Correspondence and American Literature, 1770-1865
Elizabeth Hewitt argues that many canonical American authors, including Jefferson, Emerson, Melville, Dickinson and Whitman, turned to letter-writing as an idealized genre through which to consider the challenges of American democracy before the Civil War. Hewitt maintains that, although correspondence is generally only conceived as a biographical archive, it must instead be understood as a significant genre through which these early authors made sense of social and political relations in the new nation.
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