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Sensational Designs the Cultural Work of American Fiction, 1790-1860

by Jane Tompkins

  • ISBN: 9780195041194
  • ISBN10: 0195041194

Sensational Designs the Cultural Work of American Fiction, 1790-1860

by Jane Tompkins

  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Oxford Univ Pr on Demand
  • Publish date: 07/01/1986
  • ISBN: 9780195041194
  • ISBN10: 0195041194
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Description: What makes a literary classic? In "Sensational Designs" Jane Tompkins argues that it is not the intrinsic merit of a text, but rather the circumstances of its writing. Against the modernist belief that art, in order to be art, must be free from propaganda, Tompkins contends that writers like Brockden Brown, Cooper, Stowe, and Warner wrote in order to alter the face of the social world, not to elicit aesthetic appreciation.Thus, the value and significance of the novels, for readers of their time, depended on precisely those characteristics that formalist criticism has taught us to deplore: stereotyped characters, sensational plots, and cliched language.
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