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American Literary Misfits: The Alternative Democracies of Mid-Nineteenth-Century Print Cultures (Hardcover)

American Literary Misfits: The Alternative Democracies of Mid-Nineteenth-Century Print Cultures By D. Berton Emerson Cover Image
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Description


The study of nineteenth-century American literature has long been tied up with the study of American democracy. Just as some regions in the United States are elevated to stand in for the whole nation--New England is a good example--D. Berton Emerson argues the same is true for American literature of the nineteenth century; a few canonical texts overrepresent the more motley history of American letters. Emerson examines an eclectic group of literary texts that have rarely, if ever, been considered representative of "the nation" because of their unseemly characters or plots, divergence from dominant literary trends of the era, or local particularity. These are his "literary misfits," authors and texts that show different forms of egalitarianism in action that existed outside and even against the dominant liberal narratives of American democracy.

Emerson's unique contribution is revealing these texts and the people they represent as rich with political knowledge. This knowledge, he argues, finds its most potent expression in the local. Such texts show us a different kind of democratic politics: one that is egalitarian, disorderly, and radical rather than homogeneous.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781469678399
ISBN-10: 146967839X
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2024
Pages: 250
Language: English