By William Pannapacker
An exam of self-representation in US tradition. Drawing on experiences of the historical past of the e-book, Pierre Bourdieu's sociology, and ethnic and gender revisionism, it makes a speciality of the procedures of nationwide improvement, the self-construction of authorial personae and the appropriation of the personae via interpretive groups.
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Extra resources for Revised Lives: Whitman, Religion, and Constructions of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Anglo-American Culture (Literary Criticism and Cultural Theory)
During the next five years, while working in the family carpentry business, Whitman began to turn to poetry as a means of imposing order and meaning on his life. ”43 Only one of these poems would be included later in Leaves, “Resurgemus”: Liberty, let others despair of thee, But I will not despair of thee: Is the house shut? Is the master away? ”45 Confident in their destiny for greatness, but shaken by their failure, Whitman and Lincoln experienced a crisis that profoundly altered their exclusive qualities of their rhetoric.
It is particularly difficult to speak authoritatively about autobiography in the early-nineteenth century, for example, because genres were diversified by partially autonomous and/or overlapping subcultures—races, classes, genders, ethnicities, religions, professions, languages—within the United States, to say nothing of extensive international influences. Although the rules of a genre are perpetually contested by different groups, there are usually some rules which are generally agreed upon by all but the most experimental or marginal practitioners, particularly as a literary culture becomes more homogeneous (as was the case in the post-bellum United States).
33 Like Whitman, Lincoln sometimes publicly cast himself as a hero, another Washington, eager for martyrdom in some high place, standing alone against vast, demonic forces arrayed against holy democracy and the virtues of the Founding Fathers. Perhaps the most lurid example of Lincoln’s partisan errata, one that altered the tone of all his future political wrangling, was his satire of James Shields, the state auditor of Illinois, in 1842 (the same year that he attempted to publish a pamphlet concerning his religious views and the year of his irreverent “Temperance Address”).