lauren f. klein Georgia Institute of Technology A best- selling seduction novel. A frequently reprinted revolution- ary poem. A private journal of an army captain. A single performance on a Philadelphia stage. Upon surveying this vast and variegated litera -ry ter rain—the same covered by the essays that compose this special issue— one feels not unlike Hector St. John de Crevecoeur when contemp - lat ing the diverse populations of his adopted home: the thoughtful tiller at once emboldened and challenged to articulate the common features of the “new” American man. Is it possible to do the same for an aesthetics of early America? What is—or was—this new style or mode or sense? I lead with a version of Crevecoeur’s famous question not only to orient myself toward an early American way of looking but also—as these essays each encourage—to channel a commensurate critical approach: one that accounts for the full range of expressions that constitute that era’s aesthetic landscape. Christopher Castiglia, perhaps most explicitly, urges us t -o en vision a “newly conceived method” (416) for reading the early American archive, one that counters the symptomatic mode that has long charac - ter ized scholarship in the field
Early American Literature – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Jul 13, 2016
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