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This study of character in a comparative context presents a new approach to transatlantic literary history. Rereading Romanticism across national, generic and chronological boundaries, and through close textual comparisons, it offers exciting possibilities for rediscovering how literature engages and persuades readers of the reality of character. Historically grounded in the eighteenth-century philosophical, political and cultural conditions that generated nation-based literary history, it reveals alternative narratives to those of origin and succession, influence and reception. It also reintroduces rhetoric and poetics as ways of addressing questions about uniqueness and representativeness in character creation, epistemological issues of identity and impersonation, and the generation of literary value. Drawing comparisons between works from Alexander Pope and Cotton Mather through Robert Burns, Jane Austen, John Keats, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, R. W. Emerson, Margaret Fuller and Herman Melville, to George Eliot and Henry James, Susan Manning reveals surprising metaphorical, metonymic and performative connections.
The recently developed field of transatlantic literary studies has encouraged scholars to move beyond national literatures towards an examination of communications between Britain and the Americas. The true extent and importance of these material and literary exchanges is only just beginning to be discovered. This collection of original essays explores the transatlantic literary imagination during the key period from 1660 to 1830: from the colonization of the Americas to the formative decades following political separation between the nations. Contributions from leading scholars from both sides of the Atlantic bring a variety of approaches and methods to bear on both familiar and undiscovered texts. Revealing how literary genres were borrowed and readapted to a different context, the volume offers an index of the larger literary influences going backwards and forwards across the ocean.
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