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American Literary Geographies

Spatial Practice and Cultural Production, 1500-1900

Edited by Martin Brückner and Hsuan L. Hsu

This interdisciplinary collection of essays explores intersections between geography and American literary history from the earliest geographic chronicles of the New World to the massive geopolitical imaginings of the 1890s. By foregrounding the unsteady nature of geographical boundaries, the physical and imaginary migrations that coexisted with literary nationalism, and the changing attitudes toward geographical settings, the essays in American Literary Geographies present textual, theoretical, and contextual alternatives to existing exceptionalist accounts of U.S. culture. Beginning with studies of the establishment of names, borders, and jurisdictions, the collection builds toward materialist readings of literary settings illuminated by maps, surveying tracts, travelogues, sailors' epitaphs, and various forms of racialized or gendered mobility. The focus on the literary and geographical discourse addresses more than social and political developments like imperialism, regionalism, and tourism; rather, this volume seeks to supplement literary histories by emphasizing spatial over temporal strategies as the organizing principle for telling the story of American literature. « less more »
University Press Copublishing Division / University of Delaware Press
Pages: 367Size: 6 3/4 x 9 3/4
978-1-61149-318-4 • Hardback • July 2007 • $95.00 • (£65.00)
Martin Brückner is associate professor of English and Material Culture studies at the University of Delaware.
Hsuan L. Hsu teaches American literature at Yale University.
A product of the spatial turn in the humanities and a timely publication in the field of American Studies…. The collected essays display an immense scope and testify to the strength and productivity of studying the relationship between geography and literature. Many of these essays are inventive and perceptive, and the book offers us an overview of different approaches toward a literary geography. American Literary Geographies is highly recommendable reading for anyone who is working on space, place, and geography in American Studies.

Overall, American Literary Geographies has many strengths….it is the contributors' imaginative use of rich archival materials and close attention to reading early geography texts that makes the best case for the necessity of literary disciplinary intervention into American space and place studies.
Jani Scandura, University of Minnesota