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Dislocating Race and Nation: Episodes in Nineteenth-Century American Literary Nationalism

Dislocating Race and Nation: Episodes in Nineteenth-Century American Literary Nationalism (Paperback)

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This title presents literary responses to questions of U.S. racial nationalism and imperialism.American literary nationalism is traditionally understood as a cohesive literary tradition developed in the newly independent United States that emphasized the unique features of America and consciously differentiated American literature from British literature. Robert Levine challenges this assessment by exploring the conflicted, multi-racial, and contingent dimensions present in the works of late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American and African American writers. Conflict and uncertainty, not consensus, Levine argues, helped define American literary nationalism during this period.Levine emphasizes the centrality of both inter- and intra-American conflict in his analysis of four illuminating ""episodes"" of literary responses to questions of U.S. racial nationalism and imperialism. He examines Charles Brockden Brown and the Louisiana Purchase; David Walker and the debates on the Missouri Compromise; Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Hannah Crafts and the blood-based literary nationalism and expansionism of the mid-nineteenth century; and, Frederick Douglass and his interest in Haiti. Levine offers critiques of recent developments in whiteness and imperialism studies, arguing that a renewed attention to the place of contingency in American literary history helps us to better understand and learn from writers trying to make sense of their own historical moments.

Essays & WritingLiterary CriticismLiterary studies: generalLiterary studies: c 1800 to c 1900 Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press Publication Date: 08/10/2008 ISBN-13: 9780807859032  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Robert S. Levine is professor of English and director of graduate studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. His books include Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass, and the Politics of Representative identity.

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