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A Companion to American Fiction 1780 - 1865

Shirley Samuels (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-631-23422-7
488 pages
November 2004, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to American Fiction 1780 - 1865 (0631234225) cover image
This Companion presents the current state of criticism in the field of American fiction from the earliest declarations of nationhood to secession and civil war.

  • Draws heavily on historical and cultural contexts in its consideration of American fiction

  • Relates the fiction of the period to conflicts about territory and sovereignty and to issues of gender, race, ethnicity and identity
  • Covers different forms of fiction, including children’s literature, sketches, polemical pieces, historical romances, Gothic novels and novels of exploration
  • Considers both canonical and lesser-known authors, including James Fennimore Cooper, Hannah Foster, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville and Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Treats neglected topics, such as the Western novel, science and the novel, and American fiction in languages other than English
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List of Illustrations.

Notes on Contributors.

Acknowledgments.

Introduction: Shirley Samuels (University of Connecticut).

Part I: Historical and Cultural Contexts.

1. National Narrative and the Problem of American Nationhood: Gerald Kennedy (Louisiana State University).

2. Fiction and Democracy: Paul Downes (University of Toronto).

3. Democratic Fictions: Sandra M. Gustafson (University of Notre Dame).

4. Engendering American Fictions: Martha J. Cutter (Kent State University) and Caroline F. Levander (Rice University).

5. Race and Ethnicity: Robert S. Levine (University of Maryland).

6. Class: Philip Gould (Brown University).

7. Sexualities: Valerie Rohy (University of Vermont).

8. Religion: Paul Gutjahr (Indiana University).

9. Education and Polemic: Stephanie Foote (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

10. Marriage and Contract: Naomi Morgenstern (University of Toronto).

11. Transatlantic Ventures: Wil Verhoeven (University of Groningen) and Stephen Shapiro (University of Warwick).

12. Other Languages, Other Americas: Kirsten Silva Gruesz (University of California, Santa Cruz).

Part II: Forms of Fiction.

13. Literary Histories: Ed White (Louisiana State University) and Michael Drexler (Bucknell University).

14. Reading and Breeding: Chesterfieldian Civility in the Early Republic: Christopher Lukasik (Boston University).

15. The American Gothic: Marianne Noble (American University).

16. Sensational Fiction: Shelley Streeby (University of California, San Diego).

17. Melodrama and American Fiction: Lori Merish (Georgetown University).

18. Delicate Boundaries: Passing and Other “Crossings” in Fictionalized Slave Narratives: Cherene Sherrard-Johnson (University of Wisconsin-Madison).

19. Doctors, Bodies, and Fiction: Stephanie Browner (Berea College).

20. Law and the American Novel: Laura Korobkin (Boston University).

21. Labor and Fiction: Cindy Weinstein (Caltech).

22. Words for Children: Carol Singley (Rutgers University).

23. Dime Novels: Colin Ramsey (Appalachian State University) and Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-Stodola (University of Arkansas).

24. Reform and Antebellum Fiction: Chris Castiglia (Loyola University).

Part III: Authors, Locations, Purposes.

25. The Problem of the City: Heather Roberts (Clark University).

26. New Landscapes: Timothy Sweet (West Virginia University).

27. The Gothic Meets Sensation: Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Allen Poe, George Lippard, and E.D.E.N. Southworth: Dana Luciano (Georgetown University).

28. Retold Legends: Washington Irving, James Kirke Paulding, John Pendleton Kennedy: Philip Barnard (University of Kansas).

29. Captivity and Freedom: Ann Eliza Bleecker, Harriet Prescott Spofford, and Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle”: Eric Gary Anderson (George Mason University).

30. New England Tales: Catharine Sedgwick, Catherine Brown, and the Dislocations of Indian Land: Bethany Schneider (Bryn Mawr College).

31. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Caroline Lee Hentz, Herman Melville, and American Racialist Exceptionalism: Katherine Adams (University of Tulsa).

32. Fictions of the South: Southern Portraits of Slavery: Nancy Buffington (University of Delaware).

33. The West: Edward Watts (Michigan State University).

34. The Old Southwest: Mike Fink, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, Johnson Jones Hooper, and George Washington Harris: David Rachels (Virginia Military Institute).

35. James Fenimore Cooper and the Invention of the American Novel: Wayne Franklin (University of Connecticut).

36. The Sea: Herman Melville and Moby Dick: Stephanie A. Smith (University of Florida).

37. National Narrative and National History: Russ Castronovo (University of Wisconsin-Madison).

Index

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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: Iconography and the Civil War (2004), and the editor of The Culture of Sentiment (1992). She is also currently the section editor of “American Literature before 1865” for the Blackwell online www.literature-compass.com.
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  • Spansthe period from the earliest declarations of nationhood until secession and civil war
  • Draws heavily on historical and cultural contexts in its consideration of American fiction
  • Relates the fiction of the period to conflicts about territory and sovereignty and to issues of gender, race, ethnicity and identity
  • Covers different forms of fiction, including children’s literature, sketches, polemical pieces, historical romances, Gothic novels and novels of exploration
  • Considers both canonical and lesser-known authors, including James Fennimore Cooper, Hannah Foster, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville and Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Treats neglected topics, such as the Western novel, science and the novel, and American fiction in languages other than English
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"Particularly impressive... Taken together the essays constitute a dense realization of a critically resurgent period, with the historical dimension emphatic throughout."
American Literary Scholarship

"A good resource for those just embarking on the study of American literature. Recommended."
Choice

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