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Ideology and Classic American Literature

ISBN-10: 0521273099

ISBN-13: 9780521273091

Edition: N/A

Authors: Sacvan Bercovitch, Myra Jehlen, Albert Gelpi, Ross Posnock

List price: $80.00
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Description:

This volume of essays brings together some of the best work by Americanists concerned with the problem of ideology and its bearing upon American literature and culture. It projects neither a particular ideological view nor a particular view of ideology. On the contrary: these essays highlight the many uses of ideology as a critical term, and, in doing so, they open new avenues of inquiry, new forums for discussion. They also demonstrate that, far from being parochial or reductive, ideological analysis is integral to considerations of formal structure and crucial to an understanding of the relations between literature and culture. The authors are leading Americanists of the past three or four generations. Their essays deal variously with theoretical issues, with questions of theme, genre, and perspective, and with interpretations of particular authors and texts. The editors of the volume provide a general introduction to the nature and development of ideological critique, and an afterword that discusses the coherence of the volume as a whole and its implications for further study.
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Book details

List price: $80.00
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 12/25/1987
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 464
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.342
Language: English

Sacvan Bercovitch, who is a professor at Harvard University, is probably the most influential critic in American studies today. Tracing the function of rhetoric in American writing from the Puritans through the nineteenth century, Bercovitch has argued that the persuasiveness of rhetoric is in proportion to its capacity to help people act in history. In his books, Bercovitch has revealed the power of American rhetoric as it creates a myth of America that conflates religious and political issues, transforming even the most despairing and critical energies into affirmations of the American way. Among his major arguments is the idea that the rhetoric of America's colonial sermons and histories, founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, and novels of the American Renaissance, all participate in the project of transforming what he calls dissensus into rituals of consensus.

Acknowledgments
Introdution: beyond transcendence
Reassessments
Symbol and idea in Virgin Land
Pastoralism in America
Myth and the production of history
American criticism left and right
Perspectives
The novel and the middle class in America
Figurations for a new American literary history
American studies as a cultural program
Reification and American literature
Texts
Mysteries of the city: a reading of Poe's 'The Man of the Crowd'
The politics of The Scarlet Letter
Sentimental power: Uncle Tom's Cabin and the politics of literary history
Walden and the 'curse of trade'
The Example of Melville
Melville's economy of language
Art, religion, and the problem of authority in Pierre
The hive of subtlety: 'Benito Cereno' and the liberal hero
Melville and cultural persuasion
Afterword Sacvan Bercovitch
Selected bibliography
Index