jeudi 3 janvier 2013

Richard H. Broadhead, "The American literary field, 1860–1890.", dans Sacvan Bercovitch, éd., THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE; Prose Writing 1860–1920, Cambridge University Press, 2005, 813 pages.

The same midcentury cultural reorganization that established a middlebrow sphere of reading and writing and a low-literacy sphere alongside it formalized another literary world historically just as novel: a well-marked and well-supported zone of serious artistic authorship. As a result of this development, in the post-Civil War generation American literary writing for the first time acquired its own stabilized audience and secure social support - the place made for such writing involving it, as always, in a certain set of social relations.

p. 34

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Sacvan Bercovitch, "Introduction", dans Sacvan Bercovitch, éd., THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE; Prose Writing 1860–1920, Cambridge University Press, 2005, 813 pages.


"America" in these volumes is a historical entity, the United States of America. It is also a declaration of community, a people constituted and sustained by verbal fiat, a set of universal principles, a strategy of social cohesion, a summons to social protest, a prophecy, a dream, an aesthetic ideal, a trope of the modern (“progress”, “opportunity”, “the new”), a semiotics of inclusion (“melting pot”, “patchwork quilt”, “nation of nations”), and a semiotics of exclusion, closing out not only the Old World but all other countries of the Americas, North and South, as well as large groups within the United States. A nationality so conceived is a rhetorical battleground. “America” in these volumes is a shifting, many-sided focal point for exploring the historicity of the text and the textuality of history.

p. 3

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