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Conspiracy and Romance : Studies in Brockden Brown, Cooper, Hawthorne, and Melville - Robert S. Levine

Conspiracy and Romance

Studies in Brockden Brown, Cooper, Hawthorne, and Melville

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Published: 29th September 1989
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Robert Levine has examined the American romance in a new historical context. His book offers a fresh reading of the genre, establishing its importance to American culture between the founding of the Republic and the Civil War. With convincing historical and literary detail, Levine shows that anxieties about foreign elements - French revolutionaries, secret societies, Catholic immigrants, African slaves - are central to the fictional worlds of Brockden Brown, Cooper, Hawthorne and Melville. Ormond, The Bravo, The Blithedale Romance, and Benito Cereno are examined by Levine to demonstrate that the romance dramatised the same conflicts and ideals which gave rise to the American Republic. Americans conceived 'America' as a historical romance, and their romances dramatize the historical conditions of the culture. The fear that reputed conspiracies would subvert the order and integrity of the new nation were recurrent and widespread: Levine argues that these fears informed the works of major romance writers from the turn of the century until the Civil War.

"...all readers interested in the American novel will find his study provocative and frequently insightful." Michael Oriard, Studies in the Novel "...richly interdisciplinary in its scholarship and the most committed to detailing precise ways that...American romancers have been very anxiously and actively responsive to their society." ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance "Levine does an excellent job of situating the works he examines in particular ideological frameworks...Levine's analysis of the ways in which themes transfer across discourse communities suggests some useful directions for rethinking the relation of the traditional American literary canon to the cultural situation that gave rise to its texts." Journal of American History "Levine provides useful information on the Illuminati scare and the counter-subversive discourse of the 1790's...Levine's persuasive analysis provides an example of how historical scholarship can significantly change one's reading of an individual text while also allowing that text to inform one's perception of its original audience." Scott Peeples, The Eighteenth Century

Acknowledgements
Introduction
'The defencelessness of her condition': Villainy and Vulnerability in Charles Brockden Brown's Ormond
'Souless Corporation;: Oligarchy and the Countersubversive Presence in James Fenimore Cooper's The Bravo
'A confusion of popish and protestant emblems': Insiders and Outsiders in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance
'Follow you Leader': Captains and Mutineers in Herman Melville's Benito Cereno
Epilogue
Notes
Index.
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521366540
ISBN-10: 0521366542
Series: Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 316
Published: 29th September 1989
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.64