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Timelines of American Literature

edited by Cody Marrs and Christopher Hager

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A collection of engaging essays that seeks to uniquely reperiodize American literature.

It is all but inevitable for literary history to be divided into periods. "Early American," "antebellum," "modern," "post-1945"—such designations organize our knowledge of the past and shape the ways we discuss that past today. These periods tend to align with the watershed moments in American history, even as the field has shifted its perspective away from the nation-state. It is high time we rethink these defining periods of American literary history, as the drawing of literary timelines is a necessary…

A collection of engaging essays that seeks to uniquely reperiodize American literature.

It is all but inevitable for literary history to be divided into periods. "Early American," "antebellum," "modern," "post-1945"—such designations organize our knowledge of the past and shape the ways we discuss that past today. These periods tend to align with the watershed moments in American history, even as the field has shifted its perspective away from the nation-state. It is high time we rethink these defining periods of American literary history, as the drawing of literary timelines is a necessary—even illuminating—practice.

In these short, spirited, and imaginative essays, 23 leading Americanists gamely fashion new, unorthodox literary periods—from 600 B.C.E. to the present, from the Age of Van Buren to the Age of Microeconomics. They bring to light literary and cultural histories that have been obscured by traditional timelines and raise provocative questions. What is our definition of "modernism" if we imagine it stretching from 1865 to 1965 instead of 1890 to 1945? How does the captivity narrative change when we consider it as a contemporary, not just a "colonial," genre? What does the course of American literature look like set against the backdrop of federal denials of Native sovereignty or housing policies that exacerbated segregation?

Filled with challenges to scholars, inspirations for teachers (anchored by an appendix of syllabi), and entry points for students, Timelines of American Literature gathers some of the most exciting new work in the field to showcase the revelatory potential of fresh thinking about how we organize the literary past.

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Timelines of American Literature

edited by Cody Marrs and Christopher Hager

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Reviews

Reviews

Timely, smart, and fun, this book will provoke some very interesting classroom conversations—and may well reshape the way lots of us teach American literature. A game-changing collection that offers a provocation to scholarship and to teaching, this lucid, lively book is a joy to read.

Through a series of thought experiments and formal proposals, the contributors in Timelines of American Literature explore the 'revisionist potential' of a periodizing drive that is too often undertaken conservatively. A fresh essay collection with an exciting range of chapters and topics.

Marrs and Hager have assembled a series of thought-provoking essays that expand our ways of thinking about American literature by questioning, lengthening, reversing, and even defending the timelines that have traditionally defined it.

Timelines of American Literature shakes up disciplinary assumptions that have undergirded literary historiography for over a century. These fresh and provocative essays offer bracing alternatives to long-standard field chronologies, methodologies, and ideologies.

Marrs and Hager have assembled a rollicking and provocative collection of essays in this superlative volume. Ranging from a single year to several millennia, the ages, eras, and histories mapped by these essays imagine multiple expansive, inclusive, madcap, and shifting futures for American literature.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
360
ISBN
9781421427133
Illustration Description
12 halftones
Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments


1. Introduction
Cody Marrs and Christopher Hager

Part 1. Prehistories and Transitions
2. Prologue. What's in a Date?
Sandra Gustafson

Prehistories
3. 1833-1932

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments


1. Introduction
Cody Marrs and Christopher Hager

Part 1. Prehistories and Transitions
2. Prologue. What's in a Date?
Sandra Gustafson

Prehistories
3. 1833-1932: American Literature's Other Scripts
Erica Fretwell
4. 1922-1968: The Disenchanted Literature of Homeownership
Adrienne Brown
5. 1830-1924: The Literatures of Sovereignty
Phillip Round
6. 600 BCE-1830 CE: The Book of Mormon and the Lived Eschatology of Settler Colonialism
Jared Hickman

Transitions
7. 1629-1852: American Literature, Democracy, and the Patroons
Jennifer Greiman
8. 1973: When It Changed
Gerry Canavan
9. The Three Burials of Confederate Nationalism
Coleman Hutchison
10. 1819-1857: Romantic Cycles from the Panic of 1819 to the Panic of 1857
Andrew Kopec
11. Reimagining 1820-1865
Robert S. Levine

Part 2. Ages and the Long Present
12. Prologue. The Anthropocene, 1945/1783/1610/1492-???? (or, I Wish I Knew How to Quit You)
Dana Luciano

Ages
13. The Age of US Latinidad
Jesse Alemán
14. The Age of Van Buren
Justine S. Murison
15. The Ages of Appalachian Literature
Rachel A. Wise
16. The Civil War in the Age of Civil Rights
Michael LeMahieu
17. The Age of Warhol
Bryan Waterman

The Long Present
18. All of It Is Now: Slavery and the Post-black Moment in Contemporary African American Literature
Yogita Goyal
19. Propaganda and the Movement of American Literary History
Russ Castronovo
20. De-ciphering American Literature:
Caroline Levander
21. Methodological Individualism and the Novel in the Age of Microeconomics,
1871 to the Present
Annie McClanahan
22. 1980 to the Present: Formalism and the New Authoritarianism
Rachel Greenwald Smith
23. American Captivity Narratives from the Colonial Era to the Present: A New Timeline
Birgit Brander Rasmussen
24. Afterword. The Newer Newest Thing: Reperiodizing, Redux
Susan Gillman
Appendix. Sample Syllabi
Contributors
Index

Author Bios
Featured Contributor

Cody Marrs

Cody Marrs is an associate professor of English at the University of Georgia. He is the author of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the Long Civil War, the editor of The New Melville Studies, and the coeditor of Timelines of American Literature.
Featured Contributor

Christopher Hager

Christopher Hager is the Charles A. Dana Research Associate Professor of English at Trinity College. He is the author of Word by Word: Emancipation and the Act of Writing and I Remain Yours: Common Lives in Civil War Letters.