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Friday, 13 April 2007

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The Constructivist

Dewd, aren't you overstating the 19th C transnational lacuna just a tad? Or am I wrong that Looby's Voicing America (1996), Schueller's U.S. Orientalisms (1998), Jones's Strange Talk, and Brickhouse's Transamerican Literary Relations and the Nineteenth-Century Public Sphere (2004) aren't doing what you're praising? And our historian pals are all over the story.

Even granting this, I agree with your general point. I'm interested in why. I don't think it's just because the American Renaissance became the core of the American exceptionalist argument (even though it wasn't in the original scholarship). It may just be because people have stopped reading Matthiessen's American Renaissance and Colacurcio's The Province of Piety (to pick two previous generations' classics) and therefore don't notice how big a role British lit plays in their arguments. But I wonder if there's a more historical explanation--that between Colacurcio's generation, which was a bit obsessed with establishing the disciplinary and literary authenticity of American Studies in general (from his accounts) and the feminists/multiculturalists who followed them (who took the authenticity for granted but wanted to turn the spotlight onto the previous generations' blind spots), looking to a transatlantic Anglo culture for context began to seem passe.

But that's probably wrong, too--I mean, there's a million studies of the transatlantic abolitionist movement, and Black Studies (both before and since Gilroy) had its England-Africa-Caribbean-connectors.

What do you think?

SEK
But I wonder if there's a more historical explanation--that between Colacurcio's generation, which was a bit obsessed with establishing the disciplinary and literary authenticity of American Studies in general (from his accounts) and the feminists/multiculturalists who followed them (who took the authenticity for granted but wanted to turn the spotlight onto the previous generations' blind spots), looking to a transatlantic Anglo culture for context began to seem passe.

[snip]

What do you think?

I think you wrote in a sentence something I spent about four hours trying to organize yesterday. I'm not sure whether I want to thank you or cry.

The Constructivist

Hmm, maybe I should treat my book manuscript the way I treat commenting in others' blogs rather than the way I treat my Hawthorne blogging.

Hoping you bring Giles and Peyser into the mix in future posts, as I've only read bits from the first and none from the latter--looking forward to learning about matters postbellum!

SEK

If by "bring Giles into the mix" you mean "have him write a post himself," well then, your wish is my command!

The Constructivist

An act of geni(e)us!

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