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Deconstructing the Ideal HUM 2212: British and American Literature I Fall 2012 Dr. Perdigao November 19-26, 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Deconstructing the Ideal HUM 2212: British and American Literature I Fall 2012 Dr. Perdigao November 19-26, 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Deconstructing the Ideal HUM 2212: British and American Literature I Fall 2012 Dr. Perdigao November 19-26, 2012

2 William Dean Howells (1837-1920) “teacup tragedies” Interest in and focus on “ordinary middle class” (275) Abraham Lincoln’s biography (not the vampire hunter one) With Lincoln’s presidency, appointed U. S. Consul to Venice First president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Editor of Boston’s Atlantic Monthly and later New York’s Cosmopolitan Radical political views Social and economic injustice in novels

3 Shaping American Literature As editor, critic, helped to establish and further careers of American writers like Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, Henry James, and Mark Twain African American and women writers: Paul Dunbar, Charles Chesnutt, Sarah Orne Jewett, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Edith Wharton, and Emily Dickinson (375) Realism “Editha” (1905) as “satire of romantic conceptions of battlefield glory and the rush to war,” exposing “the moral failure of individuals who have been corrupted by their culture’s worst values” (375) Critique of Spanish-American War (1898) and rhetoric of liberation of Cuba from Spain; instead, critical view that it was part of U.S. expansionist policy to gain control over Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and other Spanish colonial possessions (375)

4 War and Glory Geroge Gearson, Editha Balcom “‘It’s war’” “‘How glorious!’” “‘It’s war’’ (376) George’s “old life”—idea of becoming a minister, then switched to law “But making light of a cause so high and noble seemed to show a want of earnestness at the core of his being” (376) The “completion of her ideal of him” (376); idea of being a hero, her hero (377) “Before her reasoning went her emotioning: her nature pulling upon his nature, her womanhood upon his manhood” (376)


6 Unsettling “‘And I call any war glorious that is for the liberation of people who have been struggling for years against the crudest oppression” “‘I suppose so... But war! Is it glorious to break the peace of the world?’” (377). “She had noticed a strange thing in men: they seemed to feel bound to do what they believed, and not think a thing was finished when they said it, as girls did” (377). Letter: “There is no honor above America with me” (379) “She must leave him free, free, free” (379) “She could not accept for her country or herself a forced sacrifice” (379) “‘I am yours, for time and eternity—time and eternity.’ She liked the words; they satisfied her famine for phrases” (382).

7 Causalties Father lost arm in civil war; mother’s dislike of war Editha’s own mother’s stance “‘but that was before my time’” (382) Generational memory? Sends him off—he appears “very soldierly, but somehow girlish, too with his clean-shaven face and slim figure” (383) Women weeping at station Editha keeps thinking about arm his father lost (383) Visit his mother—from northern New York to western Iowa

8 Regeneration “‘I tried to leave him free—’” (384) “‘I had been through one war before’” (384) “‘No, girls don’t; women don’t, when they give their men up to their country. They think they’ll come marching back, somehow, just as gay as they went, or if it’s an empty sleeve, or even and empty pantaloon, it’s all the more glory, and they’re so much the prouder of them, poor things!’” (385). Wants to tear off her mourning clothes The painting Telling the story again “‘how vulgar!’” (385) Returns to ideal

9 Threading Daisy Miller “The Story of an Hour” “The Minister’s Black Veil” The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde The Picture of Dorian Gray


11 Crane-ing “The Open Boat” “Man Said to the Universe”: Archetypal figures: cook, oiler, correspondent, captain Romanticism—ideas about nature Realism Naturalism Crane’s own experience (990) Perception, reality Nature’s indifference Man’s survival in nature

12 Waving or Drowning? Individual vs. community “subtle brotherhood of men” (993) Shipwreck as “apropos of nothing” (994) Drowning—salvation? Man on the shore—waving As life-boat, omnibus (997) Black flag/coat “‘I wish we could make something out of those signals. What do you suppose he means?’” (998)


14 Falling eug.html





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