Disjunctive nationalisms: the creation of the literature of the United States

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dc.contributor Bilwakesh, Nikhil
dc.contributor Odle, Mairin
dc.contributor Smith, Cassander L.
dc.contributor Tedeschi, Stephen
dc.contributor.advisor Beidler, Philip D.
dc.contributor.author Crawford, Benjamin Darrell
dc.date.accessioned 2017-04-26T14:27:35Z
dc.date.available 2017-04-26T14:27:35Z
dc.date.issued 2016
dc.identifier.other u0015_0000001_0002494
dc.identifier.other Crawford_alatus_0004D_12928
dc.identifier.uri http://ir.ua.edu/handle/123456789/3134
dc.description Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
dc.description.abstract Throughout the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the American Republic grew both in population and cultural productions in diverse efforts to answer the nation’s questions of self-identity and direction. Poets from across diverse political, gendered, theological, and racial perspectives sought to answer those questions in disjunctive ways by using both the imagined author and the text as an imagined community as the bases for building their respective visions of American national identity. With the text as an imagined community, authors constructed interconnected literary communities not only around specific texts, but also around particular ideas and visions for the American nation. The ability to use texts as the creations of the reading public’s imagination became avenues for communicating responses to, and visions for, the nation which became reality with the publication of each new work. The constructions of these poetic visions occurred simultaneously with use of the imagined past, the imagined present, and the imagined future as avenues for exploring and communicating a variety of alternative national paths as each poet sought to prioritize her or his own voice in the cacophony of a developing American literature. The evolution of American literature as an artifact of the development of the American nation demonstrates the use of chronotopic applications of disjunctive nationalisms across time periods ranging from the deeply ancient (almost timeless in The Anarchiad), into the contemporary swirl of the political and cultural troubles of the early republic, and on into the (occasionally Millennial) infinite future of the nation. These applications came as responses to the call for a national literature, as well as to a society in a constantly fluctuating sense of national identity through its struggles for independence and sustainability in the face of challenges from within and without. The imagined past was used by such poets as Joel Barlow and Timothy Dwight as they established a deeper past for the American nation that went beyond colonial histories, suggesting the nation’s roots were at least as deep as those of European nations. This work to use an imagined American past is itself a way of constructing an American literary tradition that, despite drawing on Old World genres and forms, allows for an expansion of what John Shields has termed translatio cultus. Through observing the use of the imagined past, present, and future, my dissertation expands on Shields’ idea to demonstrate that chronotopic applications were essential in the reworking of Old World stories in a New World context. Rather than simply providing re-articulations of Old World ideas as Shields suggests, chronotopic applications permitted early national American authors to respond to and expand visions of nationalism in the new nation. The imagined present provided authors with the ability to readily demonstrate their responsiveness to the currents of culture by implementing poetic responses to current events that both responded to, and reshaped, contemporary events in ways that allowed those poets to appropriate the imagined present in the construction of disjunctive nationalisms. Joel Barlow, Philip Freneau, John Trumbull, and Phillis Wheatley, among others, responded to current events to demonstrate the pliability of the present when left to a literary lens, suggesting to contemporary readers the relevancy not only of each author’s voice specifically, but of the importance of literature more generally to the national experience. The imagined future allowed authors to adopt the role of national seer and declare future glories for the American nation politically, economically, and socially. The bases for these nationalistic visions ranged from Christian eschatology to humanistic deism, but almost always held forth the hope that the American nation would progress beyond its struggles of the late 18th century into a peaceful and prosperous future that presented America, and its governmental structure, as models for the rest of the globe. Through the imagined past, imagined present, and the imagined future, poets of the early national period used their texts as imagined communities that created and responded to disjunctive nationalisms from diverse perspectives that reflected the disjunctive nature of the early American republic.
dc.format.extent 275 p.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher University of Alabama Libraries
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Electronic Theses and Dissertations
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Libraries Digital Collections
dc.relation.hasversion born digital
dc.rights All rights reserved by the author unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subject.other American literature
dc.subject.other American history
dc.title Disjunctive nationalisms: the creation of the literature of the United States
dc.type thesis
dc.type text
etdms.degree.department University of Alabama. Dept. of English
etdms.degree.discipline English
etdms.degree.grantor The University of Alabama
etdms.degree.level doctoral
etdms.degree.name Ph.D.


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