ISBN 10: 0199346534 / ISBN 13: 9780199346530
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Inhaltsangabe: The early United States was a culture of the episode. In Episodic Poetics, Matthew Garrett merges narrative theory with social and political history to explain the early American fascination with the episodic, piecemeal plot.

Since Aristotle's Poetics, the episode has been a vexed category of literary analysis, troubling any easy view of the subsumption of unwieldy narrative parts into well-plotted wholes. Garrett puts forward a new, dialectical theory of episodic form to recast this peculiar object of literary history, looking to the episode as a narrative unit smaller than the genre in order to give an account of all the period's major prose genres. Garrett shows how, in ways both magisterial and mundane, episodic forms gave variegated shape to the social, political, and economic conflicts that defined the moment of national formation.

Episodic Poetics proposes a new method of reading and a new way of conceiving of literary history. The book asks how we might understand the cultural role of the episode as a literary micro-unit, one that forces us to read individual narratives in terms of an always partial and fraught development toward plot. Episodic Poetics combines theoretical reflection and historical rigor with careful readings of texts from the early American canon such as The Federalist, Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, and the novels of Charles Brockden Brown, along with hitherto understudied texts and ephemera such as Washington Irving's Salmagundi, Susanna Rowson's Trials of the Human Heart and the memoirs of the metalworker and failed entrepreneur John Fitch. Garrett recounts literary history not as the easy victory of grand nationalist ambitions, but rather as a series of social struggles expressed through writers' recurring engagement with incompletely integrated forms.

Rezension: "How did pluribus become unum in the early United States? Matthew Garrett's Episodic Poetics reveals that the formal problem of integrating and consolidating parts into a whole connected politics with literature in the early republic. Focusing on the serialization of political tracts, the organization of events in autobiography, and the marketing of digressive fictions, Garrett makes a provocative case for the history of literary form as an integral part of political history." --Eric Slauter, author of The State as a Work of Art: The Cultural Origins of the Constitution"Episodic Poetics is an innovative, learned, challenging account of the politics of form and the form of politics in the early Republic. Garrett makes a persuasive case that narrative plotting is key to understanding both the richness of early national writing and the ideological contradictions of U.S. nation formation." --Edward Cahill, author of Liberty of the Imagination: Aesthetic Theory, Literary Form, and Politics in the Early United States"A powerful, unexpected new roadmap to the culture of the early republic. In Garrett's hands, literary form becomes the place where theory and history meet to tell a new story about a tired corner of American culture. A maverick and often beautiful book that resets the table for early Americanists." --Trish Loughran, author of The Republic in Print: Print Culture in the Age of U.S. Nation Building, 1770-1870"In this erudite study, Garrett resuscitates the episode--a distinct diversion from the causal mechanics of plot--as a central political and literary device in the decades following the composition of the US Constitution. A meticulous literary scholar, he explores the workings of the episode as a formal device by which writers articulated variously the unsteady dialectical relationship between local and national, heterogeneous and homogeneous. . . . Recommended."--CHOICE

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