Episodic Poetics: Politics and Literary Form after the Constitution

ISBN : 9780190887445

Matthew Garrett
244 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Jun 2018
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The early United States was a culture of the episode. In Episodic Poetics, Matthew Garrett merges narrative theory with social and political history to explain the early American fascination with the episodic, piecemeal plot.


Introduction: Reading the Episode in the Early Republic
The Episode between Part and Whole
Telemachus's Doubt: Toward a Theory of Episodic Poetics
The Whole against the Parts: Narrative Theory
From Event to Episode: Historical Poetics
The Hillock and the Mountain
Chapter One: The Poetics of Constitutional Consolidation
Complexity and Consolidation: Out of Many, One
Common and Finer: The Legacy of 1787-88
The Chain of Reading: Commerce, Episodic Poetics, Politics
Hierarchy and Literary Form 1: Commerce and Contagion
Hierarchy and Literary Form 2: Governing the Splintered Society
Hierarchy and Literary Form 3: Faction as Form
Mercantile Time and the Periodical Plot
Debt and the Rhythm of Exchange
Unreadability and Nationalism's Chain of Reading
Chapter Two: The Life in Episodes
Structure and Dispersion
Erratum and Episode: Duration and Narrative Binding
Character and Competition, Success and Failure
Society, Mischief, and the Episode
Experience, Selection, and Narrative Unity
Chapter Three: The Fiction of Hesitation
Reading the Episode in the Novel
Adventure and Didacticism
Incipits and the Incitement to Reading: From Clarissa to Constantia
Against the Episode: Morality and Form in the Literary Market
Nothing Happens
Endless Prolixity
Episode versus Futurity
Episode and Ideology
Chapter Four: Miscellany and the Structure of Style
Commodity Writing
Whim-Whams on the Market
Criticism and the Work of the Writer
Salmagundi: An Arthrology of the Literary Miscellany
The Rejection of Reference
Volubility and Formal Compromise
Appendix to Chapter Four: Table of Contents and Collation of Salmagundi
Works Cited

About the author: 

Matthew Garrett is Assistant Professor of English and American Studies at Wesleyan University.

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