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Neutral Ground: New Traditionalism and the American Romance Controversy

by Thompson, G. R. E Link, Eric Carl

  • ISBN: 9780807123515
  • ISBN10: 080712351X

Neutral Ground: New Traditionalism and the American Romance Controversy

by Thompson, G. R. E Link, Eric Carl

  • List Price: $47.50
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publish date: 08/01/1999
  • ISBN: 9780807123515
  • ISBN10: 080712351X
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Description: Growing numbers of recent critics, loosely affiliated as New Americanists, assert that no distinction between the romance and the novel existed in America prior to Hawthorne and that romance theory is a largely twentieth-century invention. They seek to dislodge the authority of post-World War II critics -- especially Richard Chase in his powerful 1957 framing of romance theory -- broadly charging them with distortion of history and irresponsible sociopolitical evasion. In their compelling new study, G. R. Thompson and Eric Carl Link offer a possible "neutral ground" of inquiry, upon which at-odds "presentist" and "historicist" thinking may meet to mutual benefit.

In Neutral Ground, which is both a literary history and a critical analysis of the romance controversy, Thompson and Link reconfigure the debate along more historical lines through an approach they call New Traditionalism. Supported by a massive body of writings from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, they argue that the distinction between the meanings of novel and romance, far from being aberrant, was one of the central issues in American letters from the 1790s to the 1890s. In revealing that historical bedrock of the long tradition of American romance theory, they seek to establish sounder bases from which revisionist criticism may now be launched.

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