Mania for Freedom: American Literatures of Enthusiasm from by John Mac Kilgore

By John Mac Kilgore

not anything nice was once ever completed with no enthusiasm," wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1841. whereas this assertion may perhaps learn like an risk free truism this present day, the declare could were debatable within the antebellum usa whilst enthusiasm used to be a hotly contested time period linked to non secular fanaticism and poetic notion, progressive politics and innovative extra. In studying the language of enthusiasm in philosophy, faith, politics, and literature, John Mac Kilgore uncovers a practice of enthusiasm associated with a politics of emancipation. The dissenting voices chronicled the following fought opposed to what they seen as tyranny whereas utilizing their writings to forge foreign or antinationalistic political affiliations.

Pushing his research throughout nationwide obstacles, Kilgore contends that American enthusiastic literature, in contrast to the era's concurrent sentimental counterpart, under pressure democratic resistance over household reform because it navigated the worldwide political sphere. by way of studying various canonical American authors--including William Apess, Phillis Wheatley, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Walt Whitman--Kilgore locations their works in context with the explanations, wars, and revolutions that at once or ultimately engendered them. In doing so, he makes a different and compelling case for enthusiasm's centrality within the shaping of yank literary history.

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