Perfecting Friendship: Politics and Affiliation in Early American Literature

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Univ of North Carolina Press, 6. 9. 2007 - Počet stran: 288
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Contemporary notions of friendship regularly place it in the private sphere, associated with feminized forms of sympathy and affection. As Ivy Schweitzer explains, however, this perception leads to a misunderstanding of American history. In an exploration of early American literature and culture, Schweitzer uncovers friendships built on a classical model that is both public and political in nature.

Schweitzer begins with Aristotle's ideal of "perfect" friendship that positions freely chosen relationships among equals as the highest realization of ethical, social, and political bonds. Evidence in works by John Winthrop, Hannah Foster, James Fenimore Cooper, and Catharine Sedgwick confirms that this classical model shaped early American concepts of friendship and, thus, democracy. Schweitzer argues that recognizing the centrality of friendship as a cultural institution is critical to understanding the rationales for consolidating power among white males in the young nation. She also demonstrates how women, nonelite groups, and minorities have appropriated and redefined the discourse of perfect friendship, making equality its result rather than its requirement. By recovering the public nature of friendship, Schweitzer establishes discourse about affection and affiliation as a central component of American identity and democratic community.

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Obsah

The Renascence of Friendship A Story of American Social and Political Life
1
Smoke and Mirrors A History of Equality and Interchangeability in Friendship Theory
27
Familiar Commerce John Winthrops Modell of American Affiliation
73
Hannah Webster Fosters Coquette Resurrecting Friendship from the Tomb of Marriage
103
Eat Your Heart Out James Fenimore Coopers Male Romance and the American Myth of Interracial Friendship
133
The Ethical Horizon of American Friendship in Catharine Sedgwicks Hope Leslie
165
The Persistence of Second Selves
207
Notes
211
Works Cited
239
Index
259
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Oblíbené pasáže

Strana 104 - Hail wedded Love, mysterious law, true source Of human offspring, sole propriety In Paradise of all things common else. By thee adulterous lust was driven from men Among the bestial herds to range; by thee, Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure, Relations dear, and all the charities Of father, son, and brother first were known.
Strana 103 - And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could.
Strana 133 - The parable of Pythagoras is dark, but true, " cor ne edito," — " eat not the heart." Certainly, if a man would give it a hard phrase, those that want friends to open themselves unto, are cannibals of their own hearts...
Strana 41 - Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.
Strana 50 - It is to the development, identification, and general prevalence of that fervid comradeship, (the adhesive love, at least rivaling the amative love hitherto possessing imaginative literature, if not going beyond it,) that I look for the counterbalance and offset of our materialistic and vulgar American democracy, and for the spiritualization thereof.
Strana 78 - Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
Strana 171 - Yea even that which mischief meant most harm, Shall in the happy trial prove most glory: But evil on itself shall back recoil, And mix no more with goodness, when at last...
Strana 52 - How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it except the pleasure of seeing it.
Strana 103 - If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.
Strana 82 - The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato's and other ancients, applauded by some of later times;— that the taking away of property, and bringing in community into a commonwealth, would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.

O autorovi (2007)

Ivy Schweitzer is professor of English at Dartmouth College. She is author and coeditor of three other books, including The Work of Self-Representation: Lyric Poetry in Colonial New England (from the University of North Carolina Press).

Bibliografické údaje