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

Bryant, John

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ISBN 10: 0195077822 / ISBN 13: 9780195077827
Published by Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford, 1993
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Richard J. Lindsey, Bookseller (Kent, CT, U.S.A.)

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Fine black cloth in fine dust wrapper. 8vo. 312 pgs including index and notes. Bookseller Inventory # 013402

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Melville & Repose: The Rhetoric of Humor in ...

Publisher: Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford

Publication Date: 1993

Binding: Cloth

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: 1st

About this title

Synopsis:

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.

From the Back Cover:

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.

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