Maps and Monsters in Medieval England

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Taylor & Francis, 2006 - History - 264 pages
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The book analyzes American literature about middle or upper class characters who voluntarily descend the class ranks to experience "vital contact" by living or associating, temporarily, with the poor. The motivations of these characters--and historical figures such as John Reed and Walter Wyckoff--range from straightforward bohemian slumming among the "exotics" to more complex and psychologically wrought investigations of cross-class empathy. The study begins by charting downclasing processes in works of canonical nineteenth-century authors, including Melville, Hawthorne, James, Howells and Jewett. It then undertakes an original analysis of John Reed's involvement with the 1913 Paterson silk workers' strike as a context for understanding Ernest Poole's (now forgotten, but then best-selling) fictionalization of the strike in his novel, The Harbor. In other richly historicized chapters, it analyzes distillations of class radicalism in several works by Upton Sinclair, in the early drama of Eugene O'Neill, and in feminist novels of the 1910s by Elia Peattie and Clara Laughlin. The concluding chapter looks at sophisticated treatments of "vital contact" in fiction of the 1930s by Dos Passos, Steinbeck and Richard Wright. The book provides Americanists with important new ways of thinking about various forms of class identification as they developed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
 

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Contents

Medieval English Manuscripts Maps and Monsters A Users Guide
1
Mapping the Outer Edges of the World
9
Chapter One Mythical Origins
11
Chapter Two Mapping Identity
27
Chapter Three The Monsters on the Edge
45
The Marvels of the East over Three Centuries and a Millennium
61
Chapter Four The Reality and Persistence of Monsters
63
Chapter Five Containment and Consumption
83
Chapter Seven Monstrous Nature
117
Chapter Eight The Monster Within
147
Chapter Nine Saints in the Margins
179
Dwelling in the Monster
203
Notes
211
Bibliography
247
Index
261
Back cover
273

Chapter Six Monstrous Sin and Salvation
107
Lexical Spaces as Battlegrounds
115

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