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Cover Art
Author Ruttenburg, Nancy.

Title Democratic personality : popular voice and the trial of American authorship / Nancy Ruttenburg.

Published Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, [1998]


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  810.9358 RUTT    AVAILABLE
Physical description x, 537 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 499-526) and index.
Contents Democratic Personality: An Introduction -- 1. The Devil in the Damsel: Spectral Evidence -- 2. Spectacular Conversion: George Whitefield and the Rise of Democratic Personality -- 3. The Advent of the Individual: Democratic Personality and the Spectral Self -- 4. The Voice of the People, the Voice of the Specter -- 5. The Crisis of American Character -- 6. An American Aesthetic of Innocence: Domesticating Democratic Personality -- 7. Melville's Anxiety of Innocence: The Handsome Sailor.
Summary This book proposes a new view of the democratization of America by recasting democracy as a symbolic theater, historically realized in an untheorized and irrational public utterance that began with the Salem witchcraft crisis of 1692 and extended through the Great Awakening and the antebellum era. This discursive practice gave rise, as popular voice, to a distinctive mode of political and literary subjectivity, "democratic personality," which emerged without reference to the political-philosophical currents and attendant humanistic values that anticipated the formation of a liberal democratic society. The author constructs a genealogy of democratic personality by examining the historical and, later, fictional theaters within which it emerged to redefine the relation of appearance to reality and thus challenge hierarchies of political and cultural power.
Subject St. John de Crèvecoeur, J. Hector, 1735-1813. Letters from an American farmer.
American literature -- 19th century -- History and criticism.
Popular literature -- United States -- History and criticism.
National characteristics, American, in literature.
Authorship -- Political aspects -- United States.
Politics and literature -- United States.
Innocence (Psychology) in literature.
Democracy in literature.
Aesthetics, American.
Self in literature.
ISBN 0804730962 (cloth : alk. paper)
0804730970 (paperback: alk. paper)