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Master Plots: Race and the Founding of an American Literature, 1787-1845

by Gardner, Jared

  • ISBN: 9780801858130
  • ISBN10: 0801858135

Master Plots: Race and the Founding of an American Literature, 1787-1845

by Gardner, Jared

  • List Price: $49.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publish date: 01/01/2001
  • ISBN: 9780801858130
  • ISBN10: 0801858135
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Description: When the colonies ceased to be colonies and became the United States, the new nation quickly discovered that it needed a new literary identity, something specifically American. In Master Plots, Jared Gardner examines the tangled intersection of racial and national discourses in early American narrative. While it is well known that the writers of the early national period were preoccupied with differentiating their work from European models, Gardner argues that the national literature of the United States was equally motivated by the desire to differentiate white Americans from blacks and Indians. To achieve these ends, early American writers were drawn to fantasies of an "American race", and an American literature came to be defined not only by its desire for cultural uniqueness but also by its defense of racial purity.

As race moved into the foreground of national policy in the first decades of the nineteenth century and became an issue that threatened to dissolve national identity, American writers were required to re-think race once again. With race no longer available as an abstract metaphor, many white writers worked to rewrite the fantasies of the previous generation that had bound the definition of a national literature so closely to the issues of race.

Gardner follows the shifts in American narrative's engagement with race, from Royall Tyler's Algerine Captive through the novels of Brockden Brown and Cooper, to Poe's tales and Douglass's autobiographies, narratives that differently sought to rewrite the intersections of racial and national identity the first generation had plotted. The larger story Master Plots describes is how the racial language of "slavery" and "savagery"helped nationalist writers plot a unique identity for the new nation and the cost this "master plot" demanded when the empty rhetoric of one generation confronted the historical facts of slavery and Native American Removal in the next. The question of what it means to be an American has lost none of its severity, and the desire for an answer none of its urgency. As early nationalist writers wrestled with the question, they proved how hard a question it is to answer, and how great are the dangers in scripting its answers too easily.

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Seller: Powell's Books Chicago
Location: Chicago, IL
Condition: Like New
Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore, MD, 1998. Cloth. 8vo. Book is As New. D-j is Very Good.
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Johns Hopkins University Press. Baltimore, MD, 1998. Cloth. 8vo. Book is As New. D-j is Very Good.
Seller: BookHouse On-Line
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Condition: Very Good
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Very good+ hardcover with very good dust jacket. Text is unmarked and clean.
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$10.12
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Very good+ hardcover with very good dust jacket. Text is unmarked and clean.
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Seller: Argosy Book Store
Location: New York, NY
Condition: Like New
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Illus. 8vo, black cloth, d.w. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, (1998). Near Fine.
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Illus. 8vo, black cloth, d.w. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, (1998). Near Fine.
Seller: sequiturbooks
Location: Boonsboro, MD Ask seller a question
Condition: New
Brand new. Clean, unmarked pages. Fine binding and cover. Hardcover. XVII, 238 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
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Brand new. Clean, unmarked pages. Fine binding and cover. Hardcover. XVII, 238 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Seller: Sequitur Books
Location: Boonsboro, MD
Condition: New
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Brand new. Clean, unmarked pages. Fine binding and cover. Hardcover. XVII, 238 p. : ill.; 23 cm.
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Brand new. Clean, unmarked pages. Fine binding and cover. Hardcover. XVII, 238 p. : ill.; 23 cm.
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