The Plight of Feeling: Sympathy and Dissent in the Early American Novel

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University of Chicago Press, 15.04.2008 - 320 Seiten
American novels written in the wake of the Revolution overflow with self-conscious theatricality and impassioned excess. In The Plight of Feeling, Julia A. Stern shows that these sentimental, melodramatic, and gothic works can be read as an emotional history of the early republic, reflecting the hate, anger, fear, and grief that tormented the Federalist era.

Stern argues that these novels gave voice to a collective mourning over the violence of the Revolution and the foreclosure of liberty for the nation's noncitizens—women, the poor, Native and African Americans. Properly placed in the context of late eighteenth-century thought, the republican novel emerges as essentially political, offering its audience gothic and feminized counternarratives to read against the dominant male-authored accounts of national legitimation.

Drawing upon insights from cultural history and gender studies as well as psychoanalytic, narrative, and genre theory, Stern convincingly exposes the foundation of the republic as an unquiet crypt housing those invisible Americans who contributed to its construction.

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Inhalt

Sympathy and Dessent in the Early American Novel ONE The Plight of Feeling
1
Sympathy and Dessent in the Early American Novel TWO Working through the Frame The Dream of Transparency in Charlotte Temple
31
Sympathy and Dessent in the Early American Novel THREE Beyond A Play about Words Tyrannies of Voice in The Coquette
71
Sympathy and Dessent in the Early American Novel FOUR A Lady Who Sheds No Tears Liberty Contagion and the Demise of Fraternity in Ormond
153
Sympathy and Dessent in the Early American Novel Notes
239
Sympathy and Dessent in the Early American Novel Index
293
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Seite 172 - By the imagination we place ourselves in his situation, we conceive ourselves enduring all the same torments, we enter as it were into his body, and become in some measure the same person with him, and thence form some idea of his sensations, and even feel something which, though weaker in degree, is not altogether unlike them.
Seite 240 - As to the tragic paintings by which Mr Burke has outraged his own imagination, and seeks to work upon that of his readers, they are very well calculated for theatrical representation, where facts are manufactured for the sake of show, and accommodated to produce, through the weakness of sympathy, a weeping effect.
Seite 155 - You certainly never felt the terrorism excited by Genet in 1793, when ten thousand people in the streets of Philadelphia, day after day, threatened to drag Washington out of his house, and effect a revolution in the government, or compel it to declare war in favor of the French Revolution, and against England.
Seite 124 - When we see a stroke aimed and just ready to fall upon the leg or arm of another person, we naturally shrink and draw back our own leg or our own arm; and when it does fall, we feel it in some measure, and are hurt by it as well as the sufferer. The mob, when they are gazing at a dancer on the slack rope, naturally writhe and twist and balance their own bodies, as they see him do, and as they feel that they themselves must do if in his situation.
Seite 173 - When I condole with you for the loss of your only son, in order to enter into your grief I do not consider what I, a person of such a character and profession, should suffer, if I had a son, and if that son was unfortunately to die ; but I consider what I should suffer if I was really you, and I not only change circumstances with you, but I change persons and characters.
Seite 173 - But though sympathy is very properly said to arise from an imaginary change of situations with the person principally concerned, yet this imaginary change is not supposed to happen to me in my own person and character, but in that of the person with whom I sympathize.
Seite 181 - ... insulting adulation of addresses, and the whole weight of her accumulated wrongs, with a serene patience, in a manner suited to her rank and race, and becoming the offspring of a sovereign distinguished for her piety and her courage; that, like her, she has lofty sentiments; that she feels with the dignity of a Roman matron ; that in the last extremity she will save herself from the last disgrace, and that if she must fall, she will fall by no ignoble hand.

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