Poetry And Public Discourse In Nineteenth-Century America

Hardcover | September 15, 2010

byShira Wolosky

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Poetry and Public Discourse in Nineteenth-Century America explores nineteenth-century poetry as it addresses and engages in the major concerns of American cultural life. Focusing on gender, biblical politics, Revolutionary discourses and racial, sectional, and religious identities, this book reveals how these issues contended and negotiated with each other in the shaping of a pluralist democratic polity. Nineteenth-century American poetry, far from being the self-reflective art object of twentieth-century aesthetic theory, offered a rhetorical arena in which civic, economic, and religious trends intersected with each other in mutual definition and investigation. With a deft hand, Shira Wolosky demonstrates the ways in which poetry was a core impulse in the formation of American identity and cultural definition.

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Poetry and Public Discourse in Nineteenth-Century America explores nineteenth-century poetry as it addresses and engages in the major concerns of American cultural life. Focusing on gender, biblical politics, Revolutionary discourses and racial, sectional, and religious identities, this book reveals how these issues contended and negot...

Shira Wolosky is Professor of English and American Literature at the Hebrew University.  She is the author of Emily Dickinson: A Voice of War; Language Mysticism; The Art of Poetry; "Nineteenth Century American Poetry" in the Cambridge History of American Literature IV, among others.  She was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship i...

other books by Shira Wolosky

Format:HardcoverDimensions:266 pages, 8.31 × 5.76 × 0.72 inPublished:September 15, 2010Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230104312

ISBN - 13:9780230104310

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Table of Contents

Preface: The Claims of Rhetoric * PART I: Modest Claims * Writing Etiquette * Emily Dickinson: Crises of American Identity * Public and Private: Reconsidered * PART II: Claiming the Bible * Slave Spirituals and Black Typology * Women's Bibles * Herman Melville: Fractured Rhetoric in Battle-Pieces * PART III: Poetic Languages * Genteel Poets: Rhetoric North and South * Edgar Allan Poe: Repetition, Women, and Signs * Stephen Crane: American Economies * Santayana and Harvard Formalism * PART IV: Plural Identities * Local-Color Poetry * Crossing Languages in Paul Laurence Dunbar * Emma Lazarus: An American-Jewish Typology * Walt Whitman's Republic of Letters * Postscript: Charting American Trends

Editorial Reviews

"Released in the Nineteenth-Century Major Lives and Letters series, this provocative study expands on Wolosky's groundbreaking work on rhetorical and cultural distinctions that mediated 19th-century America's emphasis on gender, predicating the rhetoric intersecting the literal and cultural.  Wolosky is insightful in illuminating the gender, racial, regional, ethnic, civic, economic, and religious underpinnings of political and rhetorical constructions that define diverse poets and their work.  Summing Up: Essential."--Choice“Shira Wolosky, one of the most distinguished critics of poetry of our time, has here given us the authoritative literary-cultural study of nineteenth-century American poetry.  Poetry and Public Discourse in Nineteenth-Century America offers illuminating accounts of major poets (Poe, Dickinson, Melville, Whitman); a brilliant exploration of the rhetorical strategies of American woman poets (beginning with Anne Bradstreet); a groundbreaking theoretical analysis of the relations between text and context—between public and private spheres of poetic expression, secular and religious languages, rhetorical traditions and issues of gender, region, race, and ethnicity—and a masterful reading of the full spectrum of nineteenth-century  America poets, from the ‘local colorists’ to ‘negro spirituals.’  This book is the most comprehensive, most insightful history to date of nineteenth-century American poetry. It is also a provocative study of the singular/pluralist ‘grammar of American identity.’  Finally, it is a far-reaching theoretical exploration of the manifold intersections of poetic form and cultural-historical continuity and change.”—Sacvan Bercovitch, Powell M. Cabot Research Professor of American Literature, Harvard University“Poetry and Public Discourse in Nineteenth-Century America picks up on Wolosky's previous ground-breaking work on the gendered basis of distinctions between the public and private to argue that rhetoric is the key medium linking poetics and culture for most writers during this century, attending especially to religious rhetoric as it functions to provide self-definition for poets across a range of beliefs. From Sigourney to Santayana and Stephen Crane—leaning heavily toward the second half of the century—this book contributes significantly to a new understanding of nineteenth-century poetry and culture.”—Christanne Miller, Edward H. Butler Professor of Literature, University at Buffalo, SUNY