Conspiracy and Romance: Studies in Brockden Brown, Cooper, Hawthorne, and Melville

Conspiracy and Romance: Studies in Brockden Brown, Cooper, Hawthorne, and Melville

by Robert S. Levine

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Overview

Robert Levine examines the American romance in a new historical context. His book offers a fresh reading of the genre, establishing its importance to American culture between the founding of the Republic and the Civil War. With convincing historical and literary detail, Levine shows that anxieties about foreign elements--French revolutionaries, secret societies, Catholic immigrants, African slaves--are central to the fictional worlds of Brockden Brown, Cooper, Hawthorne and Melville. Ormond, The Bravo, The Blithedale Romance, and Benito Cereno are persuasively explicated by Levine to demonstrate that the romance dramatized the same conflicts and ideals that gave rise to the American Republic. Americans conceived America as a historical romance, and their romances dramatize the historical conditions of the culture. The fear that reputed conspiracies would subvert the order and integrity of the new nation were recurrent and widespread; Levine illuminates the influence of such fears on the works of major romance writers during this period.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521093408
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 01/11/2009
Series: Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture Series , #33
Pages: 316
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. 'The defencelessness of her condition': Villainy and Vulnerability in Charles Brockden Brown's Ormond; 2. 'Souless Corporation;: Oligarchy and the Countersubversive Presence in James Fenimore Cooper's The Bravo; 3. 'A confusion of popish and protestant emblems': Insiders and Outsiders in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance; 4. 'Follow you Leader': Captains and Mutineers in Herman Melville's Benito Cereno; Epilogue; Notes; Index.

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