OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

Philadelphia Stories: America's Literature of Race and Freedom

ISBN : 9780195395921

Price(incl.tax): 
¥8,316
Author: 
Samuel Otter
Pages
408 Pages
Format
Hardcover
Size
162 x 243 mm
Pub date
May 2010
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The site of William Penn's 'Holy Experiment' in religious toleration and representative government, Philadelphia was home to one of the largest and most influential 'free' African American communities in the United States. The city was seen as a laboratory for social experimentation, one with international consequences. While historians such as Gary B. Nash and Julie Winch have chronicled the distinctive social and political space of early national Philadelphia, no sustained attempt has been made to understand how writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Brockden Brown, George Lippard, and others were creating a distinctive literary tradition, one shaped by the city itself. Analyzing a sequence of texts written in and about Philadelphia between the Constitution and the Civil War, Otter shows how literary discourse intervened significantly in the period's intense debates about character, race, and nation. The book advances chronologically from the 1790s to the 1850s, and it is organized around the volatile issues the Philadelphia writing tradition responded to: contagion, riots, manners, and freedom. Throughout this exemplary work, Otter reveals how historical events produced a literature that wrestles with specific concerns: the city as specimen, the diagnosis and proper treatment for urban disorder, the effects of position on interpretation, the trials of character, the substance of action, the nature of human difference and similarity, and the vehemence of prejudice. Philadelphia Stories is a work that reveals (1) how the writers of Philadelphia defined the edge between freedom and slavery, altering the course of America's intellectual and national history, and (2) how the figure 'Philadelphia' stands for a place, a history, a tradition of the 'literary' that enriches and even clarifies the whole of American literary history.

Index: 

INTRODUCTION: PHILADELPHIA STORIES, 1790-1860
1. FEVER
MATHEW CAREY, ABSALOM JONES, RICHARD ALLEN, AND THE COLOR OF FEVERLLLL...
MINISTERS AND CRIMINALS: RICHARD ALLEN, JOHN JOYCE, AND PETER MATTHIAS
BENJAMIN RUSH'S HEROIC INTERVENTIONS
MATHEW CAREY'S FUGITIVE PHILADELPHIANS
CHARLES BROCKDEN BROWN'S EXPERIMENTS IN CHARACTER
2. MANNERS
HUGH HENRY BRACKENRIDGE, AND THE IRREPRESSIBLE TEAGUE
EDWARD W. CLAY'S "LIFE IN PHILADELPHIA
"THE RAGE FOR PROFILES": SILHOUETTES AT PEALE'S MUSEUM
PHILADELPHIA METEMPSYCHOSIS IN ROBERT MONTGOMERY BIRD'S SHEPPARD LEE
THE PECULIAR POSITION OF OUR PEOPLE
WILLIAM WHIPPER AND DEBATES IN THE BLACK CONVENTIONS.
DISFRANCHISEMENT AND APPEAL
JOSEPH WILLSON'S HIGHER CLASSES OF COLORED SOCIETY IN PHILADELPHIA
3. RIOT
"DOOMED TO DESTRUCTION": THE HISTORY OF PENNSYLVANIA HALL
THE PORTRAITURE OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, AND HENRY JAMES'S AMERICAN SCENE THE MYSTERIES OF THE CITY: GEORGE LIPPARD, EDGAR ALLAN POE
THE FICTION OF RIOT: GEORGE LIPPARD, JOHN BEAUCHAMP JONES
THE CONDITION OF THE FREE PEOPLE OF COLOR
4. FREEDOM
THE STRUGGLE OVER "PHILADELPHIA": MARY HOWARD SCHOOLCRAFT, SARA JOSEPHA
HALE, MARTIN ROBISON DELANY, JAMES MCCUNE SMITH, AND WILLIAM
WHIPPER FRANK J. WEBB'S THE GARIES AND THEIR FRIENDS
"A RATHER CURIOUS PROTEST
STILL LIFE IN GEORGIA
HISTORY AND FARCE
PARLOR AND RIOT
PHILADELPHIA VANITAS
THE SOCIAL EXPERIMENT IN HERMAN MELVILLE'S BENITO CERENO
CODA: JOHN EDGAR WIDEMAN'S PHILADELPHIA
BIBLIOGRAPHY

About the author: 

Samuel Otter is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Melville's Anatomies (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999)

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