American Incarnation by Myra Jehlen
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American Incarnation
By Myra Jehlen

American Incarnation

The Individual, the Nation and the Continent New edition

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Format: Paperback

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American Incarnation by Myra Jehlen

Book Description

In exploring the origins and characterof the American liberal tradition, MyraJehlen begins with the proposition thatthe decisive factor that shaped the European settlers' idea of "America" or the"American" was material rather than conceptual--it was the physical fact of theland. European settlers came to a continent on which they had no history, bringing the ideology of liberal individualism, which they projected onto the land itself. They believed the continent proclaimedthat individuals were born in natureand freely made their own society. Aninsurgent ideology in Europe, this ideaworked in America paradoxically toempower the individual and to restrictsocial change.Jehlen sketches the evolution of theconcept of incarnation through comparisons of American and European eighteenth-century naturalist writings, particularly Emerson's "Nature." She then explores the way incarnation functions ideologically--to both enable and curtail action--in the writing of fiction. Her examination of Hawthorne and Melville shows how the myth of the New World both licensed and limited American writers who set out to create their ownworlds in fiction. She examines conflicts between the exigencies of narrative form and the imperatives of ideology in the writings of Franklin, Jefferson, Emerson, and others. Jehlen concludes with a speculation on the implication of this original construction of "America" for the United States today, when such imperial concepts have been called into question.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780674024274
ISBN-10: 0674024273
Format: Paperback
(275mm x 150mm x 20mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publish Date: 1-Jul-1989
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...


Books By Author Myra Jehlen

Readings at the Edge of Literature by Myra Jehlen Readings at the Edge of Literature, Paperback (June 2002)

Myra Jehlen's aim in these essays is to read for what she calls the edge of literature: the point at which writing seems unable to say more, which is also, for Jehlen, the threshold of the real.

English Literatures of America by Myra Jehlen English Literatures of America, Paperback (February 1997)

This anthology surveys the emergence of Anglo-American cultures in the first dramatic period of the European empires. It includes Francis Bacon, Adam Smith, Andrew Marvell, Alexander Pope as well as Wheatley and Edwards.

Ideology and Classic American Literature by Myra Jehlen Ideology and Classic American Literature, Paperback (December 1987)

The essays by Americanists concerned with the problem of ideology and its bearing upon American literature and culture.

» View all books by Myra Jehlen

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