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Ruthless Democracy : A Multicultural Interpretation of the American Renaissance - Timothy B. Powell

Ruthless Democracy

A Multicultural Interpretation of the American Renaissance

Paperback

Published: 1st May 2000
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In "Ruthless Democracy," Timothy Powell reimagines the canonical origins of "American" identity by juxtaposing authors such as Hawthorne, Melville, and Thoreau with Native American, African American, and women authors. Taking his title from Melville, Powell identifies an unresolvable conflict between America's multicultural history and its violent will to monoculturalism. Powell challenges existing perceptions of the American Renaissance--the period at the heart of the American canon and its evolutions--by expanding the parameters of American identity.

Drawing on the critical traditions of cultural studies and new historicism, Powell invents a new critical paradigm called "historical multiculturalism." Moving beyond the polarizing rhetoric of the culture wars, Powell grounds his multicultural conception of American identity in careful historical analysis. "Ruthless Democracy" extends the cultural and geographical boundaries of the American Renaissance beyond the northeast to Indian Territory, Alta California, and the transnational sphere that Powell calls the American Diaspora. Arguing for the inclusion of new works, Powell envisions the canon of the American Renaissance as a fluid dialogue of disparate cultural voices.

"Timothy Powell's theoretically sophisticated and impressively researched book demonstrates that [multiculturalism] can ... produce literary criticism and historicism of the first order."--Christopher Diller, The New England Quarterly

Acknowledgementsp. vii
Historical Interludep. 3
Introduction Theorizing Ruthless Democracyp. 5
Beyond New Englandp. 25
Historical Interludep. 27
Nathaniel Hawthorne: History Imagined ""Fantastically Awry""p. 30
Historical Interludep. 49
John Rollin Ridge: Extending the Borders of ""America"" from New England to Alta Californiap. 52
Historical Interludep. 75
Henry David Thoreau: ""The Only True America""p. 77
Toward A Transnational Understanding of ""American"" Identityp. 101
Histori
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691007304
ISBN-10: 0691007306
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: 1st May 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.42 x 15.55  x 1.88
Weight (kg): 0.35