Conspiracy and Romance: Studies in Brockden Brown, Cooper, Hawthorne, and Melville

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 29, 1989 - Literary Criticism - 302 pages
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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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Contents

Acknowledgments page ix
1
Villainy
15
Oligarchy and
58
Captains and Mutineers
165
Epilogue
231
Copyright

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Page 281 - Call me Ishmael. Some years ago never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.

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Melville's Anatomies
Samuel Otter
Limited preview - 1999
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About the author (1989)

Robert S. Levine is Professor of English and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of Dislocating Race and Nation (2008) and the editor of a number of volumes, including The Cambridge Companion to Herman Melville (1998). He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim Foundation.

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