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Voicing America: Language, Literary Form, and the Origins of the United States cover
  • ISBN: 9780226492827
  • ISBN10: 0226492826

Voicing America: Language, Literary Form, and the Origins of the United States

by Looby, Christopher A

  • List Price: $29.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publish date: 04/01/1996
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In the early years of the republic, many nationalist writers associated the revolutionary founding of the United States with acts of voice; they believed that the new nation had been spoken into being. Washington Irving, for instance, in his Salmagundi, refers to the American nation as a "logocracy or government of words". In this detailed examination of crucial texts of eighteenth-century American literature, Christopher Looby argues that the United States was self-consciously enacted through the spoken word. Historical material from political and legal writings informs and animates theoretical works by Derrida, Lacan, and others as Looby unravels the texts of Benjamin Franklin, Charles Brockden Brown, and Hugh Henry Brackenridge and ties them to nation-building, public discourse, and individual self-creation. Correcting the strong emphasis on the importance of print culture in eighteenth-century America, Voicing America uncovers the complex undertaking of early American writers articulating their new nation and reveals a body of literature and a political discourse thoroughly concerned with the power of language and, especially, vocal expression. Voicing America should find an appreciative audience, not only among those interested in the study of language in America, but also among early Americanists in general, literary critics and historians, and political scientists and philosophers interested in theories of nationalism.
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1996. Hardcover. Fine.

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