, together with children’s literature, sketches, polemical items, historic romances, Gothic novels and novels of exploration
  • Considers either canonical and lesser-known authors, together with James Fennimore Cooper, Hannah Foster, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville and Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Treats ignored subject matters, similar to the Western novel, technological know-how and the unconventional, and American fiction in languages except English

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Thomas & E. T. Andrews. Winans, Robert (1975). ’’ Early American Literature 9, 268–75. Wood, Gordon S. (1972). The Creation of the American Republic, 1776–1787. New York: Norton. Wood, Sarah Sayward (1800). Julia, and The Illuminated Baron. A Novel: Founded on recent Facts Which have Transpired in the Course of the Late revolution of Moral Principles in France. Portsmouth, NH: Charles Peirce. Ziff, Larzer (1991). Writing in the New Nation: Prose, Print, and Politics in the Early United States. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Rather than abandon their class-crossing relationship (warned, by incest, of the dangers of excessive republicanism), the lovers cling to the legitimacy of their affection and the justice of their claim on marriage. Their blood relationship is the legacy of patriarchal tyranny; but, rather than simply accepting the unfortunate consequences, the lovers, doomed though they are, momentarily represent the possibility of a new way of figuring the relationship between the law, the heart and the father’s name.

The ‘‘as it were’’ of fiction threatened to activate a potential representability in everyone who passed through its open borders. Anyone who could read – or even listen to – a novel thereby had access to something analogous to the absolute monarch’s two bodies (the monarch’s ‘‘body politic’’ threatened to return as the reader’s ‘‘body fictional’’). ‘‘Present at the discourse,’’ while physically removed, the reader of novels participated in an excessive experience Fiction and Democracy 23 that called to mind the very excesses of monarchic extravagance that the Enlightenment revolutionaries had hoped to dispel.

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