Thomas Paine and the Literature of Revolution

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November 2014



Thomas Paine has been celebrated for his role in persuading the American colonists to revolt against Britain and declare their independence. At the same time, however, scholars have generally dismissed his writings as propaganda. This book demonstrates that Paine was a skilled and sophisticated writer and thinker who transformed political literature in the late eighteenth century by creating a new literature of politics that bridged political philosophy and the everyday, common-sensical knowledge of ordinary people. The impact of this new political language would be remarkable as it energized a mass public to participate in the arena of politics, an arena from which they had been excluded.


Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Inventing an American public: the Pennsylvania Magazine and revolutionary American political discourse; 2. 'Could the Wolf Bleat Like the Lamb': Paine's critique of the early American public sphere; 3. Writing revolutionary history; 4. The science of revolution: technological metaphors and scientific methodology in Rights of Man and The Age of Reason; 5. 'Strong Friends and Violent Enemies': the historical construction of Thomas Paine through the nineteenth century; Epilogue: Paine and nineteenth-century American literary history; Works cited; Index.


Edward Larkin is Assistant Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Richmond. He received a B.A. from Harvard University in 1990 and a Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1998. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to lecture on American studies and literature at Tallinn Pedagogical University in Tallinn, Estonia, during the 2004-05 academic year. Larkin is the editor of a new edition of Common Sense (Broadview Press, 2004) and has published numerous articles in Early American Literature and Arizona Quarterly.


"Edward Larkin's impressive study of Paine's literary achievement takes such moments of rhetorical complexity seriously. This book is really the first to assess Paine's place in eighteenth-century print culture by analyzing a broad range of his writings...Larkin offers historical context and careful rhetorical analysis of well-known writings such as Common Sense, The Rights of Man (1791), and The Age of Reason (1794-95), as well as the less canonical Letter to the Abbe Raynal (1782) and The Letter to George Washington (1796)...The most impressive features of this book are Larkin's willingness to creatively reconceptualize genre and his ability to find important figurative and thematic relations within the Paine canon." -William and Mary Quarterly "the analysis of Paine's writings is illuminating. If there are some who still doubt the sophistication of Paine's thought and the seriousness of purpose with which he challenged hierarchy, Larkin's cogent book should convince them otherwise." -Matthew Rainbow Hale, Goucher College "Larkin's study should strengthen Paine's reputation, and this study should become an important s tarting point for students and teachers of teh Revolutionary period. Larkin has done Paine, and us, a great service." - Scott Slawinksi, Western Michigan University "Only in htel ast few decades have scholars begun to take a balanced view of Paine, and a recent spate of books and articles on his tempestuous career and powerful pen bode well for a fuller understanding of this itnriguing individual. Among the best of these recent works, Edward Larkin's literary study of Paine's prose is a much needed complement of the political, historical, and philosophical emphases of other books and articles. Larkin reconstructs the significance of Paine's editorship of the Pennsylvania Magazine as a touchstone for the idea of an inclusive American public." - Ben Ponder, Northwestern University The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
EAN: 9780521841153
ISBN: 0521841151
Untertitel: New. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: November 2014
Seitenanzahl: 216 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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