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The Culture of Sentiment : Race, Gender, and Sentimentality in Nineteenth Century America - Shirley Samuels

The Culture of Sentiment

Race, Gender, and Sentimentality in Nineteenth Century America

By: Shirley Samuels (Editor)

Hardcover Published: 17th December 1992
ISBN: 9780195063547
Number Of Pages: 360

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In this important new collection, leading scholars in nineteenth-century American culture re-examine the vexed subject of sentimentality. These essays draw upon a range of interdisciplinary approaches to situate sentimentality in terms of "women's culture" and issues of race, before and after the Civil War. Moving beyond the canonical debates about sentimentality, the collection makes visible the particular racial and gendered forms that define the aesthetics and politics of the American culture of sentiment.
The contributors use evidence from American cultural history, American studies, and literary criticism, to examine the process by which nineteenth-century American culture was both produced and contested. They present incisive readings of scenes like an antebellum murder trial, the erotic attention audiences paid to the statues of Hiram Powers, and the engravings of Godey's Ladies Book. In addition, they use the writings of Harriet Jacobs, Mark Twain, James Fenimore Cooper, Pauline Hopkins, W.E.B. DuBois, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, to question the political fables immanent in this literature. More generally, they portray nineteenth-century American sentimentality as a national project - a project about imagining the nation's bodies and the national body.
With essays by Lauren Berlant, Ann Fabian, Susan Gillman, Karen Halttunen, Carolyn L. Karcher, Joy Kasson, Amy Schrager Lang, Isabelle Lehuu, Harryette Mullen, Dana Nelson, Lora Romero, Shirley Samuels, Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Lynn Wardley, and Laura Wexler, The Culture of Sentiment significantly reorients the field of nineteenth-century American literature, art, culture, and history. It will be of keen interest to those concerned with women's studies, American studies, cultural studies, African-American studies, and American history and literature.

"The essays provide an expansive treatment of the cult of sentimentality, ranging from art and popular culture to history and literature."--Choice "This collection is exceptionally strong, the quality of the work consistently high. The volume will serve as a kind of benchmark in American cultural studies, for it consolidates a movement within the field that has been forming over the last ten years or so, and represents a coming-of-age of a particular kind of work: feminist, new historicist, race-class-gender oriented, and theoretically sophisticated without being jargon-ridden."--Jane Tompkins, Duke University "A boldly articulated series of revaluations of the domestic body politic of nineteenth-century America. These essays, investigating domesticity as it is embodied in novels, autobiographies, journalism, educational handbooks, photography, and sculpture, will be valuable both to students of nineteenth-century culture and to those interested in how twentieth-century women evaluate their forebears' work in the constitution of nineteenth-century American life."--John Shoptaw, Princeton University "[An] excellent volume: well-written and edited, beautifully produced and illustrated, and unusually well-integrated, this collection demands a place on the bookshelves of all with an interest in nineteenth-century American society....Despite the wide diversity of subjects and approaches, the shared theme of sentimentality results in an unusually unified volume, one that significantly broadens the debate over the place and significance of sentimentality in nineteenth-century America....All of the volume's essays are characterized by consistently high quality, theoretical sophistication, and innovative scholarship, but are mercifully free of jargon....As the contributors forge new pathways, their volume enriches all who share an interest in American culture and society. Their book is exciting and important, for it does nothing less than add new ways of conceptualizing women, men, and society in nineteenth-century America."--Journal of the Early Republic "Invaluable....Samuels has arranged the collection so that the essays both intelligently complement and are informed by each other, creating a cohesive whole while providing a broad range of subjects and approaches to the function of sentimentality....The text will provide teachers and scholars of American literature and culture with a rich, much-needed mine of information and criticism on an aspect of nineteenth-century studies that has until very recently been insufficiently explored."--American Literature "Of great interest to all those concerned with women's studies and psychoanalytic and Marxist interpretations."--The Historian "Samuels must be commended for assembling fifteen essays that so skillfully discuss the central and wide-ranging position of sentimentalism in American culture....This volume is rich with insight..."-- Nineteenth-Century Literature "The most effective essays in this book not only analyze-with breathtaking historical and theoretical sophistication-the paradoxical effects of ninetheenth-century sentimentality in its own time, but also lay bare its links with twentieth-century perceptions of difference."--he Women's Review of Books "The essays in this volume [are] very well worth reading."--Reviews in American History "I consider this volume to be a significant contribution to an area of study that has considerably changed our view of American Studies....The contributors to this volume have no doubt added to the new perspectives already established in cultural studies and have further elaborated problematic areas of discourse in American culture. This volume will undoubtedly exert some impact on future historians of ideas in America."--English Literary History "The essays provide an expansive treatment of the cult of sentimentality, ranging from art and popular culture to history and literature."--Choice "This collection is exceptionally strong, the quality of the work consistently high. The volume will serve as a kind of benchmark in American cultural studies, for it consolidates a movement within the field that has been forming over the last ten years or so, and represents a coming-of-age of a particular kind of work: feminist, new historicist, race-class-gender oriented, and theoretically sophisticated without being jargon-ridden."--Jane Tompkins, Duke University "A boldly articulated series of revaluations of the domestic body politic of nineteenth-century America. These essays, investigating domesticity as it is embodied in novels, autobiographies, journalism, educational handbooks, photography, and sculpture, will be valuable both to students of nineteenth-century culture and to those interested in how twentieth-century women evaluate their forebears' work in the constitution of nineteenth-century American life."--John Shoptaw, Princeton University "[An] excellent volume: well-written and edited, beautifully produced and illustrated, and unusually well-integrated, this collection demands a place on the bookshelves of all with an interest in nineteenth-century American society....Despite the wide diversity of subjects and approaches, the shared theme of sentimentality results in an unusually unified volume, one that significantly broadens the debate over the place and significance of sentimentality in nineteenth-century America....All of the volume's essays are characterized by consistently high quality, theoretical sophistication, and innovative scholarship, but are mercifully free of jargon....As the contributors forge new pathways, their volume enriches all who share an interest in American culture and society. Their book is exciting and important, for it does nothing less than add new ways of conceptualizing women, men, and society in nineteenth-century America."--Journal of the Early Republic "Invaluable....Samuels has arranged the collection so that the essays both intelligently complement and are informed by each other, creating a cohesive whole while providing a broad range of subjects and approaches to the function of sentimentality....The text will provide teachers and scholars of American literature and culture with a rich, much-needed mine of information and criticism on an aspect of nineteenth-century studies that has until very recently been insufficiently explored."--American Literature "Of great interest to all those concerned with women's studies and psychoanalytic and Marxist interpretations."--The Historian "Samuels must be commended for assembling fifteen essays that so skillfully discuss the central and wide-ranging position of sentimentalism in American culture....This volume is rich with insight..."-- Nineteenth-Century Literature "The most effective essays in this book not only analyze-with breathtaking historical and theoretical sophistication-the paradoxical effects of ninetheenth-century sentimentality in its own time, but also lay bare its links with twentieth-century perceptions of difference."--he Women's Review of Books "The essays in this volume [are] very well worth reading."--Reviews in American History "I consider this volume to be a significant contribution to an area of study that has considerably changed our view of American Studies....The contributors to this volume have no doubt added to the new perspectives already established in cultural studies and have further elaborated problematic areas of discourse in American culture. This volume will undoubtedly exert some impact on future historians of ideas in America."--English Literary History

Introductionp. 3
Tender Violence: Literary Eavesdropping, Domestic Fiction, and Educational Reformp. 9
"Domestic Differences": Competing Narratives of Womanhood in the Murder Trial of Lucretia Chapmanp. 39
Rape, Murder, and Revenge in "Slavery's Pleasant Homes": Lydia Maria Child's Antislavery Fiction and the Limits of Genrep. 58
Sentimental Figures: Reading Godey's Lady's Book in Antebellum Americap. 73
Bodily Bonds: The Intersecting Rhetorics of Feminism and Abolitionp. 92
Vanishing Americans: Gender, Empire, and New Historicismp. 115
Class and the Strategies of Sympathyp. 128
Unseemly Sentiments: The Cultural Problem of Gamblingp. 143
The Identity of Slaveryp. 157
Narratives of the Female Body: The Greek Slavep. 172
Sympathy as Strategy in Sedgwick's Hope Lesliep. 191
Relic, Fetish, Femmage: The Aesthetics of Sentiment in the Work of Stowep. 203
The Mulatto, Tragic or Triumphant? The Nineteenth-Century American Race Melodramap. 221
Runaway Tongue: Resistant Orality in Uncle Tom's Cabin, Our Nig, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and Belovedp. 244
The Female Woman: Fanny Fern and the Form of Sentimentp. 265
Notesp. 283
Contributorsp. 341
Indexp. 343
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195063547
ISBN-10: 0195063546
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 360
Published: 17th December 1992
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.52 x 16.0  x 2.82
Weight (kg): 0.77