Criticism Theory

Get American Sympathy: Men, Friendship, and Literature in the PDF

By Caleb Crain

ISBN-10: 0300083327

ISBN-13: 9780300083323

ISBN-10: 0300133677

ISBN-13: 9780300133677

"A buddy in history," Henry David Thoreau as soon as wrote, "looks like a few untimely soul". And within the background of friendship in early the US, Caleb Crain sees the soul of the nation's literature. In a delicate research that weaves jointly literary feedback and old narrative, Crain describes the robust friendships among males that supported and encouraged a few of America's maximum writing - the Gothic novels of Charles Brockden Brown, the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the novels of Herman Melville. He strains the family tree of those friendships via a chain of reports. A dapper English secret agent conjures up a Quaker boy to run clear of domestic. 3 Philadelphia gents behavior a romance via diaries and letters within the 1780s. Flighty youngster Charles Brockden Brown metamorphoses right into a horror novelist through treating his associates as his literary guinea pigs. Emerson exchanges glances with a Harvard classmate yet sacrifices his overwhelm at the altar of literature - a call Margaret Fuller invitations him to think again 20 years later. all through this enticing e-book, Crain demonstrates the various ways that the fight to devote emotions to paper trained the form and texture of yank literature.

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Additional resources for American Sympathy: Men, Friendship, and Literature in the New Nation

Example text

The last card that virtue had held in reserve over politeness was that virtue was inside. It was the constitutive weakness of the man of commerce that every property he had was alienable; no part of him was essential. He was smooth but perhaps soulless. ’’Ω Virtue was supposed to be a kind of inner steel that would not corrode. But what Mifflin found in the garden trumped virtue. It too was inside—but like politeness, it was oriented toward others. Sympathy—also called sentiment, sensibility, or compassion—posed as the most delicate possible refinement and the highest moral quality a person could exhibit, destroying the ethical systems it replaced by claiming to represent the acme of both.

It was probably Isaac’s close friendship with John Mifflin (discussed below) that prompted Mary to recollect her girlfriend. The men’s relationship may not have been as celestial as hers, but she recognized that it was just as intense with emotion. ∂≤ The names in Smith-Rosenberg’s footnotes are in many cases the same as in this chapter: she, too, cites Wistars and Logans; and a significant figure in her essay, Elizabeth Bordley, was John Mifflin’s half-sister. One should not make too much of this overlap; by the end of their reign, the Philadelphia gentry were as endogamous as any European royal house, and it would be difficult for any two studies of their social behavior not to be linked by family.

Mifflin wanted to be Gibson’s patron; he wanted to provide and help. Concerned about Gibson’s public speaking, the older man wrote orations for him to deliver at his debating club. As graduation approached, Mifflin used his connections to find Gibson a job as an apprentice in Mordecai Lewis’s countinghouse. ’’≤∂ There is something disingenuous about Mifflin’s asking Gibson to be a purer sentimentalist than he ever was. Mifflin wanted to act as a father of sorts, but it is not clear that he understood what the role involved.

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American Sympathy: Men, Friendship, and Literature in the New Nation by Caleb Crain


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