Correspondence and American Literature, 1770–1865
Elizabeth Hewitt uncovers the centrality of letter-writing to antebellum American literature. She argues that many canonical American authors turned to the epistolary form as an idealised genre through which to consider the challenges of American democracy before the Civil War. The letter was the vital technology of social intercourse in the nineteenth century and was adopted as an exemplary genre in which authors from Crevecoeur and Adams through Jefferson, to Emerson, Melville, Dickinson and Whitman, could theorise the social and political themes that were so crucial to their respective literary projects. They interrogated the political possibilities of social intercourse through the practice and analysis of correspondence. Hewitt argues 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 nation.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
American appeal argues asks attempt authority becomes begins body central citizens claims commitment communication constitutes conversation correspondence critics demands democracy democratic depiction describes desire Dickinson distinction early effect Emerson emphasizes epistolary equal essay essential example explains fact Flint freedom friendship Fuller hand Hawthorne heart ideal identity important Incidents individual insists intercourse interest Jacobs Jacobs’s James John kind letter letter-writing likewise literary literature lyric Master means Melville Melville’s mind mode narrative nature necessarily never novel offers ofthe perfect persons Pierre poem political position possibility post office postal practice precisely published reader received reciprocity refuses relations relationship response reveals rhetoric seems similar slave slavery social story suggests sympathy telegraph tell theory Thomas thought truth turn ultimately understand union United University Press Whitman women writing written York