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Selected Writings of Ella Higginson: Inventing Pacific Northwest Literature ed. by Laura Laffrado (review)

Selected Writings of Ella Higginson: Inventing Pacific Northwest Literature ed. by Laura Laffrado... In her introduction, Roth asserts that literature "has fallen out of fashion" with historians as an apt "vehicl[e] to delve into the mindsets of past societies" (9). "But literature mattered to antebellum women," she continues, so "it should matter to the historians who study them" (9). Part of Roth's project, then, is to make the case for the value of literature in historical research; Gender and Race in Antebellum Popular Culture orients itself to a perceived gap in the study of nineteenth-century American history. Whether Roth is correct about this gap is for historians to debate. Literary scholars, however, cannot but notice that Roth engages only glancingly with recent work in American literature, much of which takes her study's premise--that literature "reveal[s] the deepest anxieties, the loftiest hopes, and the most sacred values" of writers and readers alike (9)--as axiomatic. Not only is this a missed opportunity for cross-disciplinary engagement, but it also diminishes the book's utility for literary scholars. The chapter on Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, for example, adds little to the extensive and insightful research American literary scholars have produced on the novel across the past two decades. What may finally be most striking http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers uni_neb

Selected Writings of Ella Higginson: Inventing Pacific Northwest Literature ed. by Laura Laffrado (review)

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The University of Nebraska Press.
ISSN
1534-0643
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In her introduction, Roth asserts that literature "has fallen out of fashion" with historians as an apt "vehicl[e] to delve into the mindsets of past societies" (9). "But literature mattered to antebellum women," she continues, so "it should matter to the historians who study them" (9). Part of Roth's project, then, is to make the case for the value of literature in historical research; Gender and Race in Antebellum Popular Culture orients itself to a perceived gap in the study of nineteenth-century American history. Whether Roth is correct about this gap is for historians to debate. Literary scholars, however, cannot but notice that Roth engages only glancingly with recent work in American literature, much of which takes her study's premise--that literature "reveal[s] the deepest anxieties, the loftiest hopes, and the most sacred values" of writers and readers alike (9)--as axiomatic. Not only is this a missed opportunity for cross-disciplinary engagement, but it also diminishes the book's utility for literary scholars. The chapter on Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, for example, adds little to the extensive and insightful research American literary scholars have produced on the novel across the past two decades. What may finally be most striking

Journal

Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writersuni_neb

Published: Jun 20, 2017

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