By A. Goldman
The publication demands a brand new iconography of zone that unseats New England's prestige as cultural heart of the USA and originary metaphor for nationwide id. No unmarried territorial or political axis can properly describe the complicated nearby relationships that contain the kingdom, Goldman argues. The essays during this quantity juxtapose African-American, Mexican-American, and Anglo American fictions produced within the wake of either the Civil battle and the U.S.-Mexican battle, contiguous nationwide conflicts that stay segregated in severe perform. right away comparative and intertextual, the readings during this learn redefine western literature in its relation to different U.S. nearby literary formations. Goldman's arguments query severe sectionalism as broadly as they do neighborhood divisions, by means of blurring favourite differences, by means of studying throughout literary sessions, and by way of juxtaposing writers who discover an analogous set of social concerns through the similar historic second, yet who're conventionally positioned in separate literary traditions: sentimental literature, the African American novel, literary modernism, early Mexican fiction.
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Extra info for Continental Divides: Revisioning American Literature
María Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Who Would Have Thought It? ” I remember Wyoming from the summer my family spent on a dude ranch near Jackson Hole when I was nine. Together with my brothers and sister, I rode slow ponies around a corral and wore out a pair of heavy-heeled, tan-colored cowboy boots I kept in my closet for years afterwards. Now, 30 years later, I thought I might buy another pair at this truck stop. But the view opening up around the curve of the exit smothered my nostalgia: faux colonial red brick buildings cluttered the wide horizon, disparaging its booted and hatted visitors as ill suited for the occasion—Paul Revere’s ride?
What the old New England spirit may still . . give; of what may yet remain, for productive scraping, of the formula of the native Puritanism educated” (178–79). Set in opposition to James’s Italian, Irish, black, and Jewish “flagrant foreigner[s]” (196), the Puritan remains the “ghost” of “old social orders,” of “a closed circle that would find itself happy enough if only it could remain closed enough” (The American Scene, 21). Notwithstanding its narrow political parameters,7 James’s lament locates the placeless “distended industrial nation” (Amy Kaplan, 251) of contemporary critical imagining, assigning it distinct geographical coordinates.
Norval and her daughters, who mistake the “Spanish” child for a “nigger girl” (15). Ransom is figuratively associated with the South’s “tatterdemalion darkies,” but Lola, born into an Indian captivity, is literally blackened by her mother to ensure her safety. Four decades later, Zane Grey will whiten the genre by instating Mormon despots in place of Indian abductors in Riders of the Purple Sage and Mississippi pioneers in place of Californio natives. ”27 In the 1872 novel, however, Lola’s “black skin” (31) moves the Norval daughters to revile her using standard racist tropes; she is a “specimen” of the “animal” kingdom” (16) whose dark skin entitles her to share the kitchen and the “blackened pillow” (38) of the Irish servants, but not the front rooms the family occupy.