Fictions of U.S. History: A Theory and Four Illustrations (Hardback)Frances Richardson Keller (author)
Hardback Published: 25/03/2002
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We all live lives based on fiction. So asserts Frances Richardson Keller in this thought-provoking examination of the lies of history, fictions which enter society and affect the course of our lives. Some of the fictions Keller investigates include those involved in the now-common wisdom about: the patriarchal system, Re-Construction and African-American rights, Mormon polygamy, and Eleanor Roosevelt. "Fictions of US History" offers a new definition of the term 'fictions'. A fiction is not merely the imaginative literature we treasure in works of novelists, dramatists and poets. It is that. But it is much more. A fiction is a powerful, driving idea that enters the life an individual lives, the course a whole society travels, and the stories historians tell about the long stretches of the human past. In many dimensions, fictions affect every person on planet earth.We all live lives based on fictions. This book expands that definition; then it presents illustrations. The first concerns 'the grandest fiction,' the patriarchal system. How and where did patriarchy originate? Is it a 'fiction' that has moulded our worlds? Can it be superseded by other fictions? The second illustration concerns the fictions that dominated stories historians told about the Re-Construction of this nation after the American Civil War. Did the fictions from which historians wrote their stories about that period condition the way Americans have thought about it ever since? And did those thoughts - those fictions - bear heavily upon African-American rights in our republic?The third illustration centres upon Mormon polygamy in the 19th century. How did it happen that Mormon men and women allowed their society to travel from monogamy to polygamy for forty years, then back to monogamy again? What different fictions became parts of their religious and political beliefs? The fourth and last illustration considers the life of Eleanor Roosevelt. Born into one of America's most established, wealthy, yet troubled, families, we now know this woman as a compassionate twentieth-century champion of human rights, of those in need in every part of the world. This book traces her life and the fictions that empowered her living. The beginning and the end reveal something of the author's involvement with the issues in this book; while she can only guess how she came to the deep concerns of her travels, she does see her book as an expression of her own 'fictions'.
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Weight: 562 g
Dimensions: 228 x 154 x 20 mm
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