Hardback
May 1, 2012
9781421404899
English
376
141853
20
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.15 Inches (US)
1.4 Pounds (US)
$73.00 USD, £54.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
May 1, 2012
9781421405278
9781421404899
English
376
141853
20
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$73.00 USD, £54.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Epic in American Culture

Settlement to Reconstruction

The epic calls to mind the famous works of ancient poets such as Homer, Virgil, and Ovid. These long, narrative poems, defined by valiant characters and heroic deeds, celebrate events of great importance in ancient times. In this thought-provoking study, Christopher N. Phillips shows in often surprising ways how this exalted classical form proved as vital to American culture as it did to the great societies of the ancient world.

Through close readings of James Fenimore Cooper, Lydia Sigourney, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Herman Melville, as well as the transcendentalists, Phillips traces the rich history of epic in American literature and art from early colonial times to the late nineteenth century. Phillips shows that far from fading in the modern age, the epic form was continuously remade to frame a core element of American cultural expression. He finds the motive behind this sustained popularity in the historical interrelationship among the malleability of the epic form, the idea of a national culture, and the prestige of authorship—a powerful dynamic that extended well beyond the boundaries of literature.

By locating the epic at the center of American literature and culture, Phillips’s imaginative study yields a number of important finds: the early national period was a time of radical experimentation with poetic form; the epic form was crucial to the development of constitutional law and the professionalization of visual arts; engagement with the epic synthesized a wide array of literary and artistic forms in efforts to launch the United States into the arena of world literature; and a number of writers shaped their careers around revising the epic form for their own purposes.

Rigorous archival research, careful readings, and long chronologies of genre define this magisterial work, making it an invaluable resource for scholars of American studies, American poetry, and literary history.

About the Author

Christopher N. Phillips is an assistant professor of English at Lafayette College.

Endorsements

"A major new interpretation of epic in American literature and culture."

- Sandra M. Gustafson, University of Notre Dame

Reviews

"Wide-ranging... Through close readings of major and minor writers, and their friends and critics, Phillips argues that the term 'epic' was increasingly applied over many genres and mixes of genres as a subjective signifier of value... Highly recommended."

- Choice

"Phillips's Epic in American Culture is an essential polemic for the new direction of epic-centered studies."

- Gregory E. Rutledge - Journal of American History

"A thought-provoking and significant contribution to our understanding of early-American literary culture."

- Kreg Abshire - Journal of American Culture

"Phillips persuasively and eloquently recovers works that have been paid little or no scholarly attention in order to redress an imbalance in American studies, as is the case elsewhere, towards the canon."

- The Year's Work in English Studies
Johns Hopkins University Press
From 17

9781421404899 : epic-in-american-culture-phillips
Hardback
376 Pages
$73.00 USD
9781421405278 : epic-in-american-culture-phillips
Electronic book text
376 Pages
$73.00 USD

Other Titles by Christopher N. Phillips

The Hymnal

Christopher N. Phillips
Aug 2018 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$39.95 USD - Hardback
$39.95 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles in LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General

Generous Thinking

Kathleen Fitzpatrick
Jan 2021 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$29.95 USD - Hardback
$19.95 USD - Electronic book text
$19.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Understanding Stewart O'Nan

Heike Paul
Sep 2020 - University of South Carolina Press
$19.99 USD - Paperback / softback
$59.99 USD - Hardback

Teaching Jewish American Literature

edited by Roberta Rosenberg, Rachel Rubinstein
Apr 2020 - The Modern Language Association of America, an imprint of Modern Language Association of America
$65.00 USD - Hardback
$34.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles in Literature: history & criticism

Before the Raj

James Mulholland
Feb 2021 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$94.95 USD - Hardback
$34.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$34.95 USD - Electronic book text

Generous Thinking

Kathleen Fitzpatrick
Jan 2021 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$29.95 USD - Hardback
$19.95 USD - Electronic book text
$19.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Modernism after Postcolonialism

Mara de Gennaro
Nov 2020 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$94.95 USD - Hardback
$34.95 USD - Paperback / softback
$34.95 USD - Electronic book text