A Companion to American Fiction 1780 - 1865

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Shirley Samuels
Wiley, Nov 12, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 470 pages
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This Companion presents the current state of criticism in the field of American fiction from the earliest declarations of nationhood to secession and civil war.

  • Draws heavily on historical and cultural contexts in its consideration of American fiction

  • Relates the fiction of the period to conflicts about territory and sovereignty and to issues of gender, race, ethnicity and identity
  • Covers different forms of fiction, including children’s literature, sketches, polemical pieces, historical romances, Gothic novels and novels of exploration
  • Considers both canonical and lesser-known authors, including James Fennimore Cooper, Hannah Foster, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville and Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Treats neglected topics, such as the Western novel, science and the novel, and American fiction in languages other than English

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About the author (2004)

Shirley Samuels is Professor of English and American Studies at Cornell University. She is the author of Romances of the Republic (1996) and Facing America: Iconography and the Civil War (2004), and the editor of The Culture of Sentiment (1992). She is also currently the section editor of “American Literature before 1865” for the Blackwell online www.literature-compass.com.

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