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- DescriptionThis study examines Herman Melville's literary trajectory in the context of the discourse and practice of authorship in 19th-century America. Theoretically placed under the double aegis of Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu, it recontextualizes Melville's 20th-century classic status by projecting his attempts at fashioning a distinct, distinguished authorial self against a broad range of 19th-century texts defining the cultural and political roles of American authors. It takes its cue (and its title, Words are Things) from an American Review piece of 1847 warning American authors to be vigilant in a period, the pre-Civil War years, when the relations between words and deeds, literature and the polity were extremely charged. The Melville who emerges from close readings of relevant literary and cultural material is an author who had t become Melville yet, a figure of comparative indistinction to his contemporaries despite his aspirations to transcendent authorship. This discrepancy is analyzed in the last chapter, which reflects upon Melville's marginality in the 19th-century literary field until his reinvention as a canical author in the 1920s.
- Author BiographyThe Author: Andre Kaenel teaches American literature and civilization at the University of Geneva. He is currently at work on a study of literary nationalism.
- Author(s)Andre Kaenel
- PublisherPeter Lang AG
- Date of Publication01/07/1992
- SubjectLiterary Criticism
- Series TitleEuropean University Studies
- Series Part/Volume Numberv. 247
- Country of PublicationSwitzerland
- First Published1992
- ImprintPeter Lang AG
- Weight440 g
- Height230 mm
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