A Pinnacle of Feeling: American Literature and Presidential Government (20/21)

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9780691136950: A Pinnacle of Feeling: American Literature and Presidential Government (20/21)

There is no more powerful symbol in American political life than the presidency, and the image of presidential power has had no less profound an impact on American fiction. A Pinnacle of Feeling is the first book to examine twentieth-century literature's deep fascination with the modern presidency and with the ideas about the relationship between state power and democracy that underwrote the rise of presidential authority.


Sean McCann challenges prevailing critical interpretations through revelatory new readings of major writers, including Richard Wright, Gertrude Stein, Henry Roth, Zora Neale Hurston, Saul Bellow, Ralph Ellison, Norman Mailer, Don Delillo, and Philip Roth. He argues that these writers not only represented or satirized presidents, but echoed political thinkers who cast the chief executive as the agent of the sovereign will of the American people. They viewed the president as ideally a national redeemer, and they took that ideal as a model and rival for their own work.



A Pinnacle of Feeling illuminates the fundamental concern with democratic sovereignty that informs the most innovative literary works of the twentieth century, and shows how these works helped redefine and elevate the role of executive power in American culture.

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"This is one of the most significant books on the twentieth-century American novel published in recent memory. Exemplifying how literary criticism can illuminate the relationship of politics to literature, A Pinnacle of Feeling examines an impressive array of novels to tell a compelling story of the mutual transformation of the U.S. presidency and the concept of literary authorship over the course of the century."--Kenneth W. Warren, University of Chicago


"Sean McCann offers incisive ideological and aesthetic analyses of the ways that these authors wrestled with and within narrative forms and paradigms of literary production they understood in terms of the U.S. presidency. His articulation of the link between narrative and executive power is engaging and imaginative. There is no question that this will be an influential book."--Patricia E. Chu, University at Albany, State University of New York


About the Author:

Sean McCann is professor of English at Wesleyan University. He is the author of Gumshoe America: Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Rise and Fall of New Deal Liberalism.

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2008. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. There is no more powerful symbol in American political life than the presidency, and the image of presidential power has had no less profound an impact on American fiction. A Pinnacle of Feeling is the first book to examine twentieth-century literature s deep fascination with the modern presidency and with the ideas about the relationship between state power and democracy that underwrote the rise of presidential authority. Sean McCann challenges prevailing critical interpretations through revelatory new readings of major writers, including Richard Wright, Gertrude Stein, Henry Roth, Zora Neale Hurston, Saul Bellow, Ralph Ellison, Norman Mailer, Don Delillo, and Philip Roth. He argues that these writers not only represented or satirized presidents, but echoed political thinkers who cast the chief executive as the agent of the sovereign will of the American people. They viewed the president as ideally a national redeemer, and they took that ideal as a model and rival for their own work. A Pinnacle of Feeling illuminates the fundamental concern with democratic sovereignty that informs the most innovative literary works of the twentieth century, and shows how these works helped redefine and elevate the role of executive power in American culture. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780691136950

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2008. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. There is no more powerful symbol in American political life than the presidency, and the image of presidential power has had no less profound an impact on American fiction. A Pinnacle of Feeling is the first book to examine twentieth-century literature s deep fascination with the modern presidency and with the ideas about the relationship between state power and democracy that underwrote the rise of presidential authority. Sean McCann challenges prevailing critical interpretations through revelatory new readings of major writers, including Richard Wright, Gertrude Stein, Henry Roth, Zora Neale Hurston, Saul Bellow, Ralph Ellison, Norman Mailer, Don Delillo, and Philip Roth. He argues that these writers not only represented or satirized presidents, but echoed political thinkers who cast the chief executive as the agent of the sovereign will of the American people. They viewed the president as ideally a national redeemer, and they took that ideal as a model and rival for their own work. A Pinnacle of Feeling illuminates the fundamental concern with democratic sovereignty that informs the most innovative literary works of the twentieth century, and shows how these works helped redefine and elevate the role of executive power in American culture. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780691136950

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