Conspiracy and Romance: Studies in Brockden Brown, Cooper, Hawthorne, and Melville
Cambridge University Press, Sep 29, 1989 - Literary Criticism - 302 pages
Robert Levine examines 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 persuasively explicated by Levine to demonstrate that the romance dramatized the same conflicts and ideals that 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 illuminates the influence of such fears on the works of major romance writers during this period.
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Acknowledgments page ix
Captains and Mutineers
alarmist American Literature American romance antebellum anti-Catholic Antimasonic anxieties argues aristocrats authority Babo Benito Cereno Blithedale Blithedale Romance Blithedale's Bravo Brook Farm captain Carwin Catholic Charles Brockden Brown communitarian confessional conspiracy conspiratorial fears conspirators Constantia convent countersubversive Coverdale Coverdale's culture Dana Delano democratic desire discourse Don Camillo early Endicott England enslaved Federalist fiction Hawthorne Hawthorne's History Hollingsworth ideal ideology Illuminati inside institutions Jacksonian Jacopo James Fenimore Cooper Letters literary Marble Faun mask Masons melodramatic Melville Melville's millennial moral Morse murder mutiny narrative narrator Nathaniel Hawthorne nativist novel novella oligarchical Ormond perspective plot plotters political priests Priscilla Protestant Puritans reader reading reform republic republican Revolution revolutionary revolutionism rhetoric sailors Scarlet Letter scene secret ship slavery social society Somers Sophia subversive suggests tale threat threatening tion University Press Venetian Venice villainous vulnerable warned White-Jacket Wieland William writes York Zenobia