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Download Dislocating Race and Nation: Episodes in Nineteenth-Century by Robert S. Levine PDF

By Robert S. Levine

American literary nationalism is generally understood as a cohesive literary culture built within the newly self sufficient usa that emphasised the original positive aspects of the USA and consciously differentiated American literature from British literature. Robert S. Levine demanding situations this review through exploring the conflicted, multiracial, and contingent dimensions found in the works of overdue eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American and African American writers. clash and uncertainty, now not consensus, Levine argues, helped outline American literary nationalism in this interval. Levine emphasizes the centrality of either inter- and intra-American clash in his research of 4 illuminating "episodes" of literary responses to questions of U.S. racial nationalism and imperialism. He examines Charles Brockden Brown and the Louisiana buy; David Walker and the debates at 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 nearly forty-year curiosity in Haiti. Levine deals evaluations of modern advancements in whiteness and imperialism stories, arguing renewed cognizance to where of contingency in American literary background is helping us to higher comprehend and examine from writers attempting to make feel in their personal ancient moments.

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

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At the core of Brown’s writings on Louisiana and imperialism during this time, then, especially when considered in relation to his attacks on French imperial ambitions in Saint Domingue and Louisiana, is a critique (or unmasking) of nationalist exceptionalism—a critique that is developed not through explicit statement but through the ironies of narrative performance, specifically through Brown’s creation of a countersubversive nationalist narrator who champions exceptionalism in terms very similar to those of the subversive French nationalist.

Ironically, then, as Michael Zuckerman remarks, with respect to ‘‘St. Domingue it was the Federalists who held far more closely to the faith of the founders and the Jeffersonian Republicans who tried far more tenaciously to tether and traduce the will of the people. . ≤≥ In his magazine writings circa 1799–1805, Brown clearly dissents from the anxious racism informing Jefferson’s hemispheric vision. The magazines that Brown edited (and mostly wrote) during this period evince a bold antislavery politics and a rejection of the emerging ‘‘scientific’’ discourse of racial difference (limned in such texts as Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia [1785]) in favor of a vision of human oneness.

Declaring that ‘‘a cruel servitude’’ has engendered in the slaves ‘‘all the passions of demons; whose injuries have been so great that the law of self-preservation obliges the State to deny to the citizen the power of making his slave free’’ (73), the consul hopes to spark a massive slave rebellion within the United States. Through the ‘‘mouth’’ of the racist consul, who shows a surprising sympathy for the slaves, Brown thus alerts his white readers to the dangers that the persistence of slavery (as opposed to the presence of blacks) poses to the new nation.

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