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By Shirley Samuels

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

  • Draws seriously on ancient and cultural contexts in its attention of yankee fiction
  • Relates the fiction of the interval to conflicts approximately territory and sovereignty and to problems with gender, race, ethnicity and identity
  • Covers varied sorts of fiction, together with children’s literature, sketches, polemical items, ancient 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 overlooked themes, reminiscent of the Western novel, technology and the radical, and American fiction in languages except English

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There are no major African American characters. The only European immigrants are diplomats and fortune-hunting aristocrats. 5 For novelists, the primary means for making literary representation mirror political representation are three: character, style, and plot. Character offers perhaps the simplest and most readily visible strategy of democratic fiction. Authors create ‘‘common’’ or ‘‘lowly’’ characters, inviting readers to identify with them and learn about their lives in a bid to win sympathy for them.

RE F ERE NCE S AN D FU RT H E R READI NG Agamben, Giorgio (2000). Means without End: Notes on Politics, trans. Vincenzo Binetti and Cesare Casarino. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Balibar, Etienne (1994). Masses, Classes, Ideas: Studies on Politics and Philosophy before and after Marx, trans. James Swenson. New York: Routledge. Barnes, Elizabeth (1997). States of Sympathy: Seduction and Democracy in the American Novel. New York: Columbia University Press. Baym, Nina (1984). Novels, Readers and Reviewers: Responses to Fiction in Antebellum America.

Reining in the revolution means, according to this reading, limiting access to that very conflation of the natural and the political that gave the Declaration of Independence its felicitous force (the Declaration’s ‘‘it becomes necessary. . in the course of human events’’). ’’: Brown 1996: 87). 2 What begins to emerge is the curious possibility that a radical assertion of independence from the past and a break with the politico-juridical discourse of blood relations coincides – in the figure of the incestuous siblings – with a claim (to the right of siblings to marry) that some post-revolutionaries can experience only as the intolerable trace of monarchical depravity or monarchical bloodpolitics.

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