Macropolitics of Nineteenth-century Literature: Nationalism, Exoticism, Imperialism

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Jonathan Arac, Harriet Ritvo
Duke University Press, 1995 - Literary Criticism - 309 pages
Increasingly in the last decade, macropolitics—a consideration of political transformations at the level of the state—has become a focus for cultural inquiry. From the macropolitical perspective afforded by contemporary postcolonial studies, the essays in this collection explore the relationship between politics and culture by examining developments in a wide range of nineteenth-century writing.
The dozen essays gathered here span the entire era of colonization and discuss the British Isles, Europe, the United States, India, the Caribbean, and Africa. Addressing the works of Wordsworth, Shelley, Dickens, Melville, Flaubert, Conrad, and Charlotte Brontė, as well as explorers' reports, Bible translations, popular theater, and folklore, the contributors consider such topics as the political function of aesthetic containment, the redefinitions of nationality under the pressure of imperial ambition, and the coexistence of imperial and revolutionary tendencies. New historical data and new interpretive perspectives alter our conception of established masterpieces and provoke new understandings of the political and cultural context within which these works emerged. This anthology demonstrates that the macropolitical concept of imperialism can provide a new understanding of nineteenth-century cultural production by integrating into a single process the well-established topics of nationalism and exoticism.
First published in 1991 (University of Pennsylvania Press), Macropolitics of Nineteenth-Century Literature is now available in paperback. Offering agenda-setting essays in cultural and Victorian studies, it will be of interest to students and scholars of British and American literature, literary theory, and colonial and postcolonial studies.

Contributors. Jonathan Arac, Chris Bongie, Wai-chee Dimock, Bruce Greenfield, Mark Kipperman, James F. Knapp, Loren Kruger, Lisa Lowe, Susan Meyer, Jeff Nunokawa, Harriet Ritvo, Marlon B. Ross, Nancy Vogeley, Sue Zemka


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About the author (1995)

Jonathan Arac is Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh and author of Commissioned Spirits and Critical Genealogies.

Harriet Ritvo is Professor of History at MIT. She is the author of The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age.

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