Beneath the American Renaissance: Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville

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9780674065659: Beneath the American Renaissance: Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville
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In this landmark work, the seven great writers of the "American Renaissance"--Emerson, Thoreau, Writman, Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, and Dickinson--are examined together in their cultural contexts. David Reynolds reveals how these authors broadly assimilated the themes and images of popular culture. Their classic works--among them "Moby Dick," "The Scarlet Letter," "Leaves of Grass," "Walden," and the tales of Poe--are given strikingly original reading when viewed against the rich, often startling background of long neglected popular writings of the time. Reynolds also explores a whole lost world of sensational literature, including grisly novels, openly sold on the street, that combined intense violence with explicit eroticism. He demonstrates as well how common concerns with issues of religion, slavery, and workers' (as well as women's) rights resonate in the major writings.

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The most important work of American literary criticism in nearly 30 years Beautifully written, it gives us our clearest picture yet of the literary climate between the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. -- David Stineback "Providence Journal"

Synopsis:

Analyses American literature from the first half of the nineteenth century, including many lesser known works, and discusses writings of various geographical regions and both sexes.

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9780394544489: Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville

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ISBN 10:  039454448X ISBN 13:  9780394544489
Publisher: Random House USA Inc, 1988
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