The Culture of Sentiment: Race, Gender, and Sentimentality in 19th-Century America

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Shirley Samuels
Oxford University Press, Dec 17, 1992 - Literary Criticism - 360 pages
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Samuels's collection of critical essays gives body and scope to the subject of nineteenth-century sentimentality by situating it in terms of "women's culture" and issues of race. Presenting an interdisciplinary range of approaches that consider sentimental culture before and after the Civil War, these critical studies of American literature and culture fundamentally reorient the field. Moving beyond alignment with either pro- or anti-sentimentality camps, the collection makes visible the particular racial and gendered forms that define the aesthetics and politics of the culture of sentiment. Drawing on the fields of American cultural history, American studies, and literary criticism, the contributors include 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.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
Literary Eavesdropping Domestic Fiction and Educational Reform
9
Competing Narratives of Womanhood in the Murder Trial of Lucretia Chapman
39
Lydia Maria Childs Antislavery Fiction and the Limits of Genre
58
Reading Godeys Ladys Book in Antebellum America
73
The Intersecting Rhetorics of Feminism and Abolition
92
Gender Empire and New Historicism
115
7 Class and the Strategies of Sympathy
128
The Greek Slave
172
11 Sympathy as Strategy in Sedgwicks Hope Leslie
191
The Aesthetics of Sentiment in the Work of Stowe
203
13 The Mulatto Tragic or Triumphant? The NineteenthCentury American Race Melodrama
221
Resistant Orality in Uncle Toms Cabin Our Nig Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Beloved
244
Fanny Fern and the Form of Sentiment
265
Notes
283
Contributors
341

The Cultural Problem of Gambling
143
9 The Identity of Slavery
157

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Page 11 - In reaction against their world view, and perhaps even more against their success, twentiethcentury critics have taught generations of students to equate popularity with debasement, emotionality with ineffectiveness, religiosity with fakery, domesticity with triviality, and all of these, implicitly, with womanly inferiority.
Page 11 - ... a political enterprise, halfway between sermon and social theory, that both codifies and attempts to mold the values of its time.

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