Slavery, Philosophy, and American Literature, 1830-1860

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Juni 2008



Examining the literature of slavery and race before the Civil War, Maurice Lee demonstrates for the first time exactly how the slavery crisis became a crisis of philosophy that exposed the breakdown of national consensus and the limits of rational authority. Poe, Stowe, Douglass, Melville, and Emerson were among the antebellum authors who tried - and failed - to find rational solutions to the slavery conflict. Unable to mediate the slavery controversy as the nation moved toward war, their writings form an uneasy transition between the confident rationalism of the American Enlightenment and the more skeptical thought of the pragmatists. Lee draws on antebellum moral philosophy, political theory, and metaphysics, bringing a fresh perspective to the literature of slavery - one that synthesizes cultural studies and intellectual history to argue that romantic, sentimental, and black Atlantic writers all struggled with modernity when facing the slavery crisis.


Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Absolute Poe; 2. 'Lord, it's so hard to be good': affect and agency in Stowe; 3. Taking care of the philosophy: Douglass's common sense; 4. Melville and the state of war; 5. Toward a transcendental politics: Emerson's second thoughts; Epilogue: an unfinished and not unhappy ending; Index.


Maurice S. Lee is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Missouri.


Review of the hardback: '... a thought-provoking attempt to integrate antebellum literature into an American intellectual history from American Enlightenment to postbellum pragmatism.' Journal of American Studies Review of the hardback: 'The chapters on Poe and Stowe dazzle most ... Lee's knowledge of philosophy and literature is broad, deep, and in constant service; his prose ripples with instructive allusions near and far.' Literature and History
EAN: 9780521846530
ISBN: 0521846536
Untertitel: 'Cambridge Studies in American'. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: Juni 2008
Seitenanzahl: 223 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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