By Shirley Samuels
This Companion provides the present kingdom of feedback within the box of yank fiction from the earliest declarations of nationhood to secession and civil warfare.
- Draws seriously on ancient 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 themes, reminiscent of the Western novel, technology and the unconventional, and American fiction in languages except English
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Extra resources for A companion to American fiction, 1780–1865
Novels, democratic politics, and incestuous love share a threatening potential in The Power of Sympathy even as they provide the novel with its form, its narrative, and its thrill. 28 Paul Downes The Power of Sympathy’s familiar discussion of the novel, however, finally serves only to emphasize the ambivalence of the sentimental critique of fiction. It feels compelled to, yet is repeatedly unable to distinguish books that are corrupting from books that are about corruption. The ambiguous reciprocal relationship between the novel and the world (‘‘I will not dispute,’’ concludes Mr.
If democracy was founded on representation – no citizen could appear on the stage of political power except in the ‘‘costume’’ of representation – how would one begin to define the particular dangers of fiction? William Hill Brown’s The Power of Sympathy (1789) economically dramatizes these issues by reproducing anxious conversations about the consumption of fiction in the midst of a story about a peculiarly democratic affection. The dangers of excessive novel-reading and excessive democracy cannot be disentangled from the horrors of a disrupted kinship structure in a novel that has, nevertheless, been judged by many readers to be merely one more example of postrevolutionary conservative paranoia.
And ‘‘upheaved’’ and ‘‘displaced’’ by the crossings of blood, desire, and political justice, Pierre is Melville’s wild incarnation of the American novel’s stillvital affinity with democracy. Fiction and Democracy 29 NO T E S 1 In Sarah Sayward Wood’s Julia, and the Illuminated Baron (1800), unwitting incest is represented as arising from the rapacious advances of a free-thinking French revolutionary, an ‘‘infidel’’ who belongs to the secret order of the Illuminati. Wood’s preface suggests how we should read her cursed lover: ‘‘This volume, to the reader’s eye displays Th’ infernal conduct of abandon’d man; When French philo- sophy infects his ways .
A companion to American fiction, 1780–1865 by Shirley Samuels