Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America

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9780195041088: Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America

Revolution and the Word offers a unique perspective on the origins of American fiction, looking not only at the early novels themselves but at the people who produced them, sold them, and read them. It shows how, in the aftermath of the American Revolution, the novel found a special place among the least privileged citizens of the new republic. As Cathy N. Davidson explains, early American novels--most of them now long forgotten--were a primary means by which those who bought and read them, especially women and the lower classes, moved into the higher levels of literacy required by a democracy. This very fact, Davidson shows, also made these people less amenable to the control of the gentry who, naturally enough, derided fiction as a potentially subversive genre. Combining rigorous historical methods with the newest insights of literacy theory, Davidson brilliantly reconstructs the complex interplay of politics, ideology, economics, and other social forces that governed the way novels were written, published, distributed, and understood. Davidson also shows, in almost tactile detail, how many Americans lived during the Constitutional era. She depicts the life of the traveling book peddler, the harsh lot of the printer, the shortcomings of early American schools, the ambiguous politics of novelists like Brackenridge and Tyler, and the lost lives of ordinary women like Tabitha Tenney and Patty Rogers. Drawing on a vast body of material--the novels themselves as well as reviews, inscriptions in cherished books, letters and diaries, and many other records--Davidson presents the genesis of American literature in its fullest possible context.

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About the Author:


Cathy N. Davidson, Professor of English at Michigan State University and Visiting Professor at Princeton University, has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. She is the editor of the Oxford editions of The Coquette and Charlotte Temple.

Review:

"Essential reading in the field of history of the book. Well written and accessible to undergraduates."--Rosalind Remer, Moravian College

"[A] magnificent source book."--Leonard Cassuto, Fordham University

"An excellent study, learned and discerning, far and away the best book ever written on the early American novel. It is important...as a reinterpretation of the literary culture of the whole early national era...and--beyond that--as a model in some important respects for literary historians
working in any period and genre."--American Literature

"[A] complex, wide-ranging, and important book....[It] takes its place as one of the first important books...written on the American side of this still evolving, strongly interdisciplinary field."--Journal of the Early Republic

"Drawing on recent work in social history, post-structuralist literary theory and feminist studies, [Davidson] argues persuasively that the genesis of American fiction was an integral part of a widespread crisis of authority in early modern America....A wonderful book."--The Nation

"A fascinating and groundbreaking book."--Philadelphia Inquirer

"Revolution and the Word--sophisticated, comprehensive and imaginative--charts this wilderness birthplace of American fiction and updates our notion of literary criticism in the process....As remarkable for its methods as for its message."--San Francisco Chronicle

"An engaging combination of information and analysis, Davidson's book on the production and readers of the early novel will be a valuable resource for anyone interested in the history of the novel, of reading, or of American literature."--Library Journal

"Truly original scholarship that will alter our perceptions of writers and readers, and fiction and history, in the United States."--Emory Elliott, Princeton University

"The publication of Revolution and the Word signals a new maturity in literary criticism of the fiction of early America. The result is truly original scholarship that will alter our perceptions of writers and readers, and fiction and history, in the United States."--Emory Elliott, University
of California, Riverside

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Davidson, Cathy N.
Editore: Oxford University Press (1987)
ISBN 10: 0195041089 ISBN 13: 9780195041088
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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press, 1987. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110195041089

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Davidson, Cathy N.
Editore: Oxford University Press
ISBN 10: 0195041089 ISBN 13: 9780195041088
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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 0195041089 New Condition. Codice libro della libreria NEW6.1053626

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