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From Battlefields Rising: How The Civil War Transformed American…

av Randall Fuller

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
471416,003 (3.92)2
This book considers the effects of the American civil war on those who helped a young nation imagine itself, the writers and artists of the early to mid-nineteenth century. One of the war's many traumas was the pain of witnessing the disintegration of a symbolic order they had helpedconstruct in previous decades. If Emerson, Whitman, Hawthorne and Melville grounded their writing on a coherent national myth, aimed at a familiar audience, the civil war challenged every prior presumption and called on the writers to confront novel exigencies with a suitable new style and form.Put another way, it forced them to engage anew with the language and symbols that had shaped America's previous conception of itself. As a result, poetry became more important for Emerson and Melville, while the prose form re-emerged in Whitman's undervalued Memoranda During the War. It energizedthe poetry of Emily Dickinson and seemed to silence Hawthorne, who could no longer organize romance amid the wartime reports he read and the military camps he visited.Fuller shows how the war shaped and influenced poetic language and narrative during a time of full scale national crisis. In so doing, his book takes up where very few literary historians have previously ventured. Seeking to change the way scholars and students read the late work of major writerssuch as Hawthorne, Emerson, Melville, and others, this study will challenge easy conclusions and earlier notions about the differences between ante- and postbellum writing. It uncovers a host of continuities extending from the 'Romantic' to the 'Realist' periods of American writing while alsorevealing previously unseen ruptures and tensions within the work of individual writers. It offers a literary history from the era that forever changed America's early idealism into something rawer - and something more American - that set the stage for a new model of literary social engagement andexperimentation.… (mer)

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Randall Fuller makes use of a volcano metaphor to begin and end his enthusiastic yet complex task of exploring the effects of the divisive Civil War upon American literature. To the poets and authors of the late 19th century, the explosive nature of a volcano epitomized the war between states and gave birth to a new era of writing that tried to make sense of a national tragedy. The eruption of war brought an abrupt end to the romantic writing of the time and replaced it with the new reality of the devastation of a long and bloody war.

From Ft. Sumter to Appomattox and from Uncle Tom’s Cabin to The Gates Ajar, the second bestselling novel of the 19th century in which comfort was given to postwar readers, Dr. Fuller gives a well-documented and highly readable overview of both history and literature. Through the eyes of the icons of America’s chroniclers including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, et al., we see the profound influence of four years of fiery waves of battles and the toll of the infinite dead on the language of this period. I highly recommend this vibrant record of a defining time that forever changed the American way of life. ( )
1 rösta Donna828 | Apr 18, 2011 |
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This book considers the effects of the American civil war on those who helped a young nation imagine itself, the writers and artists of the early to mid-nineteenth century. One of the war's many traumas was the pain of witnessing the disintegration of a symbolic order they had helpedconstruct in previous decades. If Emerson, Whitman, Hawthorne and Melville grounded their writing on a coherent national myth, aimed at a familiar audience, the civil war challenged every prior presumption and called on the writers to confront novel exigencies with a suitable new style and form.Put another way, it forced them to engage anew with the language and symbols that had shaped America's previous conception of itself. As a result, poetry became more important for Emerson and Melville, while the prose form re-emerged in Whitman's undervalued Memoranda During the War. It energizedthe poetry of Emily Dickinson and seemed to silence Hawthorne, who could no longer organize romance amid the wartime reports he read and the military camps he visited.Fuller shows how the war shaped and influenced poetic language and narrative during a time of full scale national crisis. In so doing, his book takes up where very few literary historians have previously ventured. Seeking to change the way scholars and students read the late work of major writerssuch as Hawthorne, Emerson, Melville, and others, this study will challenge easy conclusions and earlier notions about the differences between ante- and postbellum writing. It uncovers a host of continuities extending from the 'Romantic' to the 'Realist' periods of American writing while alsorevealing previously unseen ruptures and tensions within the work of individual writers. It offers a literary history from the era that forever changed America's early idealism into something rawer - and something more American - that set the stage for a new model of literary social engagement andexperimentation.

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