Defining the landscape of the New American literary history, these essays are united by three interrelated concerns: ideas of origin (where does "American literature" begin?), ideas of nation (what does "American literature" mean?), and ideas of race and gender (what does "American literature" include and exclude and how?). Work by writers as diverse as Aphra Behn, James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe, Frances Harper, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Herman Melville, William Faulkner, Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Bharati Mukherjee, Booker T. Washington, Mark Twain, Kate Chopin, Américo Paredes, and Toni Morrison are discussed from several theoretical perspectives, using a variety of methodologies. Issues of the "frontier" and the "border" as well as those of coloniality and postcoloniality are explored. In each case, these essays emphasize the ideological nature of national identity and, more specifically, the centrality of race and gender to our concept of nationhood.
Collected from recent issues of American Literature, with three new essays added, Subjects and Citizens charts the new directions being taken in American literary studies.
Contributors. Daniel Cooper Alarcón, Lori Askeland, Stephanie Athey, Nancy Bentley, Lauren Berlant, Michele A. Birnbaum, Kristin Carter-Sanborn, Russ Castronovo, Joan Dayan, Julie Ellison, Sander L. Gilman, Karla F. C. Holloway, Annette Kolodny, Barbara Ladd, Lora Romero, Ramón Saldívar, Maggie Sale, Siobhan Senier, Timothy Sweet, Maurice Wallace, Elizabeth Young
By engaging current strategies in literary hermeneutics with a strong sense of historical radicalism in the Gilded Age, Jean Pfaelzer reads Davis through the public issues that she forcefully inscribed in her fiction. In this study, Davis's realistic narratives actively construct a coherent social work, not in a fictional vacuum but in direct engagement with the explosive movements of social change from the Civil War through the turn of the century.
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