Freedom's Empire: Race and the Rise of the Novel in Atlantic Modernity, 1640–1940

Duke University Press
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In this pathbreaking work of scholarship, Laura Doyle reveals the central, formative role of race in the development of a transnational, English-language literature over three centuries. Identifying a recurring freedom plot organized around an Atlantic Ocean crossing, Doyle shows how this plot structures the texts of both African-Atlantic and Anglo-Atlantic writers and how it takes shape by way of submerged intertextual exchanges between the two traditions. For Anglo-Atlantic writers, Doyle locates the origins of this narrative in the seventeenth century. She argues that members of Parliament, religious refugees, and new Atlantic merchants together generated a racial rhetoric by which the English fashioned themselves as a “native,” “freedom-loving,” “Anglo-Saxon” people struggling against a tyrannical foreign king. Stories of a near ruinous yet triumphant Atlantic passage to freedom came to provide the narrative expression of this heroic Anglo-Saxon identity—in novels, memoirs, pamphlets, and national histories. At the same time, as Doyle traces through figures such as Friday in Robinson Crusoe, and through gothic and seduction narratives of ruin and captivity, these texts covertly register, distort, or appropriate the black Atlantic experience. African-Atlantic authors seize back the freedom plot, placing their agency at the origin of both their own and whites’ survival on the Atlantic. They also shrewdly expose the ways that their narratives have been “framed” by the Anglo-Atlantic tradition, even though their labor has provided the enabling condition for that tradition.

Doyle brings together authors often separated by nation, race, and period, including Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, Olaudah Equiano, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Wilson, Pauline Hopkins, George Eliot, and Nella Larsen. In so doing, she reassesses the strategies of early women novelists, reinterprets the significance of rape and incest in the novel, and measures the power of race in the modern English-language imagination.

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About the author

Laura Doyle is Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the author of Bordering on the Body: The Racial Matrix of Modern Fiction and Culture; editor of Bodies of Resistance: New Phenomenologies of Politics, Agency, and Culture; and coeditor of Geomodernisms: Race, Modernism, Modernity.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Duke University Press
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Published on
Dec 21, 2007
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Pages
591
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ISBN
9780822388739
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / American / General
Literary Criticism / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literary Criticism / Women Authors
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The figure of the mother in literature and the arts has been the subject of much recent critical attention. Whereas many studies have focused on women writers and the maternal, Laura Doyle significantly broadens the field by tracing the racial logic internal to Western representations of maternality at least since Romanticism. She formulates a theory of "racial patriarchy" in which the circumscription of reproduction within racial borders engenders what she calls the "race mother" in literary and cultural narratives. Pairing literary movements not often considered together--Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance--Doyle reveals that this figure haunts the openings of diverse modern novels and initiates their experimental narrative trajectories. Figures such as the slave mother in Invisible Man, Lena Grove in Light in August, Mrs. Dedalus in Ulysses, and Sethe in Beloved, Doyle shows, embody racial, sexual, and metaphysical anxieties which modern authors expose reconfigure, and attempt to surpass. Making use of heterogeneous materials, including kinship studies, phenomenology, and histories of slavery, Bordering on the Body traces the symbolic operations of the "race mother" from Romanticism and nineteenth-century biology to eugenics and twentieth-century fiction. A breakthrough in race and gender theory, a racial reconfiguration of modernism, and a reinterpretation of discourses of nature since Romanticism, the book will engage a wide spectrum of readers in literary and cultural studies.
"A Good Man Is Hard to Find" is Flannery O'Connor's most famous and most discussed story. O'Connor herself singled it out by making it the title piece of her first collection and the story she most often chose for readings or talks to students. It is an unforgettable tale, both riveting and comic, of the confrontation of a family with violence and sudden death. More than anything else O'Connor ever wrote, this story mixes the comedy, violence, and religious concerns that characterize her fiction. This casebook for the story includes an introduction by the editor, a chronology of the author's life, the authoritative text of the story itself, comments and letters by O'Connor about the story, critical essays, and a bibliography. The critical essays span more than twenty years of commentary and suggest several approaches to the story - formalistic thematic, deconstructionist - all within the grasp of the undergraduate, while the introduction also points interested students toward still other resources. Useful for both beginning and advanced students, this casebook provides an in-depth introduction to one of America's most gifted modern writers. The contributors are Michael O. Bellamy, Hallman B. Bryant, William S. Doxey, J.Peter Dyson, Madison Jones, W.S. Marks, III, Carter Martin, William J. Scheick, Mary Jane Schenck, and J.O.Tate. Frederick Asals teaches at New College, the University of Toronto. He is the author of Flannery O'Connor: The Imagination of Extremity and of articles on O'Connor and other American writers. A volume in a new series, Women Writers: Text and Contexts, edited by Thomas L. Erskine and Connie L. Richards. Series Board: Martha Banta, Barbara Christian, and Paul Lauter.
Can a wife single-handedly bring a boring or broken marriage back to life? This improved and expanded edition of Laura Doyle’s acclaimed First, Kill All the Marriage Counselors features real-life success stories from empowered wives who have done just that—and provides a step-by-step guide to revitalizing your own marriage.

Laura Doyle’s marriage was in trouble, and couples counseling wasn’t helping. On the brink of divorce, she decided to talk to women who’d been happily married for over a decade, and their advice stunned her. From it, she distilled Six Intimacy Skills—woman-centric practices that ended her overwhelm and resentment, restoring the playfulness and passion in her marriage.

Now an internationally-recognized relationship coach, Doyle has shared her secrets with women around the globe, saving thousands of marriages with her fresh, revolutionary approach.

Practical and counter-intuitive, the Six Intimacy Skills are about focusing on your own desires and transforming your own life—not bending over backwards to transform your husband.

Incorporating these skills will empower you to:
Attract his attention like a magnet when you relax more and do less
Receive affection not because you told him to make more of an effort, but because he naturally seeks you out
Feel more like yourself—and like yourself more

If you’ve been trying to “fix” your relationship and it’s not working, maybe the problem was never you, or your husband, or even the two of you as a couple. Maybe the problem is that nobody ever taught you the skills you need to foster respect, tenderness, and consideration.

With humor and heart, The Empowered Wife shows you how to improve your relationship in ways you hadn’t thought possible. You’ll join a worldwide community of over 150,000 empowered wives who finally have the marriages they dreamed of when they said “I do.”
The figure of the mother in literature and the arts has been the subject of much recent critical attention. Whereas many studies have focused on women writers and the maternal, Laura Doyle significantly broadens the field by tracing the racial logic internal to Western representations of maternality at least since Romanticism. She formulates a theory of "racial patriarchy" in which the circumscription of reproduction within racial borders engenders what she calls the "race mother" in literary and cultural narratives. Pairing literary movements not often considered together--Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance--Doyle reveals that this figure haunts the openings of diverse modern novels and initiates their experimental narrative trajectories. Figures such as the slave mother in Invisible Man, Lena Grove in Light in August, Mrs. Dedalus in Ulysses, and Sethe in Beloved, Doyle shows, embody racial, sexual, and metaphysical anxieties which modern authors expose reconfigure, and attempt to surpass. Making use of heterogeneous materials, including kinship studies, phenomenology, and histories of slavery, Bordering on the Body traces the symbolic operations of the "race mother" from Romanticism and nineteenth-century biology to eugenics and twentieth-century fiction. A breakthrough in race and gender theory, a racial reconfiguration of modernism, and a reinterpretation of discourses of nature since Romanticism, the book will engage a wide spectrum of readers in literary and cultural studies.
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