By Caroline F. Levander, Robert S. Levine
A better half to American Literary stories addresses the main provocative questions, topics, and matters animating the sector. Essays supply readers with the information and conceptual instruments for knowing American literary stories because it is practiced this present day, and chart new instructions for the way forward for the subject.Offers updated money owed of significant new severe techniques to American literary reviews provides cutting-edge essays on a whole variety of subject matters imperative to the fieldEssays discover severe and institutional genealogies of the sphere, more and more various conceptions of yank literary research, and unheard of fabric adjustments reminiscent of the electronic revolution a distinct anthology within the box, and an important source for libraries, college, graduate scholars, and complex undergraduates
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Extra info for A Companion to American Literary Studies (Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture)
Form bends people to the bitter facts of existence: it makes us contented, but with the important proviso that since happiness “is increasingly hard to attain in everyday life, a ‘form’ becomes necessary which can in some way guarantee its existence” (33). From this perspective, form is the afterimage of conflict that has been reconciled and managed; it marks a social suture, indicating the “spot” where aesthetic techniques have been called into the service of restoring an image of consensus. The overall thrust of this argument is that literary form serves a generally conservative function, not by eliminating social tensions altogether, but by expressing them in ways that allow people to adjust themselves to economic, political, social, or existential unpleasantness.
As Freneau put it in the “Advertisement” that prefaced the 1809 edition of his work, “These poems were intended . . to expose vice and treason their own hideous deformity” while promoting “honour and patriotism in their native beauty,” and it is not hard to see how lines contrasting brave American military commanders with feckless British generals fulfilled this stated purpose (Poems Written 1:3). Attention to form enabled Freneau to think about spreading this message so that popular (in the political sense of issues relating to the public) matters would be made popular (in the cultural sense of art and expression that appeal to the tastes of ordinary people).
Poetry and mainstream fiction genres [have] become for them a suspicious form that partakes in processes of social and ideological reproduction” (qtd. in Pfister, Critique 227–8). I still encounter this position. Also, beginning in the 1990s critics such as Harold Bloom, Denis Donoghue, and Marjorie Perloff felt it exigent to “defend” literary beauty and formalism against “cultural studies” or materialist historicism, spearheading a return to aesthetics and more conventional approaches to literary analysis.
A Companion to American Literary Studies (Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture) by Caroline F. Levander, Robert S. Levine