By Michael T. Gilmore

ISBN-10: 0226293955

ISBN-13: 9780226293950

ISBN-10: 0226293963

ISBN-13: 9780226293967

''This publication can take its position at the shelf beside Henry Nash Smith's Virgin Land and Leo Marx's The laptop within the backyard .''—Choice ''[Gilmore] demonstrates the profound, sustained, engagement with society embodied within the works of Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau and Melville. In impact, he relocates the yank Renaissance the place it correctly belongs, on the centre of a vast social, financial, and ideological flow from the Jacksonian period to the Civil warfare. primarily, Gilmore's argument issues the writers' participation in what Thoreau referred to as 'the curse of trade.' He information their combined resistance to and complicity within the burgeoning literary industry and, by way of extension, the full ' financial revolution' which among 1830 and 1860 'transformed the U.S. right into a marketplace society'. . . . ''The result's a version of literary-historical revisionism. Gilmore's starting chapters on Emerson and Thoreau exhibit that 'transcendental' idea and language can come totally alive while understood in the fabric strategies and ideological constraints in their time. . . . the rest 5 chapters, on Hawthorne and Melville, comprise probably the most penetrating contemporary commentaries at the aesthetic innovations of yank Romantic fiction, provided inside and during the most astute, considerate issues i do know of commodification and the 'democratic public' in mid-nineteenth-century the United States. . . . essentially and methodologically, American Romanticism and undefined has an important position within the circulate in the direction of a brand new American literary historical past. It areas Gilmore on the leading edge of a brand new iteration of critics who're not only reinterpreting primary texts or gaining knowledge of new texts to interpret, yet reshaping our methods of wondering literature and culture.''—Sacvan Bercovitch, occasions Literary complement ''Gilmore writes with strength, readability, and wit. The reader is enriched by means of this book.'' William H. Shurr, American Literature

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Thoreau's attack on democracy in "Civil Disobediencey'],contracting yourselves into a nutshell of civility, or dilating into an atmosphere of thin and vaporous generosity, that you may persuade your neighbor to let you make his shoes, or his hat, or his coat, or import his groceries for him. [Pp. 6-71 Thoreau's position in this passage is directly opposed to the laissezfaire ideology gaining in popularity among his contemporaries. He sees the marketplace not as a discipline in self-reliance, an arena where the man of enterprise can prove his worth, but rather as a site of humiliation where the seller has to court and conciliate potential buyers to gain their custom.

Thoreau makes a point of actually farming in the traditional way: going down to the woods and living by himself, because he refuses to sacrifice the use value of husbandry to its symbolic value in the manner of Flint. H e wants to earn his metaphor by dwelling "near enough to Nature and Truth to borrow a trope from them" (P- 245)Thoreau has an acute sense of the relationship between commodity and symbolism-or rather of the commodified thinking concealed in symbolization. , money); on Flint's farm, the something else has totally displaced the concrete reality.

Because they interact through the commodities they exchange, including the commodity of labor, individuals in the capitalist market confront each other not as human beings, but as objectified, nonhuman entities. They lose sight altogether of the subjective element in their activity. An important corollary to this loss of the person is a confusion of history with nature. " He perceives the social realm as an immutable and universal order over which he exerts no control. ~ Thoreau reaches a similar conclusion about the decline of liberty under capitalism: he portrays his townsmen as slave-drivers of themselves.

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American Romanticism and the Marketplace by Michael T. Gilmore


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