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Narrating Discovery : The Romantic Explorer in American Literature, 1790-1855 - Bruce Greenfield

Narrating Discovery

The Romantic Explorer in American Literature, 1790-1855

Hardcover Published: 19th November 1992
ISBN: 9780231079969
Number Of Pages: 249
For Ages: 22+ years old

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In Narrating Discovery Bruce Greenfield chronicles the development of the antebellum Euro-American discovery narrative. These narratives depicted the Euro-American advance westward not as a violent intrusion into occupied territories but as an inevitable by-product of science and civilization. Despite the centrality of indigenous peoples in the frontier narratives, the landscape was nevertheless sketched in biblical terms as "a terrestrial paradise ...unpeopled and unexplored," as writers insisted upon seeing "emptiness as the essential quality of the land."
Beginning with the British writers Hearne, Mackenzie, and Henry, Greenfield then traces the early American narratives of Lewis and Clark, Pike, and Fremont, demonstrating how these agents of the first New World nation-state brought a distinct imperial mentality to the frontier, viewing it both as foreign and as part of their home.
But Romantic writers such as Cooper, Irving, Poe, and Thoreau felt ill at ease with the colonialist discourse they inherited, and Greenfield shows how to varying degrees each altered a discourse openly based on subjugation to one highlighting profoundly personal and aesthetic responses to the American landscape. The book concludes with an illuminating discussion of Thoreau, who transformed the discovery narrative from its origins in conflict and institutional authority into the "expression of personal identity with the continent as a symbol of American potential."
Written with clarity and insight, Narrating Discovery brings a fresh perspective to current debates over who "discovered" America and recovers the complexity of frontier experience through a searching look at some of the vivid narrative accounts.

Introductionp. 1
Trading and Telling: Discovery and the British Fur Tradep. 15
Traveling for Historyp. 15
Discovery and Narrative Structure in Samuel Hearne's Journey to the Northern Oceanp. 26
Alexander Mackenzie's Voyages: Discovery and the Fur Trade Entrepreneurp. 41
Alexander Henry's Travels and Adventures: Narrating Captivityp. 55
Early Western Travels and the American Selfp. 71
Lewis and Clark's History: The Search for Authorityp. 84
Zebulon Pike and John Charles Fremont: Pioneers of Popular Self-Discoveryp. 102
Washington Irving: Historian of American Discoveryp. 113
Irving's Columbusp. 122
Irving on the Prairiesp. 130
Irving's Discovery of the Far Westp. 144
Poe and Thoreau: The Romantic Discovery Narrativep. 165
Discovery and Violence: Poe's Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pymp. 165
Thoreau's Discovery of America: A Nineteenth-Century First Contactp. 183
Conclusionp. 203
Notesp. 211
Works Consultedp. 233
Indexp. 245
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780231079969
ISBN-10: 0231079966
Series: The Social Foundations of Aesthetic Forms
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 22+ years old
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 249
Published: 19th November 1992
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 16.51  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.49

Earn 368 Qantas Points
on this Book