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Title: Literary patriots : nationalism in American women's writing 1827-1862
Author: Harris , Jane Elizabeth
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract:
This thesis undertakes an examination of American nationalism in women's writing of the antebellum period. This was a significant time of national formation which witnessed the geographical area of the nation double as new lands in the West and their inhabitants were brought into the Union. In addition, previously unprecedented numbers of immigrants were arriving from the Old World, causing anxiety among many native-born Americans about the national character and identity. The female literature of the period engages with these issues in ways which have not yet been fully explored and which invite a fresh critical examination. In this thesis, I argue that the idea of the American nation was formulated and investigated in the work of antebellum domestic writers, just as it was in the writings of politicians, newspaper men or the male writers of the American Renaissance; and that discussion of this aspect of the women's writing adds much to our understanding of the nature of American nationalism at this time and to how it chimed with contemporary cultural attitudes. The writers selected do not simply theorise national identity but promulgate, suggest, explore and debate what it means to be American and the qualities and characteristics which embody the ideal American. They are all members of well- established American families in the Northeastern states, and they work within a matrix of belief with regard to race, religion and class. Each author selected confronts the issue of national identity in her own way - adapting the genres of the historical novel, the bildungsroman, local colour writing and the traditional domestic novel - to create texts which were widely read not only in America itself but throughout Britain and Europe, spreading the writers' own national vision in the New and Old World alike. In so doing, they demonstrate their importance both as agents of America's growing sense of its nationhood and as significant contributors to nineteenth-century American literature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.575375  DOI: Not available
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