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Democracy, Revolution, and Monarchism in Early American Literature

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Part of Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: January 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521100298

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About the Authors
  • Paul Downes combines literary criticism and political history in order to explore responses to the rejection of monarchism in the American revolutionary era. Downes' analysis considers the Declaration of Independence, Franklin's autobiography, Crèvecoeur's Letters from an American Farmer and the works of America's first significant literary figures including Charles Brockden Brown, Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper. He claims that the post-revolutionary American state and the new democratic citizen inherited some of the complex features of absolute monarchy, even as they were strenuously trying to assert their difference from it. In chapters that consider the revolution's mock execution of George III, the Elizabethan notion of the 'king's two bodies' and the political significance of the secret ballot, Downes points to the traces of monarchical political structures within the practices and discourses of early American democracy. This is an ambitious study of an important theme in early American culture and society.

    Awards

    • Winner of the MLA first book prize for 2002

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521100298
    • length: 256 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.38kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface
    Acknowledgements
    Introduction: the spell of democracy
    1. Monarchophobia: reading the mock executions of 1776
    2. Crèvecoeur's revolutionary loyalism
    3. Citizen subjects: the memoirs of Stephen Burroughs and Benjamin Franklin
    4. An epistemology of the ballot box: Brockden Brown's secrets
    5. Luxury, effeminacy, corruption: Irving and the gender of democracy
    Afterword: the revolution's last word
    Notes, Bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

    Paul Downes, University of Toronto
    Paul Downes is an Associate Professor in the department of English at the University of Toronto. He is the author of a number of articles on eighteenth and nineteenth century American literature.

    Awards

    • Winner of the MLA first book prize for 2002

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