Beneath the American Renaissance: the subversive imagination in the age of Emerson and Melville

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Knopf, 1988 - Literary Criticism - 625 pages
2 Reviews
In this landmark work, the seven great writers of the "American Renaissance"--Emerson, Thoreau, Writman, Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, and Dickinson--are examined together in their cultural contexts. David Reynolds reveals how these authors broadly assimilated the themes and images of popular culture. Their classic works--among them "Moby Dick, "The Scarlet Letter, "Leaves of Grass, "Walden, and the tales of Poe--are given strikingly original reading when viewed against the rich, often startling background of long neglected popular writings of the time. Reynolds also explores a whole lost world of sensational literature, including grisly novels, openly sold on the street, that combined intense violence with explicit eroticism. He demonstrates as well how common concerns with issues of religion, slavery, and workers' (as well as women's) rights resonate in the major writings.

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Review: Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville

User Review  - Bill - Goodreads

good for historical interpreting. adds a whole lot of context to their stories, back when an artistic revolution was still thought to be possible Read full review

Review: Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville

User Review  - Michael - Goodreads

This is a really interesting book. Reynolds says that Emerson, Melville, Whitman, and the others drew upon American popular culture of the time as basis for many of their innovations. Read full review

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Contents

The Reform Impulse and the Paradox of Immoral Didacticism
54
Hawthorne and the Reform Impulse 1 1 3
113
The Sensational Press and the Rise of Subversive Literature 1 69
169
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About the author (1988)

David S. Reynolds is Distinguished Professor at the GraduateDavid S. Reynolds is Distinguished Professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His books includ Center of the City University of New York. His books include "John Brown," "Abolitionist," winner of the Gustavus Myerse "John Brown," "Abolitionist," winner of the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award; "Walt Whitman's America," winner of Outstanding Book Award; "Walt Whitman's America," winner of the Bancroft Prize and the Ambassador Book Prize and a fina the Bancroft Prize and the Ambassador Book Prize and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and "Beneatlist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and "Beneath the American Renaissance," winner of the Christian Gauss Ah the American Renaissance," winner of the Christian Gauss Award from the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He lives in Old Westbuward from the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He lives in Old Westbury, New York. ry, New York.

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