Reading the American Novel 1780-1865
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Reading the American Novel 1780-1865

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Reading the American Novel 1780-1865 provides valuable insights into the evolution and diversity of fictional genres produced in the United States from the late 18th century until the Civil War, and helps introductory students to interpret and understand the fiction from this popular period. * Offers an overview of early fictional genres and introduces ways to interpret them today * Features in depth examinations of specific novels * Explores the social and historical contexts of the time to help the readers understanding of the stories * Explores questions of identity - about the novel, its 19th-century readers, and the emerging structure of the United States - as an important backdrop to understanding American fiction * Profiles the major authors, including Louisa May Alcott, Charles Brockden Brown, James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe, alongside less familiar writers such as Fanny Fern, Caroline Kirkland, George Lippard, Catharine Sedgwick, and E. D. E. N. Southworth * Selected by Choice as a 2013 Outstanding Academic Titleshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 17.78mm | 385.55g
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
  • Wiley-Blackwell (an imprint of John Wiley & Sons Ltd)
  • Chicester, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New.
  • 0631232877
  • 9780631232872

Review quote

Named CHOICE Outstanding Title for 2012 Perhaps only a scholar of Samuel s perspicacity could produce a work that treads familiar textual ground with such startling insight, a work that moves elegantly between its meta-critical concerns and the ingenuity of its close readings. Summing Up: Essential. All readers. (Choice, 1 October 2012)show more

About Shirley Samuels

Shirley Samuels is Professor of English and American Studies at Cornell University. She is the author of Romances of the Republic (1996) and Facing America (2004), and editor of The Culture of Sentiment (1992) and The Companion to American Fiction, 1780 1865 (2004).show more

Back cover copy

The decades following America's emergence as a free nation were accompanied by a wealth of fiction writing. But what exactly did America's earliest novelists write about? And how do we interpret their works today? Reading the American Novel 1780-1865, explores the diverse fiction produced in the United States from the late 18th century until the onset of the Civil War. The book provides an overview of early fiction along with in-depth examinations of specific novels, asking how they establish and develop grounds of inquiry. The major authors are featured, including Charles Brockden Brown, James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, alongside less familiar writers such as Fanny Fern, Caroline Kirkland, George Lippard, and Catharine Sedgwick. A chapter dedicated solely to popular women's fiction explores works by Louisa May Alcott, Maria Cummins, E. D. E. N. Southworth, Susan B. Warner, and Harriet Wilson. The social and historical contexts of the time are considered in order to enhance the reader's understanding of the stories that evolved to explain those events and help Americans define themselves. The book also explores questions of identity - about the novel, its 19th-century readers, and the emerging structure of the United States - as an important backdrop to understanding American fiction. Reading the American Novel 1780-1865 offers fascinating insights into the evolution of America's most popular literary genre.show more

Table of contents

Preface vii Acknowledgments xv 1 Introduction to the American Novel: From Charles Brockden rown s Gothic Novels to Caroline Kirkland s Wilderness 1 2 Historical Codes in Literary Analysis: The Writing Projects of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Elizabeth Stoddard, and Hannah Crafts 23 3 Women, Blood, and Contract: Land Claims in Lydia Maria Child, Catharine Sedgwick, and James Fenimore Cooper 45 4 Black Rivers, Red Letters, and White Whales: Mobility and Desire in Catharine Williams, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville 67 5 Promoting the Nation in James Fenimore Cooper and Harriet Beecher Stowe 91 6 Women s Worlds in the Nineteenth-Century Novel: Susan B. Warner, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Fanny Fern, E. D. E. N. Southworth, Harriet Wilson, and Louisa May Alcott 119 Afterword 151 Further Reading 165 Index 171show more

Review Text

Named CHOICE Outstanding Title for 2012 "Perhaps only a scholar of Samuel's perspicacity could produce a work that treads familiar textual ground with such startling insight, a work that moves elegantly between its meta-critical concerns and the ingenuity of its close readings. Summing Up: Essential. All readers." ( Choice , 1 October 2012)show more

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