The American Epic: Transforming a Genre, 1770-1860 by John P. McWilliams, JrThe American Epic: Transforming a Genre, 1770-1860 by John P. McWilliams, Jr

The American Epic: Transforming a Genre, 1770-1860

byJohn P. McWilliams, Jr

Paperback | April 2, 2009

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This is the first thorough account of the many attempts during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to fashion a distinctly American epic literature from a wide range of potentially heroic New World subjects. McWilliams considers the cultural, political and literary implications of adapting Enlightenment news of republican progress to a genre that had traditionally celebrated the greatness of warriors. He shows how and why the epic in America had to be transformed from imitative narrative poetry into the new genres of prose history (Irving, Prescott, Parkman), fictional romance (Cooper, Melville), and free verse (Whitman).
Title:The American Epic: Transforming a Genre, 1770-1860Format:PaperbackDimensions:296 pages, 9.02 × 5.98 × 0.67 inPublished:April 2, 2009Publisher:Cambridge University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521107024

ISBN - 13:9780521107020


Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. Imitations: Homer's Tyrannous Eye: 1. Invocations; 2. Freedom's heroes; 3. Freedom's fools; 4. A white achilles for the West?; Part II. Transformations: The Epic in New Genres: 5. Red Achilles, red Satan; 6. The destroying angel; 7. Till a better epic comes along; 8. 'An epic of democracy?'; Prospect; Notes; Index.

Editorial Reviews

"McWilliams surveys the work of Barlow, Dwight, and Trumbull with a sharp eye toward the rhetorical work each must perform introducing his epic to the public, revealing the discomforts each feels in suiting vehicle to message." David S. Shields, The Eighteenth Century