Body, Nation, and Narrative in the Americas reveals the central role of disappearing and dying bodies within the literature of the Americas, arguing that anxiety regarding the power of the state over the citizen is a defining feature of New World cultural productions. This timely investigation contextualizes disappearance and detention within a framework of literary narratives depicting the dangers facing citizens of the Americas. Kristin E. Pitt examines a wide range of sources, from Hawthorne to Faulkner to Danticat, and finds a persistent focus on the body that links contemporary practices of political terror to inter-American concerns about corporality and sovereignty.
"Pitt's comparative analyses of the literary narratives drawn together in Body, Nation, and Narrative in the Americas enriches and deepens our understanding of the vexed relations between bodies, communities, citizens, and nation-states. Setting out from Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance and concluding with Edwidge Danticat's The Dew Breaker, she herself weaves an astute and compelling narrative of the roles of literal and figurative bodies in the modern nation. The opening and closing chapters insightfully draw our attention to 'disappeared bodies' not only in literary narratives but also to the only-too-literally disappeared, violated, and tortured bodies of the present. A richly written and important contribution." - Mary N. Layoun, Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison