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Title: Creditable narratives : Washington Irving's American literary currency
Author: Harman, K. R. C.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1997
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Confronting the needs of his personal economics. Washington Irving explored the relationship between credit and dis-credit within his writing. With an emphasis on textual analysis, I investigate the effect upon his work of this attempt to create a 'creditable narrative' - both credible as story and capable of functioning satisfactorily in the market. In the search for a satisfactory form he appropriated various narrative voices and styles. I argue that the literary currency introduced into circulation by Irving in the first half of the nineteenth century should be recognised as an important medium of exchange, one against which many later American writers measured their productions. In the first chapter I examine Irving's search for the authority with which to describe the changes consequent upon New York's growing importance as a centre for commerce and consumerism, discussing the first edition of A History of New York (1809) and Salmagundi (1806-07), examining the conflicts exposed by Irving's desire to create an associative poetic history for America, and showing that Irving was dissatisfied with the models he employed. My second and third chapters read Irving's European writings in the light of the author's experience of financial bankruptcy. This experience is deeply implicated within his writing and he uses it as a means to explore the debt owed by the American writer to Europe. Through the mediating voice of Geoffrey Crayon, Irving utilised the trope of the Picturesque to explore the ways in which a writer can appropriate landscape to assert cultural authority. I discuss The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (1819-20).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available