mardi 6 juillet 2010

Sacvan Bercovitch, THE RITES OF ASSENT; TRANSFORMATIONS IN THE SYMBOLIC CONSTRUCTION OF AMERICA, Routledge, New York, 1993

It is no accident that our current dissensus has found a focus in the revaluation of this period, and particularly in the so-called radicalism of America's classic writers.
The issue is not the radicalism itself: that was virtually the donnée of the entire process of canon formation, from D. H. Lawrence through Matthiessen. The literary establishment that substituted "Song of Myself" for The Song of Hiawatha also sanctified Whitman as outsider and non-conformist. The scholars and critics who raised Moby-Dick from the dust of cetology catalogues to sudden epic prominence proceeded to acclaim Melville for his No-in-thunder to the powers of the earth. Directly and indirectly, the old consensus tended to priviledge the subversive: duplicity in Hawthorne, protest in Thoreau, marginality in Poe, antinomianism in Emerson. All this, be it noted, in the name of a distinctly national tradition, a classic literature newly recovered for its quintessential "American-ness".
(p. 363)

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