Philadelphia Stories: America's Literature of Race and Freedom by Samuel OtterPhiladelphia Stories: America's Literature of Race and Freedom by Samuel Otter

Philadelphia Stories: America's Literature of Race and Freedom

bySamuel Otter

Paperback | February 15, 2013

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In Philadelphia Stories, Samuel Otter finds literary value, historical significance, and political urgency in a sequence of texts written in and about Philadelphia between the Constitution and the Civil War. Historians such as Gary B. Nash and Julie Winch have chronicled the distinctive socialand political space of early national Philadelphia. Yet while individual writers such as Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Allan Poe, and George Lippard have been linked to Philadelphia, no sustained attempt has been made to understand these figures, and many others, as writing in a tradition tied tothe city's history. The site of William Penn's "Holy Experiment" in religious toleration and representative government and of national Declaration and Constitution, near the border between slavery and freedom, Philadelphia was home to one of the largest and most influential "free" African Americancommunities in the United States. The city was seen by residents and observers as the laboratory for a social experiment with international consequences. Philadelphia would be the stage on which racial character would be tested and a possible future for the United States after slavery would be played out. It would be the arena inwhich various residents would or would not demonstrate their capacities to participate in the nation's civic and political life. Otter argues that the Philadelphia "experiment" (the term used in the nineteenth-century) produced a largely unacknowledged literary tradition of peculiar forms andintensities, in which verbal performance and social behavior assumed the weight of race and nation.
Samuel Otter is Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Melville's Anatomies and the coeditor, with Geoffrey Sanborn, of Melville and Aesthetics.
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Title:Philadelphia Stories: America's Literature of Race and FreedomFormat:PaperbackDimensions:408 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:February 15, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199970963

ISBN - 13:9780199970964

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Philadelphia Stories, 1790-18601. FeverMathew Carey, Absalom Jones, Richard Allen, and the Color of FeverMinisters and Criminals: Richard Allen, John Joyce, and Peter MatthiasBenjamin Rush's Heroic InterventionsMathew Carey's Fugitive PhiladelphiansCharles Brockden Brown's Experiments in Character2. MannersHugh Henry Brackenridge, and the Irrepressible TeagueEdward W. Clay's "Life in Philadelphia""The Rage for Profiles": Silhouettes at Peale's MuseumPhiladelphia Metempsychosis in Robert Montgomery Bird's Sheppard Lee"The Peculiar Position of Our People": William Whipper and Debates in the Black ConventionsDisfranchisement and AppealJoseph Willson's Higher Classes of Colored Society in Philadelphia3. Riot"Doomed to Destruction": The History of Pennsylvania HallThe Portraiture of the City of Philadelphia, and Henry James's American Scene The Mysteries of the City: George Lippard, Edgar Allan PoeThe Fiction of Riot: George Lippard, John Beauchamp JonesThe Condition of the Free People of Color4. FreedomThe Struggle over "Philadelphia": Mary Howard Schoolcraft, Sara JosephaHale, Martin Robison Delany, James McCune Smith, and William WhipperFrank J. Webb's The Garies and Their Friends"A Rather Curious Protest"Still Life in GeorgiaHistory and FarceParlor and RiotPhiladelphia VanitasThe Social Experiment in Herman Melville's Benito CerenoCODA: John Edgar Wideman's PhiladelphiaBibliography