Melville and Repose: The Rhetoric of Humor in the American Renaissance

 
9780195077827: Melville and Repose: The Rhetoric of Humor in the American Renaissance
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John Bryant's book is a strong and significant argument for the centrality of the comic and repose in Melville's novels. The purpose of Melville and Repose is dual: to ground the uses of romantic humor in Melville in sensitive readings of contemporaneous European and American writings, and to offer a definitive account of the comic as the shaping force of Melville's narrative voice throughout the major phase of his literary career. Bryant argues that Melville fused a "rhetoric of geniality" and "picturesque sensibility" adopted from the British with a "rhetoric of deceit" borrowed from the American tall tale in order to create his own amiably cosmopolitan "rhetoric of aesthetic repose." Thorough research into American culture and recent Melville manuscript findings, an engaging style, and full, scholarly readings combine to make this historicist study a welcome addition to the libraries of Americanists and Melville scholars and enthusiasts.

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John Bryant's book is a strong and significant argument for the centrality of humor in Melville's novels. The purpose of Melville and Repose is dual: to ground the uses of romantic humor in Melville in sensitive readings of contemporaneous European and American writings, and to offer a definitive account of the comic as the shaping force of Melville's narrative voice throughout the major phase of his literary career. Arguing that Melville saw writing as a series of attempts to reach an unreachable union of word and thought ("voicing the voiceless"), Bryant shows how Melville attempted to place the reader in an equivalent condition of "tense repose". He posits that Melville incorporated laughter into his writing as a means of teasing the reader into deeper thought. To this end, Melville fused a "rhetoric of geniality" and "picturesque sensibility" adopted from the British with a "rhetoric of deceit" borrowed from the American tall tale, thus creating his own amiably cosmopolitan "rhetoric of aesthetic repose". Looking closely at Typee, Moby Dick, and The Confidence-Man, Bryant offers unique and ground-breaking readings of Melville's work - particularly with respect to the rhetoric of humor and repose, the picturesque, and cosmopolitanism. Thorough research into American culture and recent Melville manuscript findings, an engaging style, and full, scholarly readings combine to make this historicist study a welcome addition to the libraries of Americanists and Melville scholars and enthusiasts.

About the Author:

John Bryant is at Hofstra University.

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1997. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Bryant's book is a strong and significant argument for the centrality of humour in Melville's novels. The purpose of Melville and Repose is dual: to ground the uses of humour in Melville in sensitive readings of contemporaneous European and American writings, and to offer a definitive account of humour as the shaping force of Melville's narrative voice for the duration of his literary career. Bryant argues that Melville fused a "rhetoric of geniality"adopted from the British with a "rhetoric of deceit" borrowed from the American tall tale in order to create his own amiably cosmopolitan "rhetoric of aesthetic repose." Thorough research, an engaging style, and full, scholarly readings of the oeuvre combine to make this book a welcome addition to the libraries ofMelville scholars and enthusiasts. Seller Inventory # APC9780195077827

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