The Culture of Sentiment: Race, Gender, and Sentimentality in 19th-Century America

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9780195063547: The Culture of Sentiment: Race, Gender, and Sentimentality in 19th-Century America
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Samuels's collection of critical essays gives body and scope to the subject of nineteenth-century sentimentality by situating it in terms of "women's culture" and issues of race. Presenting an interdisciplinary range of approaches that consider sentimental culture before and after the Civil War, these critical studies of American literature and culture fundamentally reorient the field. Moving beyond alignment with either pro- or anti-sentimentality camps, the collection makes visible the particular racial and gendered forms that define the aesthetics and politics of the culture of sentiment. Drawing on the fields of American cultural history, American studies, and literary criticism, the contributors include Lauren Berlant, Ann Fabian, Susan Gillman, Karen Halttunen, Carolyn L. Karcher, Joy Kasson, Amy Schrager Lang, Isabelle Lehuu, Harryette Mullen, Dana Nelson, Lora Romero, Shirley Samuels, Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Lynn Wardley, and Laura Wexler.

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In this important new collection, leading scholars in nineteenth-century American culture re-examine the vexed subject of sentimentality. These essays draw upon a range of interdisciplinary approaches to situate sentimentality in terms of "women's culture" and issues of race, before and after the Civil War. Moving beyond the canonical debates about sentimentality, the collection makes visible the particular racial and gendered forms that define the aesthetics and politics of the American culture of sentiment. The contributors use evidence from American cultural history, American studies, and literary criticism, to examine the process by which nineteenth-century American culture was both produced and contested. They present incisive readings of scenes like an antebellum murder trial, the erotic attention audiences paid to the statues of Hiram Powers, and the engravings of Godey's Ladies Book. In addition, they use the writings of Harriet Jacobs, Mark Twain, James Fenimore Cooper, Pauline Hopkins, W.E.B. DuBois, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, to question the political fables immanent in this literature. More generally, they portray nineteenth-century American sentimentality as a national project - a project about imagining the nation's bodies and the national body. With essays by Lauren Berlant, Ann Fabian, Susan Gillman, Karen Halttunen, Carolyn L. Karcher, Joy Kasson, Amy Schrager Lang, Isabelle Lehuu, Harryette Mullen, Dana Nelson, Lora Romero, Shirley Samuels, Karen Sanchez-Eppler, Lynn Wardley, and Laura Wexler, The Culture of Sentiment significantly reorients the field of nineteenth-century American literature, art, culture, and history. It will be of keen interest to those concernedwith women's studies, American studies, cultural studies, African-American studies, and American history and literature.

About the Author:

Shirley Samuels is at Cornell University.

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THE CULTURE OF SENTIMENT RACE, GENDER, AND SENTIMENTALITY IN NINETEENTH CENTURY AMERICA (HARDBACK) -
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