Constituting Americans: Cultural Anxiety and Narrative Form - New Americanists (Hardback)Priscilla Wald (author)
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From early-nineteenth-century Supreme Court cases to turn-of-the-century Jim Crow and immigration legislation, from the political speeches of Abraham Lincoln to the historical work of Woodrow Wilson, nation-builders addressed the legal, political, and historical paradoxes of American identity. Against the backdrop of their efforts, Wald shows how works such as Douglass's autobiographical narratives, Melville's Pierre, Wilson's Our Nig, Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folks, and Stein's The Making of Americans responded, through formal innovations, to the aggressive demands for literary participation in the building of that nation. The conversation that emerges among these literary works challenges the definitions and genres that largely determine not only what works are read, but also how they are read in classrooms in the United States today.
Offering insight into the relationship of storytelling to national identity, Constituting Americans will compel the attention of those with an interest in American literature, American studies, and cultural studies.
Publisher: Duke University Press
Number of pages: 408
Weight: 953 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 mm
"With beautiful sensitivity to language, Wald offers a unique blend of nuanced textual analysis and historical interpretation. The result is a provocative and well researched account of national stories and the concept of personhood."-Akhil Reed Amar, Yale Law School
"Constituting Americans does more than immensely enrich current scholarship on nationalism, subjectivity, and U.S. literature and culture. By ranging in its objects of study from law, journalism, psychology, and history to sociology and political documents, it also sets a standard for the contribution of literary criticism to interdisciplinary study." -- Maggie Sale * American Literature *