The Early American Novel and Sentimentalism

Schweighauser, Philipp. (2016) The Early American Novel and Sentimentalism. In: Handbook of Transatlantic North American Studies. Tübingen, pp. 213-233.

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This essay proposes three ways of reading the first sentimental American novels from a transatlantic perspective. The first, most established account tells the story of American novelists’ transformations of Richardsonian literary formulae and negotiations of Lockean empiricism and liberalism. Inspired by the transnational turn in American Studies, the second narrative expands the scope of inquiry as it traces early sentimental fictions’ imbrication in a transatlantic colonial and post-colonial network that significantly transcends English-American relations to include the Western hemisphere, Europe, and Africa. My third reading draws on the systems-theoretic notion of “functional differentiation” to explore convergences between eighteenth-century European reflections on art and sensuous cognition under the heading of ‘aesthetics’ and early American novelistic production. My second section focuses on a little-studied sentimental novel, William Hill Brown’s posthumously published Ira and Isabella (1807), to test the strengths and limitations of my three transatlantic reading strategies.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften > Fachbereich Englische Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft > Amerikanistik (Schweighauser)
UniBasel Contributors:Schweighauser, Philipp
Item Type:Book Section
Book Section Subtype:Further Contribution in a Book
Publisher:De Gruyter
Series Name:Handbooks of English and American Studies
Issue Number:3
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Book item
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Last Modified:16 Nov 2017 06:46
Deposited On:06 Jun 2016 14:52

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