Americas England: Antebellum Literature and Atlantic Sectionalism

Paperback | April 15, 2016

byChristopher Hanlon

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The wealth of transatlantic scholarship to emerge in recent years has greatly enriched our understanding of the mutual, far-reaching cultural exchange between Great Britain and the United States. Yet scholars often lose sight of this relationship in the years immediately leading up to theoutbreak of the Civil War. Drawing on a capacious array of travel narratives, novels, poems, political scuffles, and more, Christopher Hanlon's innovative study examines the patterns of affiliation through which U.S. culture encoded the turmoil of antebellum America in terms of imagined connectionswith England. Through engagement with contemporaneous renditions of English race, history, landscape aesthetics, telecommunications, and economic discourse, America's England reveals how northern and southern partisans re-imagined the terms behind their antagonisms, forming a transatlantic surround for theotherwise cisatlantic political struggles that would dissolve the Union in 1861. Among other ramifications, the re-conceptualization of sectional issues in transatlantic terms undermined the notion that white citizens of the United States formed a unified biological or cultural community,effectively polarizing the imagined ethnic and cultural bases of the American polity. But beyond that, a continued reference to English historical, cultural, and political formations allowed figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, Henry Timrod, Lydia Maria Child, NathanielHawthorne, Charles Sumner, and others to situate an era of developing national acrimony along longer historical and transnational curves, forming accounts of national crisis that situated questions of a domestic political bearing at oceanic removes from northern and southern combatants.Demonstrating that English genealogies, geographies, and economics shaped the sectional crisis for antebellum Americans on both sides of the Mason-Dixon, America's England locates the key crisis points of the period in a broader transatlantic constellation that provided distinctive circumstances forliterary production.

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The wealth of transatlantic scholarship to emerge in recent years has greatly enriched our understanding of the mutual, far-reaching cultural exchange between Great Britain and the United States. Yet scholars often lose sight of this relationship in the years immediately leading up to theoutbreak of the Civil War. Drawing on a capaciou...

Christopher Hanlon is Professor of English at Eastern Illinois University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:April 15, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019049445X

ISBN - 13:9780190494452

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction1. Transatlantic Bloodlines and English Traits2. Feeling Free in Medieval America3. Picturing America4. John Pendleton Kennedy's Plantation of the Picturesque5. Embodied Eloquence, the Sumner Assault, and the Transatlantic Cable6. Henry Timrod's Global ConfederacyCoda

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"Recommended." --Choice