ISBN : 9780199397808
Uncovering Islam's formative impact on U.S. literary origins, Jeffrey Einboden traces neglected genealogies of Islamic reception from the Revolution to Reconstruction. Privileging informal engagements and intimate exchanges, the book excavates personal appeals to Islamic sources by pivotal figures of the early nation-Ezra Stiles, William Bentley, Washington Irving, Lydia Maria Child, Ralph Waldo Emerson-and discovers Muslim discourse woven into the familiar fabric of their letters and sermons, journals and journalism, memoirs and marginalia. Recovering unpublished manuscripts and material witnesses to early U.S. engagement with the Muslim world, Einboden argues that Islamic literature and Middle Eastern languages catalyzed authorial identities in early America, acting as vehicles of artistic reflection, religious contemplation, and political liberation. Reaching to the Middle East to circumvent Europe, key American authors chart new cultural alternatives in their autobiographic prose and poetry, mirroring the defining struggles of the country's first decades through domestic approaches to the Qu'ran, Hadith, and Sufi sources.
Chapter 1: Blessed Be Allah, Most Fair: Ezra Stiles's Arabic Revolutions
Chapter 2: I most sincerely wish an Arabic Manuscript of the Koran: William Bentley's Islamic Archives
Chapter 3: Intermingled with texts of the Koran: Washington Irving's Moorish Renovations
Chapter 4: To look at the Koran through his spectacles: The Muslim Progress of Lydia Maria Child
Chapter 5: He knows the Koran by heart: The Sufi Circulations of Ralph Waldo Emerson